MTA Issues A Press Release On The NYC Para-Transit Drivers Strike

As I wrote about earlier this morning, NYC Para Transit drivers officially went on strike. Earlier today, the MTA issued a press release about the strike along with details about their performance so far during the strike. Here is that press release courtesy of the MTA:

Amalgamated Transport Union Local 1181-1061 has called a strike against four Access-A-Ride carriers. Three of the carriers are: Atlantic Paratrans, Inc.; Maggie’s Paratransit Corp., and Transit Facility Mgmt Corp. However, the fourth, MV Transportation, was still able to support about 70% of its routes.

These carriers, under contract with MTA New York City Transit provide approximately 50% of Paratransit daily scheduled services. However, this is a private labor dispute between the ATU and the carriers. NYC Transit is not a party to these negotiations.

During this morning’s pull-out period, 65% of the scheduled routes were served. Figures for this afternoon were slightly higher with 70% of the routes being served. Access-A-Ride has authorized five times the daily number of taxi authorizations and twice the number of vouchers for car service. The preliminary estimate for tomorrows’ service is 14,000 trips, which is approximately 75% of the current daily weekday average.

As part of the contingency plan developed to minimize the effects of this job action, NYC Transit will continue to reassign affected subscription trips, especially medically essential trips (i.e. dialysis treatment, chemotherapy, etc.). NYC Transit will also continue to utilize supplemental service provided by private ambulette carriers.

As I said earlier, lets hope this strike ends as soon as possible!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Gives The Gift Of Vintage Buses This Holiday Season

The MTA continues to be in a giving mood this holiday season. Fresh off the gift of the “Nostalgia Train” for the holiday season, the MTA will give the gift of vintage buses this holiday season. Here is the press release courtesy of the MTA:

Bus customers using the M34, M42 and M50 crosstown routes will have the opportunity to take a ride back in time this month when MTA New York City Transit places into service a fleet of vintage New York City Transit buses for the holiday season. Everything will be original except the MetroCard fare boxes.

In addition, double-decker buses dating from the 1930s will be available for inspection but, sorry, no rides. The double-deckers will be parked at Herald Square, Times Square, outside of Grand Central Terminal and other locations around the city.

The crosstown buses will be in operation from Monday, December 10th through Friday, December 28th, running on weekdays during morning and evening rush hours. With a little bit of luck and good timing you could catch a ride back in time on a classic coach for the price of a regular ride. And don’t forget, these modern buses are equipped with modern fare boxes, so they’ll accept your MetroCard or coins.

Housed in depots throughout the city, the historic fleet is appreciated by Transit’s top managers for their historic significance. “These buses are a living, breathing part of the city’s history and each has a unique story to tell about the era in which it operated,” says NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “When you examine this collection as a whole, the progression of motorized surface transportation in New York City really comes to life.”

The agency’s historic fleet contains 19 buses, ranging in age from the Queen Anne – a 1917 wood-bodied double-decker manufactured in the shops of the old Fifth Avenue Coach Company – to bus number 1201, NYC Transit’s first General Motors RTS.

Many of the vehicles have been deemed to have historical significance to the city, including bus number 3100, a 1956 GM which was the first air-conditioned transit bus manufactured, and 5227, the last non-wheelchair accessible bus to operate for NYC Transit, pulled from service in 1993.

“Riding on these buses is a fantastic counterpoint to the buses we operate currently,” noted Joseph Smith, Senior Vice President, Department of Buses. “It’s obvious that we have come a long way since the 1970s and, despite the charm of the older equipment, our customers are benefiting from the advances in bus design.”

While most of the preserved and restored vehicles were ordered and operated by NYC Transit, the earliest buses belonged to predecessor companies, particularly the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. The historic fleet is made up largely of so-called “old look” buses (built prior to fall of 1959) and “new look” models (buses with slanted windows and enlarged windshields built from the fall of 1959 until the introduction of the RTS in 1977).

General Motors and Flxible are the most heavily represented manufacturers, though there is also a 1956 Mack in the collection. Interestingly, all three companies are now out of the bus-building business.

