LONG ISLAND CITY, NY — The MTA put the brakes on 7 train service during Tuesday morning rush hour after a man was fatally struck by a train in the tunnel between Queens and Manhattan, officials said.
The man was hit just after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday by a Manhattan-bound 7 train heading from the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue station in Queens to Grand Central Station, according to MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek.
Police told PIX11 they believe the man fell inside the train tunnel. There is no indication the person was a track worker, Tarek said.
The incident shut down 7 train service between Queens and Manhattan for over four hours while MTA workers moved trains aside to allow first responders to get to the person who was struck.
Regular service got back on track just before 1 p.m., the MTA tweeted.
Two riders on the 7 train stuck in the tunnel between Queens and Manhattan told Patch they were trapped underground for roughly an hour and a half before officials evacuated them.
Queens resident Lauren McGrew said she was heading to Manhattan that morning when her 7 train stopped short in the tunnel. An announcement informed riders the train’s emergency brake had been activated but didn’t say why.
“It was kind of stressful because it was 8:30 and everyone was on their way to work and there was no service,” she wrote in a message to a Patch reporter. “I tried texting my coworkers to let them know but couldn’t get anything through.”
As McGrew waited for the train to get moving, transit workers started evacuating passengers from a second train stuck behind hers in the Manhattan-bound tunnel, according to the MTA spokesperson.
That train headed back to the Vernon Boulevard station to drop off riders, then returned into the tunnel to help workers evacuate the people still stuck on the first train, Tarek said.
It was like a “rescue train,” McGrew said.
She and her fellow riders walked through the two trains, then got out on the platform at Vernon Boulevard.
But by the time EMS managed to reach the person — nearly two hours after he was struck by the train — it was too late, a Fire Department spokesperson said. The person was already dead.
— matt atkinson (@mattatkinson) October 8, 2019
Meanwhile, the delays on the 7 line forced riders to crowd onto other subway lines.
Haley Vassiljev said she was waiting for the 7 train at Court Square on her way to work that morning when an announcement warned of major delays, so she joined a flood of commuters rushing to transfer to the E/M trains at that station.
“It was dangerously crowded,” Vassiljev told Patch.
All told, her 15-minute commute to Bryant Park took three times as long.
But when she found out later that a person had died, she changed tune: “I feel guilty for complaining,” she said.
MTA inspector general says four Long Island Rail Road workers padded overtime
Four Long Island Rail Road workers who ranked among the highest earners in the MTA last year padded their overtime pay by claiming more than $140,000 in “excessive and unsubstantiated” travel time for driving to and from assignments, according to the MTA’s inspector general.
The four, foremen in the track and structures division of the railroad’s engineering department, made $650,836 in total overtime last year, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny stated in a letter dated Sept. 26 to LIRR president Phillip Eng.
The foremen received an estimated $146,800 combined in “questionable travel time payments” for 2018, highlighting a broader problem of inadequate management oversight, unreliable documentation of employee time and attendance, and lax supervision, according to Pokorny’s letter.
“We conclude that this has been a very costly and wasteful practice, brought about by years of managerial neglect that allowed a small group of workers to take advantage at taxpayer expense,” Pokorny wrote in the letter.
Eng, in a statement Wednesday responding to Pokorny’s letter, said the railroad “takes very seriously any confirmed abuses” and will seek to recover money that was not properly earned by the accused workers.
Only one of the four was identified by Pokorny — Raymond Murphy, 65, who retired last year and was accused in a separate inspector general’s investigation about cheating the railroad by claiming he was working when he was at or near his East Northport home. He made $280,950 in 2018.
The revelations come as several agencies, including federal and Queens prosecutors, continue to investigate potential overtime abuse among LIRR workers. The concerns of fraud stem from an April report by the Empire Center for Public Policy that revealed alarmingly high overtime rates among some workers. The MTA paid $418 million in overtime in 2018, up 16% from the previous year.
By Alfonso A. Castillo
MTA New York City Transit Launches ‘Clean Slate’ Redesign of Brooklyn Bus Network
Public Outreach Begins with Series of Community Open Houses to Gather Information on Customer Travel Patterns and Priorities
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
today announced the first series of public open houses this fall as part of a comprehensive redesign of the Brooklyn local and express bus networks, which will redraw the entire borough’s bus routes for the first time. This historic undertaking will use public feedback, multiple sources of data and analysis, and a thorough review of demographics and upcoming developments to create a bus network that reimagines service for 650,000 Brooklyn bus riders.
