NYCT & TWU Task Force Reveal Safety Recommendations For Subway Track Workers

According to the New York City Transit (NYCT) division of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), all NYC Subway track workers will carry emergency radios by early 2008. The announcement came yesterday as a task force consisting of New York City Transit staff and Transport Workers Union (TWU) representatives released 63 recommendations which focus on improving communications & safety for all track workers. The task force was created in the wake of the deaths of track workers Marvin Franklin & Daniel Boggs who were killed while working on the tracks in two separate accidents this past April.

According to NYC Transit, track workers already carry radios at work sites where emergency alarms & phones are broken. They plan on purchasing more than 1,000 radios for workers by early 2008. They also plan on intensifying their inspection & maintenance schedule for their fleet of emergency alarms & phones. They also have promised improvement in all flagging procedures. The last major plan they have is to require flaggers for small roving groups of workers to carry a device that can trip a train’s emergency break. The task will release a plan by January on how to implement the rest of their recommendations.

I personally think these proposed changes are great for the safety of all track workers. It is a shame that it took death to make these changes come to fruition. Why does it always have to be that way in life? Why??????

xoxo Transit Blogger

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NYC Para Transit Drivers Hope To Avoid A Strike

Yesterday’s Newsday featured a story on The Para Transit Drivers and Mechanics of the Amalgamated Transit Union. The story was about the union’s desire to return to the bargaining table to avoid a strike that would start next Monday. Here is the brief article courtesy of Newsday:

NEW YORK – A union representing 1,500 drivers for the disabled and chronically ill is calling for a return to the bargaining table to avoid a strike as early as next week.

The Para Transit Drivers and Mechanics of the Amalgamated Transit Union rejected a contract offer in the fall. Since then, the union says, management has turned down requests to resume talks, leading to a strike authorization vote.

The union said it would walk out on Monday if new talks are not scheduled.

The dispute is over wages and benefits between the drivers and four companies that contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The MTA is not involved in the negotiations but is monitoring the situation. Spokesman Jeremy Soffin said alternatives will be offered if a strike does occur.

The drivers provide service to thousands of elderly, disabled and chronically ill, ferrying them around to doctor’s offices and grocers.

“They have made no indication when they’re returning to the table,” said International Union vice president Tommy Mullins.

Lets hope that all parties return to the bargaining table as a strike would hurt the riders who depend on this vital service!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Speaking Of “Halt The Hike”…..

In yesterday’s edition of the New York Daily News, transit writer Pete Donohue wrote a story in his paper’s “Halt The Hike” series about a new alliance being formed between The Straphangers Campaign & The Working Families Party. The new alliance is named “Halt The Hike” & has debuted with a website which can be found by visiting HaltTheHike.org. Here is a small sample of what is on the website:

Working people need a subway they can afford, and New York needs a transit system that will unite our communities and support our economy. Students, seniors, employers, actors, government workers, big corporations, construction workers – all of us need affordable buses and trains.

The Legislature says it wants to save the fare. Good for them. But Governor Spitzer showed everyone who controls the MTA when he announced the base fare would remain at $2. To halt the hike for the LIRR and Metro-North, bridges and tunnels, and the other 86% of subway and bus trips taken with discount or unlimited Metrocards, Eliot Spitzer and Mike Bloomberg need to step up, reverse the MTA starvation policies of Pataki and Giuliani, and deliver badly needed state and city aid.

It’s up to everyone to pay for transit, not just riders – we need tax dollars to save the fare. We can win this fight. Join us as we petition, picket, leaflet, and fight to halt the hike!

While Governor Spitzer and the MTA have announced that they would hold the base fare at $2, the MTA still proposes fare increases for the 86% of subway and bus riders who use discount or unlimited Metrocards. LIRR and Metro North fares are also proposed to increase.

Let Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Spitzer know, Halt the Hike!

The first course of the action for the new alliance involved sending an e-mail blast urging 90,000 New Yorkers to speak out against the third set of fare increases since 2003. They also have an online petition that they plan to send to Mayor Bloomberg & Gov. Spitzer. I urge all of my readers to visit the site, bookmark it, & sign the petition!

 xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR Is Apart Of Two Unrelated Suicides

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LIRR train entering Woodside. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

Yesterday was a dreadful day for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) as they played an unplanned role in two separate but unrelated suicide attempts. The first suicide took place at approximately 8:48 am when a man whose identity has not been released, jumped in front of the oncoming 7:39 am Penn Station to Ronkonkoma express train as it was speeding past the Wyandanch station.

