2015 NY City Transit Outlook: What’s Ahead For Riders

The surge of riders packing themselves onto crowded trains may force the MTA to give overtime to platforms conductors who get trains moving faster.

MTA chief Tom Prendergast likened the heavy ridership — cracking six million riders a day 12 times in September and October — to a pot of boiling water about to bubble up to the rim.

“If you let it go uncontrolled, it all spills out,” Prendergast said Wednesday. “As you start to see that happen, you have to start taking actions in the form of deployment of personnel.”

Subway platform conductors, who have been usually deployed for events like the Macy’s fireworks display or weekend service changes, can get passengers onto cars quicker, so trains can get out of the station faster.

Capital ideas:

Officials will be asking government at all levels for help in coming up with the $15 billion the MTA needs for a $32 billion blueprint through 2019 for fixing up stations and equipment, buying new train cars and continuing Second Avenue Subway construction.


No. 7 train goes west:

It’s been more than a year since Mayor Michael Bloomberg got the first (ceremonial) ride on the new leg of the No. 7 train to the far West Side from Times Square. Riders can expect to take a trip on the first expansion of the subway system in decades by April at the earliest — unless the MTA has to push off the opening date.


Hail an Uber
Hail an Uber

Uber now charging $2 to hail green and yellow cabs

Now might be a good time for Uber fans to get their cab hailing arm muscles back into shape.

The company is now charging a $2 booking fee to hail green and yellow cabs through its popular app. That’s on top of the cost of the ride itself.

The change to the once-free e-hailing service known as UberT started on Wednesday.

The company says the $2 is a booking fee passed from the driver to Uber “to cover costs associated with provisioning the platform.” Those costs include the use of an iPhone, data plan, lead generation and more.

The company says a similar booking fee is charged in other cities that use the e-hailing platform.

Uber is one of a handful of companies whose forays into the taxi industry have disrupted how people go about hailing cabs.

Weekends in Brooklyn:

Traveling to and from Bushwick and Williamsburg will get easier when the J train this spring starts running through the new Fulton Center hub, with transfers to eight other train lines.

M34 Bus
M34 Bus

Select Bus to grow:

At least two new faster bus routes, known as Select Bus Service, are expected to be installed this year along 86th Street in Manhattan and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, according to transportation officials. The DOT meanwhile will be building local support for Select Bus routes in Flushing-Jamaica

2nd Avenue Subway Station at 86th Street
2nd Avenue Subway Station at 86th Street

The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway is three-quarters of the way done now that construction crews have finished the shell for the 86th Street station, the MTA announced Thursday.

Excavating the bedrock, installing concrete lining and utility work took more than three years and $332 million to finish, bringing the entire first phase of the Second Avenue subway to 76% complete.

The station now needs heating, ventilation and air conditioning work, elevator and escalators and architectural finishes.

MTA officials this week said the new subway line that will bring the Q train up Second Avenue to 96th Street is still slated to be ready for service December 2016.

MTA launches new courtesy campaign on NYCT subways, buses

Starting in January, the “Courtesy Counts, Manners Make a Better Ride” campaign will be launched on placards posted inside subway cars and buses. The signs will be posted on commuter railroads in February.

“Courtesy is always important but it takes on an added significance as transit ridership continues to increase,” said NYCT President Carmen Bianco in a press release. “The simple act of stepping aside to let riders off the train before you board can trim valuable seconds from the time a train dwells in a station while removing a backpack makes more room for everyone. These acts serve to speed the trip while increasing the level of comfort.”

The placards illustrate behavioral “Do and Don’t” scenarios. For example, one placard addresses a rule that discourages male riders from sitting in a sprawled manner across a seat in a way that takes up more than their fair share of space. “Dude, stop the spread, please,” the placard reads.

To read the entire list of “Dos and Don’ts,” click here.

MTA blames NYCT derailment on track defects

Several unrepaired track defects were the cause of a subway train derailment along the Queens Boulevard line in early May, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) officials concluded late last week in their final investigative report on the incident.

The report uses prior inspection reports to identify several minor defects in track components at the derailment point. Although none of the defects individually could have caused the derailment, a combination of defects in one location was the most likely cause, NYCT officials said in a news release.

The agency has changed its inspection protocols to ensure rail defects are appropriately identified and repaired.

“Nothing is more important than providing the safest transportation possible for our customers and employees, so determining the cause of this derailment was a top priority for us,” said NYCT President Carmen Bianco. “We immediately took corrective action to ensure we always focus on identifying and correcting track defects. This will minimize the risk of future derailments.”

R143 Subway Cars
R143 Subway Cars

MTA seeks federal funds for Canarsie line

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is seeking federal funding to use toward $300 million in infrastructure improvements for the Canarsie L Line, which runs from Manhattan to Brooklyn’s Canarsie section.

Proposed improvements include adding three power substations to allow for two additional trains per hour — a 10 percent increase in service — which could carry 2,200 additional riders per hour. Other elements include installing elevators at the 1 Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations to make them ADA compliant, and adding new street-level entrances at both stations.

MTA will request funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s new Core Capacity grant program. Work on the Canarsie improvements is expected to take several years, with construction on the new station entrance at 1 Avenue to start first. Work on the infrastructure improvements will be coordinated with planned repairs to the Canarsie Tube, which was flooded during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

The line has experienced a 27 percent increase in ridership since NYCT installed Communication-Based Train Control in 2007, a new signal system that increased NYCT’s ability to run more trains each hour.

Govs. Cuomo, Christie back Port of New York and New Jersey reforms

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Dec. 27 they accepted the comprehensive changes at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) that were recommended by the Bi-State Special Panel.

The governors vetoed legislation aimed at overhauling the authority and instead backed the proposed reforms, which they believe will go farther in bringing accountability to PANYNJ. The reforms call for restructuring PANYNJ’s operations, including a reorganization of Board of Commissioners leadership and executive management, the creation of a single chief executive officer and the modification of the chairman’s role. The CEO would replace the executive director and deputy executive director. Either the chair and vice chair positions would be replaced with two co-chairs — one recommended by each governor — for election by the Board of Commissioners, or the chairmanship would be rotated between the two states on an annual basis, Cuomo and Christie said in a press release.

The reorganization will create clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and return the port authority to its original mission: developing and maintaining the world’s largest transportation system and infrastructure, they said.

Other recommended reforms backed by the governors include divesting existing real estate holdings and restricting future real estate investments to those integral to the port authority’s core transportation mission; pursuing the construction of a new bus terminal; modernizing port commerce facilities to increase their efficiency and maximize the potential of the ports as a premier cargo portal; and seeking an improved operating model for the PATH rail system.

In May, the governors ordered a broad review and evaluation of the port authority’s structure, management, operations and governance.

“The recommendations put forward by the bi-state panel include important reforms to address the port’s inefficient and outdated governing structure, and will help bring new transparency and effectiveness to the agency as it approaches its 10th decade of service,” said Cuomo.

The reforms reflect the need for “a profound and necessary reimagining” of the authority, added Christie.

“Gov. Cuomo and I have remained advocates for reform at the port authority and are encouraged by these recommendations from the bi-state panel,” he said.

Even More Old Photos From I Ride The Harlem Line

Harlem Line Diesel at North White Plains
Harlem Line Diesel at North White Plains

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