MTA Implements Service Changes

By now you know the MTA has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons lately in regards to the possibility of two fare hikes with one kicking in next year. However even with all of that, they have managed to officially implement additional service on select subway lines within the system. Here are some press releases discussing the changes:

3 Train:

MTA NYC Transit announced an increase in 3 line service during evenings and weekends beginning Sunday, July 27th. The service change is being made to meet changing ridership patterns and to better meet the needs of the Harlem community.

Since 1995, late-night customers using the 3 and headed to or from 148th Street have had to use a bus to connect with subway service at 135th Street. Currently, there is no 3 service from midnight to 6:30 a.m. Late night 3 customers must take the 2 to 135th Street-Lenox Avenue and continue on M7, M102 or shuttle bus to 148th Street in Harlem.

However, beginning Sunday, July 27th, 3 service will operate between Times Square-42nd Street and Harlem-148th Street overnight on weekdays and weekends. This service change will ease congestion on Bronx-bound 2 trains, reduce waiting time for 2 and 3 customers, and accommodate the ridership growth at Harlem-148th Street and projected growth in Harlem in general.

“Our mandate is to provide safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and reliable transit service to our customers, city wide,” said MTA NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “This change in service will go a long way toward making the commute of thousands of our customers in Harlem and Upper Manhattan that much better.”

“On behalf of the community, I would like to thank the MTA for restoring 24-hour service to Northern Manhattan,” said Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. “The return of around-the- clock 3 train service means people will no longer be forced to wait outside in the heat and humidity or the cold and snow for a shuttle to bring them home. It also means that those who commute late at night or early in the morning will have access to the same level of service as those who work day-time hours.”

In addition, 3 service will increase on weekdays in the late morning from 9:30 to 10 from every six to eight minutes to every five to seven minutes to alleviate overcrowding on the 2 during this time period.

This service increase is part of a package of subway service changes implemented at a cost of $8.9 million annually. The cost is being funded by several internal savings initiatives that are included in the NYC Transit’s July 2008 Financial Plan.

B Train, M Train, & W Train:

Results of recent analysis show that subway ridership growth has resulted in several routes operating with loads that exceed the MTA’s loading guidelines at certain times. To bring subway loads within the guidelines, MTA NYC Transit is making service adjustments to the B M and W lines.

Rush hour W service will be increased between 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. from every 10 minutes to every 8 minutes. In addition, weekday evening service on the B W and M service will be expanded. On weekdays, B service will operate from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. instead of stopping at 9:30 p.m. as it does currently. Evening M service will run between Metropolitan Avenue and Broad Street from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and between Metropolitan Avenue and Myrtle Avenue from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. W trains will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. – an extension from its current 9:30 end time.

The expanded hours will ease crowding conditions on the Q N and J routes, reduce the need for transfers and provide a more simplified and consistent service to our Queens and Brooklyn customers.

This service increase is part of a package of subway service changes implemented at a cost of $8.9 million annually. The cost is being funded by several internal savings initiatives that are included in the NYC Transit’s July 2008 Financial Plan.

1 Train, 4 Train, 6 Train, & 42nd Street Shuttle:

In order to bring NYC Transit subway loads within MTA’s loading guidelines, service increases are coming to the 146 and 42nd street shuttle S lines beginning Monday, July 28.

Weekday evening 1 service from 8 p.m. to midnight will increase from every 6 to 10 minutes to every 5 to 8 minutes.

The early weekday rush hour service (from 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.) on the 4 will see a significant increase from every 15 minutes to every 10 to 12 minutes northbound and from every 10 minutes to every 7 to 8 minutes southbound. Weekday 4 early afternoon rush hour service (3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.) will increase from every 5 minutes to every 4 minutes. Weekday 4 evening service (7 p.m. to midnight) will increase from every 10 to 12 minutes to every 7 to 10 minutes. Weekday 6 evening service (9 p.m. to midnight) will increase from every 6 to 12 minutes to every 5 to 8 minutes.