List and description of buses that will be in operation and on display:

Buses in service

Bus No. 5117 – 1964 Flxible. Retired from service in 1983

Bus No. 7340 – 1973 Flxible. Part of a 267 bus order. This bus ran until 1990

Bus No. 4727 – This 1969 Flxible was delivered as part of an order for 331 buses. It last saw service in 1988.

Bus No. 2151 – 1962 General Motors Coach, Model TDH 5301. It remained in service for 20 years.

Bus No. 100 – 1959 General Motors Coach. Model TDH 5301. This was the first model year of the GM’s New Look bus style. It was retired from service in 1973.

Buses on Display

Bus No. 2124 – 1938 Yellow Coach 735 (GM) double-decker; ran until 1953 and was among the last of the fleet to serve.

Bus No. 1263 – This 1931 Yellow Coach double-decker was part of a 52-bus order for Fifth Avenue Coach Company.

This is yet another activity to add to my photography to do list!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North Makes Changes At Poughkeepsie

This past Friday the MTA issued a press release highlighting changes that will be made at the Poughkeepsie train station. The changes stem from the increase in ridership on Saturdays. Here is the press release courtesy of the MTA:

New customers by the thousands have been using Metro-North’s Poughkeepsie train station on Saturdays. In fact, the number of customers on Saturday mornings has exploded – from 1,150 in 2004, to more than 3,200 customers this past Saturday. And that’s just during the morning hours.

The greatest challenge in handling this wave of new Saturday customers is NOT the availability of train seats: There is seating for everyone. It’s that most of these customers are brand new to railroad travel and to the train station itself. Even reading schedules and purchasing tickets is a new experience for them.

To handle these very welcome new customers, starting this Saturday, the number of ticket sellers on Saturdays is tripling-from one to three. One of the three ticket sellers will stand outside the ticket booth, garbed in a Metro-North uniform, to give information, advice, answer questions and guide the thousands of first-time Metro-North travelers. This third ticket seller will be on duty at least through the holiday period.

In addition, Metro-North is in the process of installing a $100,000 visual information system, known as a VIS, so that customers can readily discern train departure times and platforms. In addition, these VISs will be flat screen LCD panels-crystal clear and easy to read. And they’ll prove helpful to daily commuters as well.

Metro-North’s popularity is growing for many reasons. The frequency of service has been increasing year by year and many trains are semi-expresses for a fast, reliable trip into Grand Central. There are currently 10 departures before noon each Saturday, including a seasonal “Shoppers’ Special” leaving at 9:18 a.m. There is free parking on weekends. Rising gasoline prices are tempting automobile drivers to try the train. In fact, many customers are driving down from Albany-Rensselaer and Columbia County to catch Metro-North for the rest of the trip to New York City.

I must say it is nice to see people make use of mass transit where it is available. I also commend Metro-North for keeping up with ridership patterns in determining the need for more employees. However I must ask is it necessary to spend $100 to install a VIS? I believe systems like that should be reserved for bigger stations where one could possibly get confused with so many tracks being available. The Poughkeepsie station is not that big that one could not figure out where to go if they can execute the basic action of reading.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Service Alert 4 & 7 Train (Updated: 8:37 am)

Due to an ongoing police investigation at the 170th Street Station, Crown Heights-bound train service is on the express track between the Burnside Avenue Station and the 149th Street- Grand Concourse Station.

As an alternate, customers are advised to use Bx1 and Bx2 buses along the Grand Concourse or nearby and trains service.

In addition, due to switching problems, Times Square-bound trains are running with residual delays.

Please expect delays in and train service at this time.

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Update: 7:45 am

The MTA has not updated their website yet but I just heard that service is suspended in both directions between Woodlawn & 149th Street-Grand Concourse due to a passenger injury at the 170th Street station.

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Update: 7:59 am

Service might be suspended for awhile as EMS is on the scene at the 170th Street station. The “passenger injury” is actually a nice way of saying there was a “12-9″ or that there is a person under the train which means someone committed suicide by jumping in front of & getting run over by a train. Thanks to Allan from Subchat for pointing out the use of “passenger injury”. I am used to it being referred to as a “12-9″ over the air, not a “passenger injury”.

