This morning’s edition of AMNY had a horrific story about 28 people who died in Cuba. The 28 deaths were the result of a bus colliding with a train in eastern Cuba. Unfortunately the horror did not end there as along with the 28 deaths, there were 73 individuals known to be injured. 15 of those injured are listed as being in critical condition.
The accident occurred during the middle of Saturday in the small town of Veguita which is located in the province of Gramma. Gramma is located approximately 500 miles east from Havana. The accident occurred at a railroad crossing near a bridge. A train traveling from Santiago to Manzanillo collided with a bus traveling from Bayamo to Campechuela. On impact, the train dragged the bus towards the bridge where the bus eventually fell over.
On a side note, how sad is it that Cuba’s state media barely provided any details of the incident. Gramma’s local digital newspaper La Demajagua did not even carry the story. It seems what little is known about the accident came from The Communist Youth newspaper called Juventud Rebelde which carried a short story about the accident.You might enjoy reading these related entries:
- Bus Accident In Midtown
- Car Crashes Into Bus Shelter
- 4 Commuters Hurt In Minor LIRR Accident
- Man Dragged To Death By NYCT Bus
- MTA Issues Statement On D.C. Metro Accident
Earlier this month, I blogged about a wild shootout in the Bronx that put Officer Ann Marchiondo in the hospital. Well there is good news to report as Officer Marchiondo was released from the hospital yesterday which ended her 28 day stay at New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases.
Officer Marchiondo was greeted by loud applauses & bagpipes as she was wheeled out of the hospital. She was surrounded by her husband & parents when she showcased a huge grin. As she was being wheeled out, she started to tear up & mouthed the words “thank you” to all the officers who were there to support her. She shared a few comments before leaving:
“I just want to thank everybody. I feel great. Thank you.”
Fellow officers who were either at the scene or worked in the same department shared in the joyous event yesterday. Officer Carlos Henriquez, commented on his fellow officer by saying he visted “on almost a daily basis. I just wanted her to feel that somebody cared.” Officer Diana Lugo who was responsible for killing the gunmen Juan Calves said; “It’s touching, the support and camaraderie. It’s a beautiful sight. She’s in good health and she’s going home.”
I am glad this story had such a happy ending! I wish Officer Marchiondo continued success on her recovery & good luck in the future!You might enjoy reading these related entries:
- Shootout In The Bronx
- MTA Public Engagement Workshop
- Two Officers Shot At 21st Street-Queensbridge Subway Station
- MTA Police Officers Honored For Heroic Efforts
The Long Island Railroad is in the midst of fixing a huge billing snafu that occurred 5 days ago. On October 1st, a record of almost 30,000 tickets were sold via credit or debit cards at various ticket machines throughout New York City & Long Island. This does not come as a surprise considering it was the first day of the month (a Monday to boot) which is usually when many are buying their LIRR tickets for the week or month. Unfortunately the record use did not bring good results to those customers & the MTA.
Almost 2000 commuters were double billed for purchases they made with their credit or debit card. LIRR officials say the problem arose from a software glitch which affected all 269 automated ticket machines throughout the system. Officials say that most riders have already been reimbursed. According to spokesman Joe Calderone, commuters “should see a double charge on their statement and then a credit, without having to do anything.”
Unfortunately for the MTA, they seemed to be the last to know of the problem. They did not know about the issue until Thursday when they were flooded with complaints. As usual the MTA left customers in the dark about the issue as they did not inform everyone until Friday after being contacted by Newsday. It took almost 36 hours after learning about the problem for the MTA to alert commuters by e-mail & via a service alert on their website.
Spokesman Joe Calerdone commented on the issue by stating:
“We were trying to get a handle on the scope of the issue. We have a much better understanding of it and are making full notification now through both print and electronic media”
LIRR General Manager for Passenger Services Kevin Fehn commented about the glitch saying it was “not something we’ve ever had to deal with before.”
The glitch occurred due to the limitations in the billing software. It seems that the software has a transaction limited which was never surpassed before. When the limit was surpassed, the software billed some of the transactions on Monday which was followed up by those same transactions being billed again on Tuesday. Mr. Fehn said the LIRR had no idea that a transaction limit was in place. He said that the German company Scheidt & Bachmann are busy working on isolating & fixing the issue system wide.
One passenger came out & commented about his ordeal. 31 year old Bellmore resident Stephen Faulkner said he was billed twice for his $203 monthly pass. He contacted the LIRR immediately after noticing the billing error & was told he would be reimbursed. Since that phone call Mr. Faulkner has stated: “I just checked, and it hasn’t been refunded yet.” His statement was made as of Friday morning.
The LIRR has done business with Scheidt & Bachmann since 1986 with these machines having been in use since 2001. However this is not the first issue the LIRR has dealt with this year involving these machines. This past April, the LIRR had to issue approximately 400 refunds when these machines took the passengers money but did not issue a ticket.
