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To save cash, MTA could make cuts to Select Bus Service, subway cleanings

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The cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is looking for ways to save $562 million over the next few years and its planning to do so by halting the expansion of Select Bus Service in the outer boroughs, cutting subway car cleaning positions, and eliminating overtime payment to NYPD officers for extra far evasion patrol, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The MTA is expecting to save around $4 million annually by cutting increased fare-evasion patrol that results in the agency paying overtime to the NYPD; the agency also thinks that it could save $28 million over the next four years by postponing the expansion of the Select Bus Service into “transit deserts” in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx until 2021. Additionally, agency officials plan to save the agency $8.4 million annually by reducing staff at some terminals for subway car cleaning, and another $2.4 million could potentially be saved by reducing fare-evasion patrols on some select bus service routes.

According to the WSJ, internal emails highlight that MTA board members are worried about the measures being taken to reduce costs for the agency, despite still planning to hire more than 1,000 workers under the Subway Action Plan. The emails suggests that some board members were not aware of the specifics of the service-related cuts when MTA Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran presented the board with an overview of the plan in July.

Nevertheless, during an interview on Monday, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota stated that the reductions are not service cuts and that it is simply a “redeployment of resources.” He also highlighted that the MTA still intends to add more than 700 positions over the next few years.

“The financial plan was built with three ironclad requirements—maintenance of service levels, absolutely no layoffs, and avoidance of any unplanned fare/toll hike—all of which were accomplished,” said MTA spokesperson Jon Weinstein. “In fact, the headcount at New York City Transit is increasing– while hitting savings targets – which is allowing us to accomplish significant amounts of badly needed repairs and maintenance work.”

New York City Transit Authority president Andy Byford said in an August 3 email to board members that the reductions are “intended to be temporary in nature while the necessary funding and revenue stream discussions sort out.”

Source: https://ny.curbed.com/2018/8/15/17693128/mta-budget-cuts-select-bus-service-subway-action-plan

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Subways experienced signal delays during morning rush every day in August except 1

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There were subway delays on all but one day during August 2018 because of signal problems, a Riders Alliance analysis released Sunday showed.

The Alliance said it reviewed MTA delay alerts for the month of August from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. They reported delays due to signal problems for every day except Aug. 23.

“It’s just painful,” said Joe Hetterly of Bay Ridge, about his commutes.

The Riders Alliance said signal delays caused problems on every subway line except the L, which has already received signal upgrades.

The analysis showed the worst delays were on the D and R lines.

“It’s always a surprise,” said Tessa Vlaanderen, commenting on the delays. “But other times, it’s perfectly on time, it’s fast.”

The group of concerned commuters is now calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state to implement commuter pricing as a means of funding MTA infrastructure improvements.

“Our transit system is trying to run a 21st century global capital on 19th century infrastructure,” said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance.

Peter Ajemian, Gov. Cuomo’s deputy communications director for transportation, released this statement to PIX 11:

“The governor singlehandedly revived the idea of congestion pricing, has been leading the charge to pass it and succeeded in securing the first phase this year. The Riders Alliance time would be better spent convincing those who need convincing — members of the Legislature and City Hall.”

The MTA also released a statement to PIX 11, reading:

“The methodology of this “report” provides no context whatsoever. This oversimplification ignores the incredible progress we’ve made under the Subway Action Plan that stopped a steep decline in service and resulted in a series of vital improvements. This appears to be more of a stunt than an actual serious look at the system.

“The system has stabilized over the last year thanks to intensive investment and maintenance associated with the Subway Action Plan which is exactly what it was designed to do. We’ve also launched a new initiative to eliminate 10,000 subway delays a month which is already paying dividends. The complete modernization of New York City Transit, in particular the upgrading of our signal system, is essential to providing safe and reliable subway service, which is why a predictable, sustainable source of funding is vital to making the full Fast Forward plan a reality.”

