Promised Service Upgrades Afterall?

On Tuesday,  Pete Donohue of the Daily News filed a report about the promised service upgrades that were to come from our fare hike were being completely shelved. However William Neuman of the New York Times says differently in his report:

A burgeoning financial crisis will prevent the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from delivering on most of a series of promised service expansions — but a more modest set of changes aimed at easing subway crowding is still in the works, officials said on Wednesday.

Extra service, sometimes in small increments, sometimes in larger ways, will be added to nine subway lines in July, according to information distributed to the authority’s board this week.

The changes include having the B and W trains run until 11 p.m. on weekdays, an hour and a half later than they currently run. And the No. 3 train, which currently shuts down from midnight to 5 a.m., would run during those hours between Times Square and 148th Street.

The changes will cost about $4.5 million for the remainder of this year and $8.9 million a year after that. They require approval by the authority’s board, which meets next week.

Most of the changes were included in a larger set of service improvements — for the New York City subway and buses, the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad — that the authority’s board put forward last December at the same time that it approved a fare and toll increase.

Those improvements were expected to cost a total of $46 million annually, and the board said in December that they would not be put in place until a review of the authority’s finances in the first three months of this year had been completed.

That review showed that the authority was receiving far less revenue from taxes on real estate transactions than it had anticipated, and the improvements were put on hold until June.

But officials said this week that the financial situation had become worse and that the authority would not be able to carry out most of the proposed improvements, including several ambitious expansions to bus service.

(The authority’s executive director, Elliot G. Sander, said recently that early estimates showed the authority facing a deficit of $500 million to $700 million next year.)

That leaves the subway service changes, which will be paid for by making cuts in other parts of the subway budget, including administrative costs and subway car cleaning expenses, among others.

“Customers are going to see more service on these lines during these specific time periods, shorter waits during these time periods and a little bit more wiggle room,” said Paul Fleuranges, a spokesman for New York City Transit, which operates the subway.

The changes range from adding one train to the schedule on the No. 3 line throughout the morning peak period to running 14 additional trains on the No. 7 line on Saturdays and Sundays.

Mr. Fleuranges said that adding even one train on a busy line like the No. 3 would shave about a minute off wait times and would relieve crowding.

“One train is a lot of people,” he said.

The documents distributed to the board said that the changes were needed on lines that exceed what the transit agency calls its loading guidelines — a measure of the maximum number of people that subway cars should carry at different times of the day. Those guidelines typically require at least three square feet per person, and they are often violated in rush periods when people squeeze in.

Some of the lines that will receive more service, like the B and W, do not exceed the limits, but adding trains there will ease crowding on other lines that use the same tracks, like the Q and the N.

The lines that will receive added service or that will benefit from added service elsewhere include the 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, B, J, M, N, Q, W and the shuttle between Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, according to the board documents.

One line that had been scheduled for more service in the original proposal last December but was not included in this round of improvements was the G. Riders on the G often complain of long waits between trains. Officials said the G did not exceed the loading guidelines.

First off lets see if the MTA Board approves these upgrades. Even if they do, they are not enough considering what was on the table just 6 months ago. I truly feel bad for train riders as they are getting the screwjob once again! The MTA needs to put away the formulas & use common sense.  The is the one line that might be the most deserving in terms of overall upgrades. It is beyond ridiculous that some formula is the determining factor used to shaft train riders. This nonsense has got to come to an end!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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