I sit here in astonishment wondering how something as simple as a billable transaction could turn into such a huge mess. First off how do you not know the full technical specifications of devices you paid for? Anyone with a clue would make sure these machines are capable of not having credit card limitations. This concept seems so obvious considering Mr. Fehn acknowledged that more & more commuters are using forms of credit cards to purchase tickets. He also noted that credit card purchases are up 25% this year compared to the same period last year.
One has to laugh at the statement Mr. Fehn said regarding possible overdrafts. Mr. Fehn said the LIRR would “consider” refunding those charges. HELLO!!!!!!, you owe it to your customers to refund overdraft charges. The commuter should not bare a penny of responsibility for a glitch that was out of their control. Who in charge over there even thought that this issue would have to be discussed? This is one of those clear cut issues where only one choice exists.
Who needs comedy clubs or movies when you have the MTA playing 365 days a year!You might enjoy reading these related entries:
- LIRR Billing Snafu Update
- LIRR Billing Issue Strikes Again!
- Credit/Debit Card Metrocard Service Alert
- LIRR Sees A Rise In Cashless Riders
- New LIRR Fares Take Effect Dec 30th
This week’s “Hypocrite Of The Week” winner is none other than Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz. Earlier this week the Sunset Park based democrat who is best known for authoring the nation’s first state law prohibiting the use of hand held cell phones while driving, announced his desire to see a law passed that would ban advertisements touting alcoholic beverages on buses & subways. Mr. Ortiz had these comments relating to why he feels such a law should be created:
“We have so many problems in our society with underage drinking that we don’t need this kind of advertising in our public transit systems. They are spending all this money on advertising featuring beautiful young women and handsome young men because they want us to believe that if you drink, that’s what you’re going to look like. But if we can pass this in New York, I think the whole nation will pay attention.” He also said the industry is targeting a “vulnerable population.”
Mr. Ortiz’s idea has already received instant support from New York’s Office Of Alcohol & Substance Abuse Services whose spokesman Joe Morrissey said this plan would be “consistent with our strategy of preventing alcoholism across the state.” However not everyone is in support of Mr. Ortiz’s proposal. A Washington D.C. lobbying group, The Distilled Spirits Council shared their feelings through spokesman Frank Coleman which argues “Blanket bans are not effective.”
However Mr. Ortiz is not just targeting companies promoting their alcoholic products. His bill also includes the ban of ads from alcohol makers that encourage people to drink responsibility. Mr. Ortiz shared his feelings on such ads by saying:
“We don’t need Captain Morgan & Anheuser-Busch to tell us to drink responsibly.”
As far as the MTA is concerned, such a ban could hurt their bottom line. The MTA earns about $100 million a year in advertising revenue. Alcohol ads account for $3-5 million dollars of that revenue yearly. For an agency that can use every dollar it gets, losing such money due to the brainstorm of a hypocrite can’t be seen as a good thing. This leads to the burning question as to why I feel Mr. Ortiz is such a hypocrite!
I am calling out Mr. Felix Ortiz as a hypocrite due to the fact he is flip flopping on his beliefs. He feels that alcohol advertisements in mass transit showcase themselves in a bad light especially to those who don’t need to see such a message. However can he explain why as chairman of the Assembly Committee On Alcoholism he is pushing to lower the legal drinking age in New York from 21 to 18!
How can he stand there & preach about alcohol makers showcasing the drinking lifestyle in a harmful way to commuters yet feel the drinking age should be lowered? When he came up with this hypocritical brainstorm, did he forget that many of these so called commuters who don’t need to get this message actually are young, lets say around the age of 18? The same age he feels is the correct age to be able to responsibly handle such a dangerous thing. There is absolutely no way he can play both sides of this issue & come out ahead of the curve.
The last time I checked if anyone is going to be tempted into activities like drinking alcohol it would be minors & teenagers who are about to become legal adults at the age of 18. I would love for him to explain how he is so concerned about people getting the wrong idea from ads when the majority who would do such a thing happen to be around or at the age of what he feels should be the legal drinking age. Talk about pulling a “John Kerry” (for all my Republican readers out there)!
One thing he seems to be forgetting about is that if someone gets into drinking from seeing an ad on the bus or subway, they have bigger issues to worry about & a ban won’t come close to fixing them. I plan on contacting Mr. Ortiz to share my feelings on his showcasing of hypocrisy. I am sure it will be hard to get a response but I will not let that stop me from expressing my concerns!You might enjoy reading these related entries:
- MTA Continues With Its Ambitious Advertising Plan
- MTA Looking To Ads To Add Financial Muscle
- Fox5 Takes A Look At A Rowdy LIRR Train
- MTA Unveils Fully Wrapped Shuttle Train
- MTA Looking Into Station Sponsorships Again
The MTA has posted a service alert regarding 4 train service. The alert is:
Due to a police investigation, trains are bypassing the Mount Eden Station in both directions.
Please expect delays in service on the line at this time.You might enjoy reading these related entries: