MTA Says Service Is Improving As Riders Call On Cuomo To Fix System

WCBS 880 Newsroom
September 12, 2019 - 2:00 pm
Riders Alliance

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The MTA will likely spend $50 billion on its capital plan, but how that money will be spent still remains a mystery.

Now, rider groups are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to have a greater input in the agency.

On Thursday, transit advocates called outside the governor’s office, calling on him to align his priorities with theirs.

"Most folks, not surprisingly, listed delays and terrible service as the major thing that they want to see fixed, and that, of course, is a signal technology issue,” said Rebecca Bailin, of the Riders Alliance.

They also are calling for the MTA to add elevators to stations more quickly and to fix the temperature controls inside subway cars.

“A hot car is a train car that does not have working air conditioning. In the summer, it is absolutely miserable,” said rider Natalie Fabe Ubias.

She says the amount of hot cars in New York City shows the need for new subway cars.

While the MTA is expected to announce its capital plan within the next month, the agency on Thursday did announced that new statistics are already showing considerable improvements in subway performance.

After increases in the speed limit in 150 places in the subway system, and the recalibrating of hundreds of signals, Transit President Andy Byford declared: “From a low-point of under 60% punctuality, on-time punctuality, in January of 2018, we have now achieved a 6-year high with an August weekday punctuality statistic of 84%.”

However, with budget shortfalls still looming, riders remain concerned that service reductions may come again this January.

“I want to be crystal clear about this: I don't want to cut any service,” Byford said.

He did acknowledge upcoming financial challenges, but said the MTA is searching for ways to reduce spending without impacting service.