Source: https://pix11.com/2018/09/16/subways-experienced-signal-delays-during-morning-rush-every-day-in-august-except-1/

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America’s largest city is facing a monumental subway crisis

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Subway delays in the nation’s largest city cost up to $389 million in lost productivity each year, according to the Office of the New York City Comptroller in October 2017, and city officials are increasingly sounding the alarm.

The problem has gotten worse since the comptroller data was collected in 2016. Naturally, transit dysfunction has become a central component of Thursday’s gubernatorial primary vote in the city.

“Our subway system is the backbone of our economy,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement to Yahoo Finance. “That means with every delay, there aren’t just lives affected — there’s an economic consequence.”
‘It was in a state of emergency long before’

According to the “State of the Subways Report Card” for 2016 by the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, 16 subway lines worsened in terms of regularity in comparison to only four that improved.

In June 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the subways. He signed an executive order, pledging $1 billion for improvements. However, few improvements have been made since then.

Cynthia Nixon, one of the Democratic nominees for New York governor and Cuomo’s opponent in Thursday’s primary, made fixing the MTA one of her main campaign issues.

“Frankly, it was in a state of emergency long before Gov. Cuomo finally declared it one,” Nixon’s campaign told Yahoo Finance in an email. The statement cited declining subway performance, delays becoming increasingly worse, slow-moving trains and poor on-time performance.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that an overhaul of the city’s subway and bus systems would take about 15 years and cost an estimated $43 billion.

Nixon says that she would “tax the rich to fix the subway.” Governor Cuomo’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

‘The transit system is the lifeblood of the city’
Marc Molinaro, the Republican nominee who will face Cuomo or Nixon on Nov. 6, recently released an MTA revitalization plan. He told Yahoo Finance that if elected, he intends to make the subway system “immediately” respond to the people.

“The transit system is the lifeblood of the city and is in a death spiral, both financially and structurally,” Molinaro said. “It’s been in a rate of steady decline for about the last seven years.”

Molinaro attributes the struggles of the MTA to the ineffectiveness of Gov. Cuomo. “The governor hasn’t provided the appropriate level of leadership,” the candidate said. “He allowed the misdirection of funds to projects that either have nothing to do with transit or have more to do with vanity.”

But how does he plan to pay for the overhaul? Some of his suggestions include congestion pricing, an MTA commuter payroll tax and the use of value capture. Molinaro says he would also explore the feasibility of public-private partnerships and finding a way for state, federal and local governments to agree on contributing.

‘We need to get started, now’
New York City’s subway on-time performance stands at 58.1%, according to figures for January of this year, in stark contrast to the Washington Metro system (85.7%), Chicago’s CTA (95%), and Atlanta’s MARTA system (96.7%).

Source: https://sports.yahoo.com/americas-largest-city-facing-monumental-subway-crisis-224037402.html

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New York Subway Station Destroyed In 9/11 Reopens After Nearly 17 Years

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After nearly two decades, a New York City subway station that was destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks has reopened.

The Cortlandt Street station, which was partially buried by the collapse of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, reopened on Saturday, just three days before the 17th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“WTC Cortlandt is more than a new subway station. It is symbolic of New Yorkers’ resolve in restoring and substantially improving the entire World Trade Center site,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota in a release.
The station, which serves the No. 1 train, has fewer columns along the platforms for increased maneuverability, and also features a wall showcasing text from the 1776 Declaration of Independence and the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The station and its 1,200-feet of tunnel and tracks were rebuilt within the previous station’s footprint. Construction on the new station began in 2015 after the MTA was given control of the site, the transit authority said
“It’s long overdue,” Mitchell L. Moss, the director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University, told The New York Times. “It was a major challenge to rebuild the subway at the same time you’re rebuilding the site above it.”

The station cost $181.8 million, according to the Times.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nyc-subway-reopens-after-911_us_5b9545fbe4b0511db3e37578

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