This past weekend was the first of 11 consecutive weekends where line riders were without service between Manhattan & Queens due to multiple projects ongoing. Part of the alternate travel plans for riders included a free shuttle bus offering riders a connection to other subway lines heading into Manhattan.
However one of the major issues with their shuttle bus plan was the roundabout way riders would have to go through to get to Grand Central. This prompted City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer to propose paying for a free shuttle bus service that would take riders from Long Island City to Grand Central throughout the weekend outage. Much to his surprise, the MTA rejected the idea. Jennifer Fermino of the New York Post has more in this exclusive report:
MTA officials have proven again that they excel — at taking service away from desperate riders.
Brass at the cash-strapped agency have incredibly rejected an offer of a free shuttle bus — financed in full by a local lawmaker — for 7-train riders slammed by 11 straight weekends of service outages.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer offered to pay for the $250,000 direct, no-transfer bus from Long Island City to Grand Central while the MTA worked on the signal system under the East River. The money would have come out of his own discretionary funds.
But the agency wasn’t interested and opted for its own three-transfer plan.
“The commute that used to take 10 minutes now takes an hour at least,” the pol fumed.
MTA chiefs balked at his idea, Van Bramer said, because they worried that if they offered it to 7 riders, they’d have to do the same for other communities that deal with serial service outages, like those along the L line.
An MTA spokesman said the agency looked into the plan but found its own meandering route faster.
“It would not save customers time and could actually make their commute longer depending on traffic conditions,” the spokesman said.
Click here for the complete report.
The MTA dropped the ball big time on this. For starters, their long winded way of getting to Grand Central is not faster. The only way it would be is if the Queens Midtown Tunnel had extreme traffic backups. Secondly, their reason of saying it would lead to them having to do the same for other areas is so asinine, it boggles my mind.
The councilman was offering to pay for it so the MTA is not exactly “offering” it to riders. If other areas complained, they should direct them towards their local officials & not the transit agency. Also if they really wanted to make that argument, why not let us take it to the extreme. Since some stations are getting rehabilitated, why not cancel those since they would have to do the same for others even if it was not needed or possible at that time. I am sure you can see how asinine that sounds after reading it.
The MTA should be ashamed of itself for not taking advantage of a rare time when local officials are actually looking to legitimately help their transit constituents. Also for an agency now being run by a CEO who wants to focus on positive press, they sure did miss a golden opportunity for a rare showing of it.
xoxo Transit Blogger