Brooklyn Elevator Only Works Half The Time

NYC Subway riders are already up against it on a daily basis whether it be with delays or the system conditions they face daily. So when an elevator that was installed to help ease commutes only works 50% of the time, it just adds further insult to injury.

This is the case at the Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center station where according to the transit advocacy group Transit Center, the elevator was out of service 88 days in the first 6 months of 2018 making its availability stand at a pathetic 52%. Here are more details courtesy of their exclusive report:

A TransitCenter review of MTA/New York City Transit elevator performance data found that eight of New York City’s wealthiest real estate owners are shirking their legal obligation to maintain and operate their subway station elevators at stations adjacent to their properties.

From January to June 2018, the nine worst performing privately-controlled elevators in the subway were in service only 81% of the time. That may sound like a passing grade, but that availability translates to 301 days of outages, or 33 days per elevator in justthe first half of the year. The performance of these elevators is so bad it makes the MTA-maintained elevators look impressive by comparison, which themselves need major improvement.

Onexim owns the worst performer, an elevator that serves the 40,000 daily commuters at Barclays Center-Atlantic Avenue station, home to 10 subway lines and L.I.R.R. commuter rail. That elevator was operational a pathetic 52% of the time – barely more than a coin toss – for 88 days of outages. The eight other elevators serve stations adjacent to luxury condominiums and multi-million-dollar office towers, including Times Square Intercontinental Hotel, 7 Bryant Park, 400 Park Avenue South, Two Court Square, Resorts World Casino, 3 Bryant Park, and 100 Willoughby Street.

Click here for the complete report.

The report came as no surprise to me. I seem to always see an escalator or elevator out of service on virtually every one of my subway commutes regardless of what borough I am in.

A big part of the problem usually stems from the ones run by private companies who agreed to maintain them for huge loophole benefits for real estate builders. Such loopholes need to be closed as the MTA would be better off maintaining all the equipment as their response times tend to be better versus the private company.

However one has to ask themselves, does the MTA or these private companies even care? I seriously doubt it considering the historical track record of these outages throughout the system. Once again the paying customer gets the shaft. Stop me if you heard me say that before!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Man Dies After Being Shoved At Penn Station

If you ride the NYC Subway, at some point you found yourself running to catch a train at any cost & were willing to do whatever it took to do so even if it meant pushing or running through someone.

Sadly such actions ended up costing 89 year old Nazi survivor & Hofstra professor Kurt Salzinger his life. He & his wife Deanna Chitayat had just departed a 3 Train as they planned to head to Macy’s when a man running to board the train swiped the couple and ended up knocking Kurt to the ground. He eventually succumbed to his injuries.

The cops are trying to locate the man who the wife feels did not purposely kill her husband but in the end he did just that. What really disturbs me is how could the guy look back briefly & just get on the train anyway as if to say oh well, accidents happen. Hopefully he gets caught & pays for this thoughtless & unfortunate death.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Man Pushed Onto Subway Tracks

Officials released the following photos of a man accused of pushing a commuter onto the subway tracks in a random attack. (NYPD)

When you ride the NYC Subway, you should do your best to always pay attention to your surroundings as your life can change in an instant & usually not in a good way. Such was almost the case for 55-year-old Edwin Pinez of Staten Island who was randomly pushed onto the Bronx-bound 6 Train train track at the Brooklyn Bridge station in Manhattan on Friday morning.

Some good samaratins jumped onto the track to help him while also getting the attention of an oncoming train to slow down. Edwin survived the ordeal & escaped with bumps & bruises along with a nasty cut to the lip that required stitches. Thankfully these were the only injuries that occurred & a life was not lost. Hopefully the sick bastard responsible for this crime is caught as soon as possible!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Chairman/CEO Lhota Resigns

Fridays can sometimes be a slow news day but that was not the case in the transit world as he were hit with a bombshell. MTA CEO & Chairman Jospeh Lhota resigned from his posts effective immediately days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo won a third term.