As part of the Fast Forward plan to modernize and transform New York City Transit services, NYC Transit is seeking to transform the entire city’s bus networks to speed up rides and improve bus service. Most of the city’s current bus routes were implemented decades ago, with many replacing old trolley lines from the turn of the 20th century. NYC Transit will redraw those routes to take into consideration the vast changes in usage, ridership, demographics and development the city has seen. Goals of these historic redesigns include providing bus service that runs more frequently and serves more customers throughout the borough’s major corridors. To achieve such goals, Transit will look for ways to straighten routes that are excessively circuitous, limiting redundancy while adding service where needed, and bolstering off-peak service and coverage.
MTA will thoroughly review all local, Select Bus Service, and express bus routes in Brooklyn. Planners and MTA officials will also conduct an analysis of current and future market needs, travel trends, and current bus performance and reliability. Collectively, this work will help identify enhancements such as new routes, changes to service frequency, transit priority treatments, or bus priority signaling technology. MTA staff met with the Brooklyn Borough Board in early October to provide details on public outreach and the redesign process that will take place over the coming months. Public feedback from meetings, surveys conducted in person and online, and public input sessions will help inform this process, which is scheduled for completion in 2020. Each step in the process will incorporate opportunities for public comment, including community meetings and workshops. A draft plan will undergo its own round of public outreach before a final plan is proposed, and that final proposal will also be accompanied by a round of public outreach when it is released in late 2020. The final plan will be subject to public hearing and an MTA Board vote before it can be implemented.
NYC Transit has scheduled 10 open houses to inform customers and Brooklyn residents about the project’s goals. The community is encouraged to attend and share their priorities for Brooklyn’s new bus network. Members of the public will work in tandem with MTA bus planning experts to consider factors such as frequency of service in high-ridership areas, ensuring adequate service throughout the borough and balancing bus stop spacing. Transit personnel will also conduct rider surveys at bus stops and online through a dedicated project website.
In addition, MTA personnel will be on site at locations across Brooklyn to provide information about the open houses, answer questions about the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign and to help customer submit surveys online.
More information about the redesigns is available here: new.mta.info/system_modernization/bus_network
A dedicated website on the Brooklyn redesign with the accompanying online survey, where customers can find reports as they are released, is available here: new.mta.info/brooklynbusredesign
Information about the Bronx redesign is available here: new.mta.info/bronxbusredesign
Information about the Queens redesign is available here: new.mta.info/queensbusredesign
ABOUT THE BROOKLYN BUS NETWORK:
- 63 local routes serving approximately 640,000 weekday customers
- 9 express routes serving approximately 9,000 weekday customers
- The borough’s local bus ridership has declined 14% between 2016 and 2019
- Brooklyn express bus ridership has declined 10% between 2016 and 2019
- Bus speeds boroughwide are currently 7.7 mph, a decline of 3% since 2016
Ferry frustrations -New York taxi scheme crippled drivers across the country — Erie County race a national bellwether
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York City ferry system inspires a particular derision among a certain set of the city’s transit devotees. But who could hate transit that offers open air, a river breeze, skyline views and serves beer?
The issue, even transit advocates say, is that the city has sunk a huge pot of money into the ferries, which carry a tiny number of people when compared to the subways and buses. Newly-released data confirms ferry riders tend to be white and upper middle class.
As our Dana Rubinstein reports today, New York operates the second most heavily subsidized urban ferry system of its size in the country, trailing only New Orleans. The subsidy adds up to a hefty $9.34 for each ride.
Still, the city throws wads of cash at a lot of things, so what’s the beef with the ferries, which at least offer New Yorkers and tourists a new amenity? As with so many things, part of the problem may lie with de Blasio’s rhetoric. The mayor framed the new ferry system as part of the solution to the larger transit crisis, even though it carries too few people to make a dent. He called it a way to tackle historic “inequities,” even though the evidence suggests its riders are not disadvantaged.
While the mayor does not control the MTA (periodic reminder: Gov. Andrew Cuomo does), advocates would like to see him lavish as much attention and, more importantly, money on changes to city streets that would improve bus service, which is used by exponentially more riders.
If you accept the premise that the ferries are a problem, what’s the solution? Some would like to see the city keep the boats going, but charge more than $2.75 and free up money for other transit needs. Still, de Blasio is boxed in by his pledge to make the ferries affordable by pegging their cost to the subway fare. If he faces some backlash now, a move to hike the fare would surely spark a backlash of its own.
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