42nd Street S shuttle service will increase in two time periods: Between 9:55 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., service will increase from ever 5 minutes to every 4 minutes and between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., it will increase from every 4 to 5 minutes to every 3 to 4 minutes.

These service adjustments will mean six additional trips to the 1 and 6 and ten additional trips to the 4 and S on weekdays.

This service increase is part of a package of subway service changes implemented at a cost of $8.9 million annually. The cost is being funded by several internal savings initiatives that are included in the NYC Transit’s July 2008 Financial Plan.

Also don’t forget about the major changes for the 7 Train which include:

xoxo Transit Blogger

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NY State Comptroller Will Audit The MTA

This past Sunday New York Post writers Bruce Golding & Melissa Klein broke the story of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli deciding to audit the MTA’s books. Here is a small sample of their report:

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will launch an audit of the MTA’s books in response to public outrage over the proposed fare hikes, The Post has learned.

“Mass transit is crucially important to the economic well-being of the city, and the MTA has historically not done the best job of managing its resources,” DiNapoli’s spokesman Dennis Tompkins told The Post.

“Now it’s more important than ever that they implement every possible way to save money and increase efficiencies in the system before they raise fares on the public.”

Click here to read the entire report.

I applaud Mr. DiNapoli’s plan to audit the MTA’s books. I am anxious to read the preliminary report which is due to be released in September. However even though I expect him to find countless examples of how the agency wasted money, will it really make a difference in regards to the potential fare hikes that will come starting next year?

The MTA has clearly shown that they do not do the best job possible in implementing the concepts shared in these reports. Why should I or anyone believe that this report will change things for the better? Did last year’s report by NYC Comptroller William C. Thompson change anything? No, it sure did not in the overall picture & I expect the results to be the same here.

It is nice to see Mr. DiNapoli take a long hard look at the numbers. However until the MTA can show that they will change their ways, no amount of factual reports will change their ways or starve off an unjustified fare hike.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Cigarette Taxes To Starve Off A Fare Hike?

Mayor Bloomberg sure seems to think so. According to him, the uncollected taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations could starve off at least one of the two potential fare hikes facing commuters. David Seifman of the New York Post filed the brief report:

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Bloomberg blew smoke in the MTA’s face over its fare-hike plans.

Hizzoner said yesterday uncollected taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations could spare straphangers at least one of two proposed fare hikes to close a $700 million hole in the MTA’s budget.

“That just alone would replace one of those fare increases,” said Bloomberg, who was in New Orleans for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “We want to make sure that the state goes and finds alternative sources.”

Bloomberg also said the MTA, which called for an 8 percent fare hike in July 2009 and another 5 percent increase in 2011, should cut more than 1.5 percent of the budget from each of its agencies over the next four years.

Lets see if these taxes really help starve off at least one fare hike. I have my doubts considering that for starters the tax has been uncollected all this time. Lastly why should I believe the state would do the right thing & use that money to help fund the MTA. Their past track record of shafting or outright stealing money from the MTA is more than enough reason to question the reality of them doing the right thing. We shall see…..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Contiues To Throw Money Away

In the span of 5 days, New York Daily News Transit reporter Pete Donohue wrote 2 articles highlighting how the MTA has thrown money away due to poor operational practices. The first story showcased how bus drivers were compensated for nearly 19,000 hours of overtime which was not needed. Here is a brief sample of Pete’s report:

Bus drivers racked up nearly 19,000 hours of annual overtime transit managers now say was flat-out unnecessary.

Managers can reduce overtime by that much with “better monitoring” of shifts and a “more advanced reporting system,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s preliminary 2009 spending plan says.

The MTA’s bus and subway division, NYC Transit, also can trim the ranks of an obscure contingent of drivers called shifters, who don’t drive routes but move buses within depots, according to the plan, which proposes cutting 21 of about 340 shifter positions.

Combined, the two actions will save $2.1 million next year, according to documents and officials.

Click here to view the full report.