Sudden departures are nothing new for Lhota who stepped down at the end of 2012 after helping the agency through Hurricane Sandy to run for mayor of New York City.

During his second stint at the agency, his biggest accomplishments were getting more than $800M into the agency for repair work & new hires. However all was not well as he recently was receiving harsh criticism from watchdogs for having multiple jobs including sitting on the board at MSG which could be seen as  a huge conflict of interest.

Soon after his departure, the MTA sent me this letter to share:

The following letter was sent this morning from MTA leadership to all MTA staff:

MTA Family-
After working with you to save the transit system following Superstorm Sandy and returning for a second tour as Chairman, Joe Lhota is leaving the MTA today. We are extremely grateful for the steady leadership he provided during his tenure. Joe launched the Subway Action Plan,  reinvigorated the MTA and set us on the path to success. His focus on delivering better daily service for our customers and prioritizing cost containment and procurement reform initiatives and working to create long-term sustainable funding sources were the hallmarks of his time leading the board.
While Joe may be departing – our relentless focus on our customers remains unchanged.
Thanks to your hard work, the MTA is well-positioned for a renaissance. New Yorkers recognize the value of reinvestment in our transit infrastructure and the groundwork has been laid for a long-overdue renewal. At the same time, at each of your agencies and at MTA Headquarters we are finding new and innovative ways to do our jobs and deliver results for the region. That work goes on and our commitment to support you is steadfast.
Every day you help millions of people get to work, school, and anywhere else they want or need to go. You may not realize it but you are the engine that makes the entire New York metropolitan region run. So thank you for all that you do now and what we will all accomplish together in the future.
Fernando Ferrer, Acting Chairman MTA
Veronique Hakim, Managing Director
Pat Foye, President
Janno Lieber, Chief Development Officer
Bob Foran, Chief Financial Officer
Now here is a statement from Gov. Cuomo & now former MTA CEO & Chairman Joseph Lhota:

Statement from Governor Cuomo:

“Joe Lhota has dedicated decades of his life to public service culminating in two tours of duty at the helm of the MTA. He stabilized the subway system, appointed a new leadership structure to completely overhaul the MTA, and led with a steady hand during some of the agency’s most challenging moments. In short, Joe demonstrated time and again why he was the right person for the job. I am deeply grateful for his service to the State of New York.

“In accordance with MTA bylaws, Vice Chair Fernando Ferrer will serve as Acting Chair while we prepare to name a permanent replacement for when the Senate returns in January.”

Statement from Joseph Lhota:

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Governor Cuomo for the trust and support he has given me. His non-stop drive, enormous energy and vision are re-creating a better and stronger MTA. The Governor understands the over-arching importance of mass transit for the people and the economy of New York. His commitment and robust support to enhance and modernize the MTA into an integrated 21st century transportation system is unmatched and unwavering.

“In late spring 2017, following a well-documented period of rapid deterioration of transit services, I volunteered to become MTA chairman with the sole purpose of halting the decline of service and stabilizing the system for my fellow New Yorkers.

“The Subway Action Plan was developed in my first month at the MTA and it has successfully arrested the subway’s decline. The plan has produced a 34.8% decline in major subway incidents causing delays (a comparison of 9/2017 to 9/2018). In September 2018 the number of total train delays fell to the lowest point since February 2016. There is still a long way to go to achieve the performance that New Yorkers demand and deserve. The proposed Fast Forward plan provides the roadmap for modernizing the entire system.

“When I agreed to return to the MTA it was with the understanding that I would maintain my private sector positions and delegate day-to-day responsibility to a new team. Accordingly, I created the Office of the Chairman for the purpose of managing the MTA. This office includes the managing director, president, chief development officer and chief financial officer. In addition, during my tenure I have appointed new leadership at the operating agencies by selecting new presidents at NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, a new general counsel and a new MTA chief safety officer. Together, they work every second of every day to further stabilize and enhance the MTA for the benefit of all New Yorkers.

