MTA To Offer Media Tour Of East Side Access Tunnel

13 days ago the MTA issued a press release to announce that the first tunnel boring machine reached Grand Central Terminal as part of the Long Island Rail Road’s East Side Access project. Now they are inviting photographers & reporters to tour the recently dug tunnel. Here is all the information courtesy of MTA Headquarters:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will offer a rare glimpse into the bedrock 140 feet below the surface of Manhattan on Thursday as it invites reporters and photographers to tour the recently completed tunnel that will connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal. A 200-ton tunnel boring machine recently mined its way through Manhattan bedrock, leaving a mile-long tunnel in its wake. A similar machine digging an adjacent tunnel is expected to complete its work at the end of the summer.

WHAT: Media tour of the MTA’s East Side Access project featuring a recently excavated tunnel underneath Manhattan

WHO: Tour will be led by officials from MTA Capital Construction

WHEN: Thursday, July 17 – 9:45 a.m. sharp

WHERE: Meet at a construction lot, southeast corner of E. 63rd Street & Second Avenue, Manhattan

RSVP: Space on the tour is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Please RSVP by phone to Paté Felix at 212-878-7440.

NOTE: Hardhats and safety vests will be provided. Tour participants will be required to attend a brief safety presentation, and to descend and ascend 18 flights of stairs. Grand Central Terminal will not be visible on this tour.

I am going to check my schedule & see if I can somehow squeeze this in.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Looking To Ads To Add Financial Muscle

We all know the MTA is in deep trouble on the financial front. So any source of income is seen as a good thing to them. The current sector they hope to make even more money in is advertising. The agency which made $106 million dollars last year from advertising projects to earn $110 million this year. Even with this, they are still looking for more ways to make money from advertising opportunities throughout the system. Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News has more with this report:

Advertisements encroaching deeper into the MTA’s vast transportation network of tracks, tunnels and stations, producing record revenues.

Ad-generated income totaled $106 million last year, up from $90 million the previous year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

That figure is expected to top $110 million this year as the MTA continues to test new strategies to capture the attention of riders – including projecting commercials onto subway station walls in the line of vision of passengers standing on platforms.

After years of consideration, the MTA this year also will test the placement of ads on tunnel walls between stations that would unfold like a flip book or silent movie as a train rolls by, officials said.

“It’s high priority of ours,” MTA CEO Elliot Sander said. “We’ve made strong progress in generating new revenues, which is critical, given the MTA’s challenging financial circumstances. We’ve done a very good job with this.”

The MTA faces a 2009 budget gap that Sander previously said could be as high as $700 million, largely because the economic downturn has meant sharply falling tax-generated subsidies. As a result, fare and toll hikes will be necessary unless the state allocates more money to mass transit, transportation officials have said.

Several riders said they didn’t mind the level of commercialism. The various forms of billboards “actually makes it look better,” said Shanique Varlack, 17, a college student from Queens, adding that stations can be pretty dingy. “It’s brighter and it’s better than just looking at walls,” she said.

A standard option in the “station domination” advertising package the MTA offers is the use of overhead projectors to display images on the walls of subway passageways. After a successful pilot project in the Union Square subway station, two overhead projectors are used in the passageway linking the Lexington Ave. subway lines to the shuttle at Grand Central Terminal.

When the beam is interrupted by a straphanger walking through the tunnel, one image melts away and is replaced by a second touting the same product, currently a cable television show.

“It’s pretty nice, interesting,” said James Cross, 37, a messenger from Brooklyn. “You can look at it and try to figure out what it is.”

Ads have also reached into the area where passengers board Metro-North trains on the upper level of the railroad’s terminal. Posters and billboards are plastered against the walls, hung above platforms and across railings bordering the slots where tracks come to an end.

A monitor to broadcast advertisements is also above one Metro-North platform in

The thought of advertisements dominating the transit landscape conjures different emotions depending on who you ask. I for one am not bothered by the thought of more advertisements if it brought some financial relief to the agency. While the thought of a branded subway car is not the most appealing thing, I can look past it as the agency’s finances are more important than what I feel visually as a transit buff.

I do wonder about one thing though. Is the MTA doing enough to capitalize on the advertising opportunities? While it is nice that the agency projects higher earnings this year, the difference from last year seems small from what it was from 2006 to 2007. With the amount of subway stations alone, I would think they should make more than $4 million from the previous year. When you factor in the space from their buses, commuter railroads & such, the # should be even higher. Hopefully this will be the case in the near future.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Elliot Does Better Than Expected…..

A little under a month ago, news came out about a raise for MTA CEO/Executive Director Elliot Sander. After the news came out, there was outrage shared by many including myself. When MTA Board Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger was questioned about the timing of the raise, he kept justifying it by comparing Mr. Sander’s salary to his peers. Well Caitlin Millat and Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News have done some digging to see how valid Dale’s claims were. Here is their report:

The MTA’s $350,000 CEO is one of the highest-paid public transportation honchos in the country, a spot check by the Daily News shows.

Six of the nine largest mass transit authorities in the United States grant less-lucrative economic packages to their top administrators, while two pay more than the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The issue of what constitutes appropriate pay for the MTA’s top executive flared recently after current MTA boss Elliot Sander received a $10,000 raise. The increase raised eyebrows because it came as the authority’s finances are deteriorating so much that fares and tolls could go up again next year.

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MLB All-Star Parade To Affect Subway & Bus Service

The MTA will soon be posting a press release regarding how the MLB All-Star Parade scheduled for tomorrow will affect subway & bus service:

Due to Major League Baseball’s All Star Procession tomorrow, Tuesday, July 15th on 6th Avenue between 34th Street and 59th Street, subway and bus service along the route will be affected from 9:30 a.m. until approximately 6:00 p.m. as follows:

Uptown-bound M5, M6, M7 and BxM2 will run on 8th Avenue instead of 6th Avenue, making corresponding street stops on 8th Avenue.

Crosstown QM1, QM1A, QM2, QM2A, QM3, QM4, QM15, QM16, QM17, QM18, QM10, QM12 and QM22 buses will stop at Madison Avenue instead of 6th Avenue.

In addition, officers of the NYPD’s Transit Bureau may request that we close certain subway entrances in the following stations during the parade: Times Square-42nd Street, 42nd Street-Bryant Park, and 57th Street (F line).

Customers who rely on any of these bus routes are advised to allow extra travel time for their commute tomorrow. The may also call our Travel Information Center at 718-330-1234 between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., or log onto www.mta.info to use our Trip Planner feature.

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Transit Blogger Changes Coming Soon

Within the next 24-48 hours (possibly sooner), you will see a new & improved Transit Blogger.com Be on the lookout!

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