Service Diversions 11-21-15

I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

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MTA Names New NYC Transit President

Two weeks ago, I blogged about the rumor making the rounds in transit circles that the MTA was going to name NJ Transit Executive Director Ronnie Hakim the new president of NYC Transit. Well it turns out the rumors are true as the agency made the official announcement this morning. Here is more via the official press release:

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast today announced the appointment of Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim as the eighth permanent president of MTA New York City Transit, which moves more than 8 million daily customers on subways, buses, the Staten Island Railway and paratransit service.

Hakim is a career transportation professional who returns to the MTA after an earlier 23-year career at the agency. For the past year and a half she has served as the Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT, which operates 12 commuter rail lines, three light rail lines, 261 bus routes and Access Link paratransit service across the state of New Jersey. She previously served nearly four years as Executive Director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

“Our transit network is the lifeblood of the entire region, and I am glad to welcome Ronnie back to New York City Transit and to entrust her with the responsibility of ensuring safe and reliable service even as ridership grows every month,” Prendergast said. “Ronnie’s comprehensive transportation experience, her detailed vision for the future and her demonstrated ability to bring real improvements to customers make her the right person to tackle New York City Transit’s challenges now.”

In her time at the MTA, Hakim served as Special Counsel at New York City Transit as well as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at MTA Capital Construction, where she provided senior management with policy and legal advice on megaprojects such as the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access and the 7 train extension to Hudson Yards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester and a juris doctorate degree from the Pace University School of Law.

“Having spent more than two decades of my life at the MTA, I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead New York City Transit at a time when surging ridership is affecting every element of its operations,” Hakim said. “Subway and bus customers have high expectations for the network they rely on every day, and I look forward to meeting their expectations of safety, reliability and quality at New York City Transit.”

Hakim will begin serving as President on December 28. She replaces James L. Ferrara, the President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels, who has been serving as Interim President of New York City Transit since the August retirement of Carmen Bianco.

New York City Transit serves more than 5.6 million subway customers and 2.5 million bus customers on an average weekday. Its 47,000 employees provide mass transit and paratransit service throughout the city, including operating almost 6,400 subway cars at 469 stations, and more than 5,700 buses at more than 15,000 bus stops.

As I opined two weeks ago, the change could not come at a worse time for NJ Transit as the agency is going through a multitude of issues at the moment. However this could be a nice gain for the MTA as she has prior experience with the agency & can hit the ground running to help the issues that NYC Transit faces.

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MTA Official Wants Cheaper City Railroad Fares

Today’s meetings at MTA headquarters should be interesting when one of its board members, Allen P. Cappelli proposes his idea of reduced fares for city residents using either the Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North Railroad. Dan Rivoli of the New York Daily News has more:

An MTA board member will press the transit agency on Monday to cut the commuter rail ticket prices for New Yorkers who want to travel around the city.

Allen Cappelli told the Daily News he’ll make the case at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority board meeting on Monday that the agency needs to study whether cheaper Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North tickets will help New Yorkers without subway access and poor bus service move around faster.

“We are one system,” Cappelli said. “It would also take additional strain off the subways.”

MTA officials have said the idea would put a dent on revenue, with the agency estimating a loss of $70 million in fares a year.

But Cappelli isn’t buying the cries of poverty yet.

“Honestly, it sounds to me like seat-of-the-pants analysis and I think this issue warrants more than somebody’s best guess,” Cappelli said of the MTA’s price tag.

Click here for the complete report.

While this idea sounds nice on paper, it really does not take into account what the real issue is for commuters in transit deficient neighborhoods & that is the lack of available & reliable options. Instead of giving discounts, how about finding ways to bring more service to such areas.

Also another angle to look at this idea is how unfair it is to the majority of riders who make up the ridership of the respective railroads. Our costs are too high for the level & quality of service we receive.

One way or another, if this idea becomes a reality, I am sure the agency will find a way to pass on the costs of the discount subsidy to the majority who would not benefit which is completely unacceptable!

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Service Diversions 11-13-15

Get a start on your weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

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New Metro-North Schedules For 2 Lines

New schedules for the Metro-North’s Hudson & New Haven line go into effect this Monday. Here are the details:

On Monday, November 16, new Metro-North timetables go into effect on the New Haven Line and the Hudson Line. On both lines, trains are returning to normal schedules after construction work has concluded. The timetables will stay in place through April 2. There are no changes to the Harlem Line.

New Haven Line:

Waterbury Branch customers who since May have been changing trains at a temporary platform called the Devon Transfer will no longer transfer there. Starting on Monday, Waterbury Branch trains will resume their usual service pattern with all trains traveling to or from Bridgeport. This previously announced change reflects progress in Metro-North’s project to rehabilitate the Devon Movable Bridge, which carries New Haven Line, Waterbury Branch, Shore Line East and Amtrak trains over the Housatonic River between Stratford and Milford.

Hudson Line:

There are no changes to the Hudson Line’s weekday trains. On weekends, train schedules return to normal following the completion of a major track switch reconstruction project near the Yankees-E. 153rd Street Station in the Bronx that had resulted in additional transfers and lengthened travel times for some customers. On weekends, the Hudson Line now resumes its usual service pattern with three trains per hour in each direction: an express diesel to/from Poughkeepsie, an electric local making all stops to/from Croton-Harmon, an electric semi-express making select stops to/from Croton-Harmon.

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