Rider Report Cards Are Back

One of the biggest topics covered on this blog last year was the “Rider Report Cards” which the MTA, more specifically NYC Transit used as a way to see how riders felt about their specific line. As you recall I brought the best coverage of the report cards from every angle. Well it is time to dust off those pencils & pens or even keyboards & get ready to grade your line as the 2008 Rider Report Cards are on their way. In a press release that was sent to me yesterday morning, NYC Transit discusses this year’s report cards while announcing the 7 train would be the first line graded.

In our continuing effort to solicit feedback from our customers, MTA New York City Transit is again distributing Rider Report Cards throughout the system. Flushing 7 Line riders are the first of NYC Transit’s over 5 million daily subway riders asked to rate the progress of their line since the initial round of report cards was distributed in July, 2007.

The report cards are being distributed to riders during the morning rush hours over four days between today, Tuesday, September 16th and Friday, September 19th. The cards will be handed out at several different stations along the line each day over the four-day period. Grades will be used to identify how much improvement has been identified by 7 Line customers.

Again, the Rider Report Card will ask our subway customers to grade 21 specific areas of service from an A (Excellent) to an F (Unsatisfactory). Among the areas riders will grade include: car and station cleanliness, safety, security, quality of announcements, and the courtesy and helpfulness of front line customer service staff. Riders will also assign an overall grade for 7 service. From this list of 21 service attributes, riders are also going to be asked to rank the top three improvements they would like to see made to the line.

“In distributing the first Rider Report Cards we were seeking to determine a baseline of how our customers viewed our service. Now, we want to determine how far we have come. We have worked hard to improve service and aesthetics and, in the cases of the 7 and L, we restructured the management system to make it more immediately responsive to our riders.” said NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr.”

The Rider Report Card is once again being distributed in a mailer format, designed to be returned at no cost to the rider. Customers will also have the option of completing the survey on-line, on the MTA website at www.mta.info, where it will be available in 3 languages: English, Spanish and Chinese. From the time the survey begins, riders will have two weeks to mail in their response or to complete the survey online.

Rider Report Card results are posted on line for riders to review once they have been tabulated.

Report cards are being distributed between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at each station. The schedule for distribution of Rider Report Cards along the 7 line is as follows:

• Today, Tuesday, September 16th – Times Square/42nd Street

• Wednesday, September 17th – 5th Avenue, Grand Central/42nd Street, Vernon Blvd./Jackson Avenue and Hunters Point Avenue

• Thursday, September 18th – 45th Road/Courthouse Square, Queensboro Plaza, 33/Rawson Streets, 40/Lowery Streets, 46/Bliss Streets, 52 Street, Woodside/61 Street, and 69 Street

• Friday, September 19th – 74th Street/Broadway, 82 Street/Jackson Heights, 90 Street/Elmhurst Avenue, Junction Blvd., 103 Street/Corona Plaza, 111 Street, Willets Point/Shea Stadium, and Flushing/Main Street

I urge all readers to let their voices be heard if you really want changes made. I am curious how the grades will come out considering many of the proposed changes have yet to take place due to financial reasons. If I was forced to venture a guess, I think we will see a lot of repeat grades from 2007. The best barometer will be after any & all proposed service changes based on the card’s feedback are in place. This is when we will really see how much things have changed. Either way, I still want all of you to fill out cards for the lines you ride.

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Senator Clinton Goes To Bat For Mass Transit

One of the biggest rallying cries of this blog is for our elected officials on all levels to step up their commitment to funding our mass transit infrastructure. Many say the right things but don’t back them up with actions. Thankfully for residents of the tri-state area, Senator Clinton does not fall in that category. She penned an editorial which appeared in yesterday’s edition of the New York Daily News. Here is her piece:

New York City puts the mass in mass transit. Our rails, buses and subways carry nearly one- third of the nation’s transit passengers. They provide 8.5 million rides each day and more than 2.6 billion rides a year. The system is larger than the next 10 transit systems combined.

Across the country, communities and states are following New York’s lead. Millions of Americans are clamoring for more public transit. In just the second quarter of this year, Americans took more than 2.8 billion trips on public transportation – 140 million more trips than over the same period last year.

As Americans turn to public transportation in greater and greater numbers, the increased demand reveals a transit system that is overstressed and undersized, overflowing and underfunded. As a result, public transportation networks are now being forced to employ stopgap measures to meet surging demand. For example, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority here in the city is exploring a plan to use folding seats on subway cars in order to pack in more riders. Public transit systems across the country are faced with a tough choice: cut service or raise fares.

For our economy, our environment and the people who depend on public transit, neither is an acceptable option.

It’s time to make public transportation a public priority. Public transportation is a win-win-win scenario. Using public transit can save Americans thousands of dollars a year at the gas pump, reduce congestion on our roadways and help us cut our dependence on foreign oil, which hamstrings our security and pollutes our environment.