The next story highlighted how the MTA spent almost $1 million dollars since 2000 to pay token booth workers who worked overnight shifts at two stations in Harlem which no overnight service existed. Here is a sample of that report:

Token booth clerks collected about $1 million since 2000 for working overnight shifts at two Harlem stations – where no trains run during those hours.

Between midnight and dawn, seven days a week, clerks have been stationed in their cubicles at the 145th St. and 148th St. stations even though the No. 3 train didn’t run during those hours.

NYC Transit announced Thursday that the service will resume at those stops Sunday, 13 years after it was halted for low ridership.

A spokesman for NYC Transit yesterday said clerks have been on duty as a deterrent against vandalism, and to unlock turnstiles if an emergency ever required a train be rerouted to one of the depots.

Click here to view the full report.

For the record I do acknowledge that the money wasted with these actions is only a drop in the bucket of the overall amount of money the MTA owes. However it is good to see attention being called to such actions that result in an unnecessary waste of funds. If you take a second & think about it, you would realize why this is just the initial signs of an agency that is completely run wrong.

When you factor in the amount of money it seems to be next to nothing. Now just take that amount & continue to add to it with all the other money wasted due to poor oversight & one could see how the amount gets more significant by the second. This is the MTA we are talking about, so we all know there are a laundry list of other examples of financial mismanagement.

When your everyday commuter reads stories such as these, how do you not expect them to be outraged at any sort of a fare hike? Why should any of us pay more money to help fund an agency that for years has shown no care to proper financial management? The answer is we clearly should not have to fork over more money. Answering the question is quite easy, the hard part is finding legitimate ways to avoid a fare hike that is truly not justified.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Do We Really Need All These Executives?

According to the MTA they do as the recently released 2009 preliminary budget plan by the MTA features calls for the elimination of approximately 500 jobs. Unsurprising to most, none of those jobs are “suits” within MTA Headquarters. Pete Donohue of the Daily News has the report:

The MTA plans on cutting hundreds of positions from its budget – but not one suit at authority headquarters apparently is expendable.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed “Program to Eliminate the Gap,” part of its preliminary 2009 budget plan, trims about 500 positions, mostly from the NYC Transit bus and subway division.

MTA headquarters – the division at the top of the food chain – wouldn’t lose one executive, according to the preliminary budget. About 1,400 staffers are on the headquarter’s payroll, about half are members of the MTA Police Department.

All told – with positions cut and added to address new initiatives or programs – the MTA head count remains relatively flat at about 68,000, officials said.

Metro-North is adding more than 50 workers, for example, because it’s opening a new station near Yankee Stadium.

Some board members on Wednesday said the MTA needs to reduce expenses further.

“We really have to tighten our belts and look for other ways to save money,” board member Norman Seabrook said.

The MTA is cutting “controllable expenses” by 6% over four years, starting this year, MTA CEO Lee Sander said. That’s on top of 5% in reductions from 2004 to last year, he said. It will continue to look for more savings but can’t slice too deeply without reducing service and impacting the reliability of the transit system, he said.

NYC Transit reductions include trimming dozens of workers assigned to such tasks as cleaning subway cars as part of a pilot program on two lines, removing debris from tracks, doing preventative maintenance on turnstiles and MetroCard vending machines.

Officials said the agency will be more efficient and riders wouldn’t see a slide in conditions.

The agency also will reduce the number of property guards by 13 and rely more on surveillance systems and alarms.

It also is ending its participation in the Work Experience Program – where the unemployed toil for welfare benefits – that requires transit cleaners to fill supervisory roles.

I’m not surprised at the angle being taken in the report. However I must say it legitimately calls into question the positions that will not get cut. Should I & the rest of the riding public believe every single position at the job is more important than the ones proposed to be cut? I have a hard time believing these positions are more important than ones for cleaning subway cars, removing track debris, etc..?

Such positions are vital if you ask me as a clean subway car is never a bad thing. More importantly, cleaning track debris is a strong way of preventing track fires which cause headaches for everyone directly or indirectly involved. What does every single employee within the MTA Headquarters do on a daily basis that makes their job more important? I would love to hear the answers as I’m sure most would be quite comical.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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