Marvin Franklin’s Art Lives On….

While death brings a lot of pain & emotions, sometimes positives will rise from the ashes & give a ray of light that will beam on forever. This is definitely the case when it comes to Marvin Franklin. Marvin Franklin was one of two track workers who lost their life in a span of 5 days this past April in two separate incidents after being hit by a subway train.

Marvin Franklin was a dedicated track worker whose life long dream was to retire & open an art gallery that would raise money for the homeless. Unfortunately he died before his dream could come true. However in a fitting tribute to a well loved man, his work will be shown in two exhibitions starting this Friday. The exhibitions will serve as a tribute to him while posthumously raising money for those in need.

The first exhibition of Marvin’s work will be on display at the art space known as Gallery 1199. Gallery 1199 is located inside the midtown headquarters of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union. The exhibition runs from this Friday until December 7th.

The second exhibition of Marvin’s work will be on display at the New York Transit Museum. The second exhibition will be co-sponsored by the Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union & New York Transit Museum. The second exhibition will run from December 18th until March 30th, 2008. All proceeds & donations will support the New York Transit Museum’s “Orphans & Widows” fund.

I urge everyone to attend any of the exhibitions or make a donation if not both. I will do my best to do both before all is said & done. RIP Marvin Franklin…..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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M Train Accident @ Chambers Street

Chambers Street station on the J, M, & Z; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

This morning, the Chambers Street station on the J, M, & Z lines was the scene of an ugly accident involving an M train. The incident occurred at approximately 10:55 a.m. after the M train dropped off passengers. According to the MTA press release, the train which was approaching the relay position struck the bumper block outside of the station. Here is the full press release:

At approximately 10:55 a.m., a southbound M train approaching the relay (turn around) position struck the bumper block outside of the Chambers Street station. The train, which runs between Lower Manhattan and Middle Village, Queens, was in between runs and had discharged all customers at Chambers Street. Due to the collision, the train operator was briefly trapped in the cab of the first car. He was subsequently removed to St. Vincent’s Hospital. The train did not derail; however, there is significant damage to the first two cars and somewhat lighter damage to another four. The cause of this incident is under investigation. There was no effect to service.

Unfortunately posters at the popular transit forum Subchat turned the thread about the incident into a debate about why details such as pictures of such events should or should not be posted. A transit worker was taken to a hospital due to the accident & will definitely face intense questioning from the MTA about this. Instead of focusing on his condition, possible causes to the accident, & what trouble he might face from the MTA, the thread harps on unnecessary details about proper protocol for handling information about such incidents….

So sad but yet so typical………

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Some Passengers Injured Due To A Shaking PATH Train

My sister was nice enough to inform me of a story for the blog. She e-mailed me this afternoon after she read an article about an incident involving a PATH train that caused some injuries. According to an article on 1010 Wins, a PATH train was switching tracks shortly before 2 p.m. when the conductor stopped the train because they noticed it was shaking. The incident which occurred as the train was approaching the Journal Square station caused some passengers to suffer bumps & bruises. More on this story as it becomes available…….

P.S. Don’t they mean the train operator stopped the train? I doubt the conductor did….

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Seeks Proposals For Their Alert System

Last month I wrote about the storm report the MTA submitted to Gov. Spitzer in regards to the August 8th system that sent the transit system into a state of mass chaos. In the report one of the solutions the MTA planned to implement was a service alert system that would provide e-mail and text messaging service alerts to its customers. In regards to those plans, the MTA is now seeking proposals from companies who would be interested in helping the agency create such a system since their current system can not handle the volume of subscribers expected for the service.

Here is the full press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority today announced the release of a competitive procurement for an e-Alert system that will provide timely and consistent e-mail and text messaging service alerts to its customers. The MTA is seeking the services of an external firm to provide a common platform for an all-agency service alert system that can be used by operations staff and public information officers at MTA operating agencies to notify customers of any events that might disrupt their normal travel. The agency is hoping to begin providing the service to customers by the spring of 2008.

The proposed system would send text messages or e-mails to customers’ designated e-mail accounts, cell phones, PDAs and other similar communications devices – in as close to real-time as possible. Such messages would include notification of planned service disruptions such as scheduled track work that might result in weekend delays or alternate train routing, as well as unplanned disruptions resulting from fires, storms, flooding or other emergency conditions.

The new email and text messaging service was recommended in the MTA’s report responding to the August 8 storm that flooded parts of the transportation network. It is also consistent with work done by the MTA’s Customer Service Initiative earlier this year as one of MTA Executive Director and CEO Lee Sander’s primary priorities.

“Better customer communication has been high on my priority list since I came to the MTA earlier this year,” said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and CEO. “The flooding on August 8 made it clear that timely text and email alerts are necessary, and I am confident we can find a third-party provider with the processing power to carry this out. It will no doubt be the largest such customer service alert system in the nation.”

Over time, the MTA anticipates up to one million subscribers to this service, a number which cannot be handled with in-house technology. Currently, such large amounts of e-mail would require many distributed servers and would take hours to send out. As the delivery of such information can be critical in times of emergency or major service disruptions, the proposed system must be capable of delivering vast numbers of messages in a very short time.

This system will also serve the purpose of integrating several separate MTA operating agency-specific systems to allow MTA customers to do one-stop registration for any number of MTA services.

One has to wonder why it took the MTA all these years & storms later to come up with such a solution. When they initially created their in-house system, why didn’t they think to create one that could handle a huge volume of subscribers? I mean it is not like they didn’t know they have millions of riders who use their system daily! This is just another example of MTA incompetence over the last decade! Lets hope the new regime can bring the agency back from the depths of incompetence it currently resides in!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Faces Backlash At First Public Hearing (West Nyack Version)

Now lets focus on the less publicized MTA hearing held at Palisades Center in West Nyack. Yesterday’s hearing in West Nyack might have had a low turnout but the outcry against the proposed fare hikes was still there. Here are a few comments from the hearing courtesy of LoHud:

Haverstraw resident Randy Phitts – “It hurts our pockets when you guys try to raise everything in so many different ways. If you’re going to hit the bridges and tunnels, you can’t hit trains and buses, too. You can’t do it all at once. It’s too much of a shock.”

Nyack resident John Elfrank-Dana – “I think we should be rewarding people for taking public transportation, not sticking them with fare hikes.”

Suffern Democrat Assemblyman Ellen Jaffee – “We would hope that you would delay this decision and allow us to focus on our budget and have the dialogue with you to attempt to resolve some of these issues.”

However the message from local politicians did not solely focus on opposing the fare hike. Rockland Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell did not offer any opposition to the fare hike but she did have a strong message for the MTA in regards to what her constituents deserve:

“If Rockland commuters are going to pay more money as a result of a fare increase, the MTA should be sure that they get something back for their investment. If we are going to help the MTA, the MTA needs to help us.”

Personally I think Harriet Cornell brings up a very valid point. Rockland County residents definitely do not get good treatment from the MTA. Quite frankly service from the agency is barely even offered. Why should they have to pay more for the sub par access they receive to MTA transit options.

I do wonder if the lack of people attending the hearing represents Rockland County residents’ feelings on the lack of service available to them. I guess they didn’t see the point in showing up although that way of thinking does not help the situation

xoxo Transit Blogger

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