That is why I’ve introduced legislation that would authorize $1.7 billion in federal funds, including $237 million for New York, to help mass transit systems across the country expand and prepare for the massive rise in commuters. It’s called the Saving Energy through Public Transportation Act, and it would help people who want to switch from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat on commuter trains and buses, subway cars and public transit systems from coast to coast.

But that should only be the beginning. Our crumbling infrastructure constricts our economy and costs us billions in wasted time and fuel. And our failure to invest in infrastructure today is a burden we place on our children and grandchildren. The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission estimates that $225 billion each year is required to meet the country’s transportation infrastructure needs. We are investing less than half of that. Every day we fall further behind.

Normally I would link to the editorial after a sample but I felt compelled to share the entire piece. Senator Clinton (who should have been our next President) is spot on with her thoughts on all accounts. Our government needs to seriously invest in our transit infrastructure considering it has been & always will be a viable part of our economy.

A properly funded transit infrastructure will be a guaranteed help to our country in so many ways from the economy to the environment. I can only hope that the clout Senator Clinton carries can help spread this common sense but urgent message to the car obsessed officials currently in power.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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TSTC Wants You To Help Support “ARC”

One of the tri-state area’s leading transit advocates is the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. They recently asked tri-state area residents to contact their local officials to help a bill which would help New Jersey fund its portion of the “ARC” tunnel project. The project would build a second rail tunnel below the Hudson River, connecting New Jersey & Midtown Manhattan. For more information on the project & how you could help support it, you can read their entry by clicking here.

I urge the readers of this blog to look into the project & support the cause for a huge improvement to the tri-state area’s transit infrastructure.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Select Bus Service Comes To Manhattan

After a more than successful debut & current run in the Bronx, Select Bus Service is taking its show on the road to Manhattan, 34th Street more specifically. Brad Aaron of Streetsblog has more on the new service from the team of the DOT & MTA in this report:

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and MTA CEO Lee Sander are scheduled to officially roll out 34th Street Select Bus Service at a 1 p.m. press conference today. The new Manhattan route will be the city’s second foray into bus rapid transit, following a successful debut on Fordham Road in the Bronx.

The 34th Street route stretches from 1st to 11th Avenues, and its lanes will be enforced from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — unlike those on the Bx12 SBS line, which are only enforced during morning and evening rush. The lanes are in effect as of today.

Sources tell Streetsblog that the city is bypassing Albany by installing stationary automated traffic cameras to keep taxis out of the lanes, but DOT would not confirm ahead of the presser. The media release says that the red SBS lanes are “the first step in a series of improvements planned to improve bus speeds and reliability” along the corridor.

In April, Sadik-Khan announced that 34th Street would eventually be home to the city’s first “Transitway” — a bus/ped/bike plaza closed to cars between 5th and 6th Avenues, with private vehicle lanes on either side of that block converted to one way streets, channeling traffic away from the Central Business District. The SBS configuration to be unveiled today marks Phase 1 of the project as outlined in this DOT slideshow.

Today’s press conference is set for the north side of 34th between 5th and Madison.

This is great news for transit advocates who feel public transportation should be made a viable alternative to driving. This is not to say that people should not drive or that we should charge ridiculous fees to drivers like other irresponsible people might suggest. However an effective transit system can help alleviate the need by many to feel the need to always drive. This type of system can only be seen as a win-win situation for everyone.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Gov. Patterson Promises Progress On Moynihan Station

For the last number of years, our local officials & many other transit advocates have been pushing for the creation of the Moynihan Station. The station would serve as the new & highly improved home of the Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, & New Jersey Transit. Unfortunately due to many different circumstances including the never ending feud between the three commuter rail roads, not much progress has been made. However if New York Governor David Patterson has his way, the hub will serve as the gateway to Midtown Manhattan. Douglas Feiden of the New York Daily News has more in this report:

Long-stalled plans to replace gloomy Penn Station with a handsome new transit hub were back on track Friday after Gov. Paterson said the Port Authority should take over the project.

Noting that three governors had tried to build a transportation mecca named for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Paterson pledged he would succeed where his predecessors had failed.

“We will make Moynihan Station the gateway to New York and the engine that revitalizes midtown Manhattan,” he boasted at a New York Building Congress luncheon.

“We’re going to respond to this challenge – and do you know why we’re going to respond? There’s a new sheriff in town.”

Paterson’s call to advance the $3 billion hub included a threat to pull the plug if the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak and other governmental agencies don’t meet certain conditions.

The governor’s demands included building additional train tracks and platforms to expand rail capacity, revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood, building a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and forcing three feuding railroads to unify some operations.

Amtrak, all but broke and refusing to relocate its inter-city rail service from Penn Station into the landmark Farley Post Office across the street, would also have to come on board, Paterson insisted.

Click here for the complete report.

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