“Finally, anyone who knows me will have a keen understanding of the appreciation and admiration that I have for the men and women of the MTA. Every day, they enable 9+ million New Yorkers to safely get to work, go to school, meet dates, have doctor’s appointments and get home via anyone of the MTA’s assets. Next time you see a subway, bus, railroad or bridge/tunnel worker, please thank them for their service.”

As of now, Fernando Ferrer will once again take over until a new leader is in place which begs to question, who wants to take this job considering how unpopular the position is?

One thing that is definitely needed is the best person for the job regardless of their gender or race unlike the completely asinine virtue signaling from some who want to force feed their agenda on what the hire should be. Hopefully the decision will be made without the consideration of the virtue signaling & clueless clowns out there who clearly rather push their agenda over the needs of the agency.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Amtrak Stalling MTA West Side Plan

The MTA has many major plans it would like to implement to its commuter railroad services. With the Long Island Railroad, it is East Side Access to provide service to Grand Central Station. For the Metro-North, it is the ability to send riders to Penn Station.

While the LIRR project is rolling along, the Metro-North’s is not & the MTA blames the ridiculous demands of Amtrak as it tries to stall such service being introduced. Thomas C. Zambito of the Rockland/Westchester Journal News has more:

Amtrak’s 11th-hour demands have stalled plans for a rail project that would deliver Metro-North commuters to Manhattan’s West Side for the first time and open a new path to jobs in Westchester County, a top-ranking Metropolitan Transportation Authority official says.

Negotiations between Amtrak, the government-run passenger rail, and the MTA have broken down in recent months, delaying by at least six months the opening of bids for design of the Penn Station Access Project, according to Janno Lieber, the chief development officer for the MTA, Metro-North’s parent agency.

“The MTA is going to build this,” Lieber said in his first interview on the subject. “The MTA is going to pay for it. Amtrak is getting a new railroad … They’re getting all this for free and we need a commitment that they will allow us not just to build them a new railroad but to operate on that once we’re done.”

A few highlights of the MTA’s plan:

  • After New Rochelle, New Haven Line trains would split, with some taking the existing route to Grand Central and others taking a new route along the Hell Gate Line to Penn Station.
  • Six Sound Shore towns — New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Rye, Port Chester and Harrison — would be able to access the route to Penn Station.
  • Four new stations would be built in the Bronx in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point.
  • The project would come online in the years after the East Side of Manhattan is opened to Long Island Rail Road trains, which currently use Penn Station as their Manhattan hub.

Amtrak owns much of the property on which the project will be built, including the Hell Gate right of way, which the railroad currently uses to get into and out of Penn Station. The same approach would be used to deliver New Haven Line trains to Penn Station.

And that’s where much of the tension between the two sides has been centered.

Amtrak wants to collect access fees for use of the Hell Gate, in addition to what the MTA has already agreed to pay as part of a federally-mandated cost-sharing deal, Lieber said.

And the MTA balked at Amtrak’s recent demand that the authority pay for the bulk of the cost to replace the Pelham Bay Bridge, a 111-year-old Amtrak-owned span that crosses the Hutchinson River in the Bronx.

Click here for the complete report.

Leave it to Amtrak to be a cause of trouble for a transportation project in & around the tri-state area. The agency can never seem to do anything right as one blunder after another has led to issues. Quite honestly, their control of Penn Station needed to be revoked ages ago as it would drastically improve things at how the station would operate whether it be the current one or its new home which will eventually come.

As far as this project goes, Amtrak has some nerve to demand the fees & the bulk of a bridge repair to be paid by the MTA. However the inept leadership at Amtrak never ceases to amaze me with their decision making process. All we can do is hope that a fair deal can be done so this project can get off the ground & start getting closer to becoming a reality.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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