Finally, we have a plan for fixing the subways, thanks to new MTA chair Joe Lhota (appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, since the state, not New York City, runs the subways).

What will the MTA do?

  • Remove seats from the first and last cars on the L train and the 42nd Street Shuttle so more people can cram in.
  • Add cars to the C train (and other trains where platforms have room for more cars) to carry more people.
  • Repair the 1,300 train signals with the most signal problems.
  • Seal leaks and clean grates to prevent water getting into the subway.
  • Sweep tracks more often and ask the NYPD to enforce littering laws to prevent debris from catching fire (which caused the track fire in Harlem a couple weeks ago).
  • Install countdown clocks system-wide by the end of the year.
  • Create a new emergency operations center.
  • Launch a website dashboard to track subway operations, reliability, safety, and other measures.
  • Hire 2,700 new employees.

What’s not included?

How will the MTA pay for this?
The project is projected to cost $836 million this year. Gov. Cuomo and Chairman Lhota asked New York City to pay half the cost but Mayor Bill de Blasio is so far refusing. He says that state took money from the MTA, which it should repay, and that the MTA hasn’t done enough with the money it already has.

Will it be enough?
Lhota and the MTA are framing this as a band-aid to get the subways up from its abysmal 60% on time performance.

However, this plan doesn’t cover essential signal and track improvements to relieve congestion and get trains moving more quickly. Those won’t take place until at least 2020 and hopefully before the previously-planned goal of 2045. There’s also currently no money to get that done.


Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein

Posted by Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein

Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein is the founder of ShakingNews.

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