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Update: 8:04 am

Also, due to someone requiring medical assistance at the Canal Street Station, Astoria-bound n trains and 57th Street-bound trains are running on the local track between the Dekalb Avenue Station and the Canal Street Station.

Please expect delays in , 7, n and q train service at this time.

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Update 8:15 am

The service alert has not been updated yet but service is still suspended between Woodlawn & 149th Street-Grand Concourse. Uptown trains are terminating at 149th Street-Grand Concourse & being turned around for service to Utica Avenue. The body has been removed & power might soon be restored to the express tracks to enable Brooklyn bound service to resume. The is running with residual delays.

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Update 8:34 am

They are in the process of restoring power. Some service should be resuming shortly.

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Update 8:37 am

Service is now restored along the line in the Bronx as extras will be starting at select stops & running normally to Utica Avenue with residual delays. Also the is running normally after an earlier incident. The is still running with delays due to switching problems.

xoxo Transit Blogger

 

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MTA & Gov. Spitzer Giving Out Screwjobs For The Holidays

In approximately 4.5 hours, the MTA will host the much talked about “Public Engagement” online seminar. The online seminar is billed as a chance for people to have a “real time” conversation with MTA leadership to discuss their financial situation, the capital plan, & their new fare & toll hike proposal. However thanks to William Neuman of the New York Times, we can now know how big our screwjobs will be. Here are the key points from his article:

Straphangers should be prepared to see a 6.6% increase in the price of 30 day unlimited Metrocards. Under the new proposal, these cards will rise to $81. The 7 day unlimited Metrocard will see a 4.2% increase as the price will rise to $25. The MTA will also create a 14 day unlimited card which will debut at the price of $47.

Metrocard bonuses were not left out of the mix as straphangers should be prepared to see a decrease in their bonus from 20% to 15%. However the amount needed to qualify for the bonus will drop from $10 to $7. According to the example given, $7 Metrocard purchases will reflect a balance of $8.05. Unfortunately straphangers will have to prepare to see many visuals of an uneven balance. Under this new pricing scheme, straphangers will have to buy 7 rides before earning a free ride. This is a far cry from the simpler process of only needing to buy 5 rides to earn a free ride. To read William’s article, you can click here.

Who would like to join me in singing the praises of the MTA & Gov. Spitzer for giving us the good ol’ screwjob for the holidays? The majority of riders did not want a fare hike even though it was obvious we would have to endure one anyhow. However as much as we expected one, I don’t think any of us were prepared to get such a screwjob. Why is it that this fare hike punishes the loyal riders who make up a huge majority of the ridership while letting the minority (14%) along with drivers off the hook?

The saddest part of the supposed heroics of Gov. Spitzer is that his intervention actually ends up costing the majority of riders in the long run. Under the proposal that will be discussed during the seminar, the majority of riders are being asked to shoulder more of the burden than we would have originally if the fare was raised to $2.25. Lets not also forget that the proposed 6.6% increase is more than what drivers will have to face at the MTA’s bridges & tunnels. Nice!!!!

So lets see if I get this straight, I along will millions of others who make up the 86% of riders who qualify as your most loyal customers are expected to carry the burden of a fare hike. We get to watch the 14% minority pay no extra money out of pocket to ride the same system we are loyal to. We also get to watch drivers deal with a lower increase in costs. I figured I was overreacting in criticizing this nice screwjob gift for the holidays by the MTA & Gov. Spitzer. I thought if I repeated the details of it, I would start to be thankful for this holiday treat. Well guess what, I am even more pissed!

I along with millions of others are expected to support a fare hike to supposedly help our system & its finances. However your best way of convincing us is to screw your most loyal customers who just happen to make up 86% of your ridership! Good one! Can you do me a favor & tell me what business/P.R. school you attended so I can slap the hell out of the person who created it. Thanks!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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