According to MTA Det. Sgt. Peter Cummo, the train had picked up passengers at the Farmingdale station & was traveling at approximately 80mph as it sped through the Wyandanch station on its way to Deer Park when the suicide took place at approximately 8:48 am.

I offer my best wishes to the crew of the 7:39 Ronkonkoma express especially the train operator. I can only imagine what must have been going through their head during & after the incident. It is a shame that people have to be so selfish & cause so much grief to innocent people. If you want to commit suicide, just do it without having to interfere with the lives of complete strangers. I am not advocating suicide but if you feel it must be done, try not to be selfish!

Unfortunately the drama did not end there for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) as the second suicide took place last night. I posted a service alert at 9:19 pm last night but I did not know what was the cause of the delays. Thanks to Newsday, I learned that the delays were caused by a man being hit by a Long Island Rail Road train (LIRR) just west of the Floral Park station. Subchat poster Neil Feldman chimed in on a thread with some information about the incident. Here is what he had to say: “It involved a Oyster Bay Train with a trouble-plagued Dual Mode engine in the front of that consist.”

I would also like to take this time to offer my best wishes to the crew of the the 6:34 pm Oyster Bay – Jamaica crew especially to the train operator.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Looks Like Hell Kitchen Has To Play The Waiting Game


Passengers waiting @ Queensboro Plaza for doors to open on a Flushing/Main St. bound 7 train. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

This is the news that came from yesterday’s ceremonial groundbreaking for the 7 line extension. At yesterday’s groundbreaking, NYC Deputy Mayor commented on how important the 34th Street & 11th Avenue stop was to the development of the Hudson Rail Yards. When talk shifted to the area around 41st Street & 10th Avenue, he insisted the area is already developing without a subway station. He also went on to say, “The No. 7 line is not necessary to move that forward.” AMNY writer Marlene Naanes has more on yesterday’s ceremonial groundbreaking so here is her article courtesy of AMNY:

Finally there’s a sign that the No. 7 train will eventually be heading farther west. But for some, the line will still be missing a stop.

Next week, work will at last begin on extending the No. 7 line to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. And Monday, the mayor, governor and MTA unveiled a sign – it was billed as a ceremonial groundbreaking — in the Times Square station touting the arrival of the stop at 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

But despite community demands, it seems a stop at 41St Street and 10th Avenue, in increasingly residential Hell’s Kitchen, isn’t on track, at least not right away.

Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said the 11th Avenue stop, set to completed in 2013, is crucial to the development of the Hudson Yards. However, he added the area around 41nd Street and 10th Avenue in Hells Kitchen is developing without a subway already, he said.

“The No. 7 line is not necessary to move that forward,” he said at the ceremony Monday.

In October, the MTA board awarded the first contract of the city-funded $2.1 billion project with an option to build an unfunded $450 million shell of the 10th Avenue station.

The city will discuss with the MTA and other officials how to find funding in the coming months, Doctoroff said Monday.

Residents at area community board meetings have constantly asked for the second stop, the board district manger said. Some Hell’s Kitchen businesses and residents also think the project needs a second stop while others don’t support it in any form.

Michael LaCava, a resident who lives near the sough-after subway stop, liked the idea of a station that would connect him with trains at Times Square and Grand Central “especially in the winter months when you have to walk two avenues away.”

James Matthews, manager of Starwich, a sandwich shop near 42nd Street and 10th Avenue, said a nearby stop would help local businesses in an area with constant new residential construction.

“More businesses would open up with adequate transportation,” he said. “People don’t venture over here unless they’re going to a specific spot or if they live here.”

The Clinton Special District Coalition, which represents some residents in the area, said the entire project is bad for the neighborhood, bringing in unwanted skyscrapers at Hudson Yards, raising rents and bouncing long-standing small businesses from the area. The extension wouldn’t reach most Hell’s Kitchen residents, even with two stops, he said.

“It’s not that we’re against good transportation,” said group president John Fisher. “If they could have a subway without this impact then I’d be all for it.”

I have already written my opinion on this extension as well as the idea of not creating a stop in Hell’s Kitchen if the extension is going to take place. You can view my thoughts by clicking here.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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