|For immediate release:
|| For info, contact:
|Thursday, December 9, 2010.
||Gene Russianoff (917) 575-9434|
Campaign Issues List of
Top 10 Best and Worst Events
York City Transit in 2010
NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign today released its list of the top ten best and
top ten worst events for the New York City subways and buses.
no way around it: 2010 was an awful year for subway and bus riders, filled with
fare hikes, service cuts and a $900 million MTA deficit,” said Gene Russianoff,
staff attorney. “But even in a
rotten year, there are some things to celebrate. And, of course, to curse the fates.”
the top ten worst events were: the fare hike coming on December 30th;
the worst subway and bus service cuts in memory; and a staggering $900 million
MTA operating deficit.
the best events were: student MetroCards were saved; faster Select Bus Service
arrived on First and Second Avenues; and working “countdown clocks” were
installed throughout several subway lines
A detailed list is
Straphangers Campaign List
of Top 10 Best and Worst Events in
New York City Transit in 2010
Theres no way around it: 2010 was an awful year for subway and bus riders, filled with fare hikes, service cuts and a $900 million MTA deficit. But even in a rotten year, there are some things to celebrate. And, of course, to curse the fates.
Among the top ten worst events were:
- The fare hike coming on December 30th, which makes three years in a row for subway and bus MetroCard increases. To take one example, the 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCard which accounts for nearly a third of all trips is jumping 17%, from $89 to $104. Since the card was introduced a dozen years ago in 1998, its increased 65%, from $63 to $104.
- The worst service cuts in memory (June). The numbers tell the story: 36 bus routes axed; 570 bus stops eliminated; all or part of three subway lines killed; millions of riders condemned to more crowding, greater waits, longer trips and extra transfers. In addition. hundreds of station clerks, maintainers and cleaners were let go. The City Council collected 41,000 signatures objecting to the cuts from all over the city. But in the end, most of the cuts went through.
- A staggering $900 million MTA operating deficit. The causes? First, $2 billion in annual interest payments on $31 billion in debt to fix the system. Second, a poor economy resulting in big shortfalls in dedicated transit taxes ...
- And adding insult to injury $160 million in cuts by the state legislature in already promised transit funding from the available dedicated funds.
- $10 billion missing for the five-year 2010-2014 MTA rebuilding program. Unless the gap gets filled, this is very bad news for riders. The program means critically important improvements, such as new subway cars and buses; rehabilitated stations; and renewed infrastructure, such as signals and track.
- Thousands of subway signals went without inspection, according to a review of falsified records reviewed by the independent MTA Inspector General in November. Were riders at risk? The MTA says no.
- Second Avenue Subway mayhem. The long-awaited construction of three stops on Second Avenue has brought short-term misery for area businesses and residents. The MTA has been making some improvements to make building of the line survivable.
- 600 shuttle buses (September 2010). Weekend repair work on 19 subway lines results in an armada of 600 shuttle buses, making travel very challenging.
- Joe Smiths retirement as head of the bus system (November 2010.) Using 33 years of experience at New York City Transit, he converted the system to a clean air fleet and oversaw the start of faster Select Bus Service routes.
- A drop in transit ridership in 2009 for the first time in six years. After years of increasing patronage, annual subway and bus ridership dropped 2.7% between 2008 and 2009.
And now the best:
- Student MetroCards saved (June 2010). Subways and buses move 550,000 students for free or at half-fare. For months an MTA proposal to end student MetroCards was a serious threat that roiled the public. At one point, a Facebook page set up by two high school students to fight the proposal attracted 102,000 members.
- The arrival of faster Select Bus Service on First and Second Avenues. SBS features make for quicker trips. These include: exclusive painted lanes; collecting fares before passengers board; low floor buses with three doors to enter; and lane enforcement by camera.
- Unlimited-ride MetroCards kept unlimited. The MTA had proposed capping the number of trips that could be taken on an unlimited ride. It was roundly panned in a city that has become accustomed to unlimited travel.
- Hundreds of millions in administrative savings. The MTA has been widely criticized as wasteful and inefficient. MTA Chairman Jay Walder has made a central goal to show he can make every dollar count.
- Several upgrades to the MTA website, including: an easier way to get to data such as schedules by application developers; a new capital program dashboard for keeping track of rebuilding projects; computerized delay verification notices; improved trip planning; and simpler access to real-time service information.
- A new LIRR terminal at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn, making it easier and more appealing to make transfers to the subway.
- Countdown clocks throughout several subway lines, as a low cost way to provide information to riders on how long their wait will be until the next train.
- A new performance indicator. A good way to manage is by looking at statistics on how well or poorly the subways are performing. Its also a good way for riders to know how their line is faring. New York City Transit President Tom Prendergast made progress on this front by revising and combining performance measures.
- Tracking buses by cell phone. A pilot project allows riders to get information on bus arrivals on the M16 and M34 on their cell phones. Its convenient and encourages people to use buses.
- A nearly doubled tax-free transit benefits this year. The program which exempts $230 of wages used for transit from most taxes was increased as part of the federal stimulus package last year. How much will be exempt in the new year awaits Congressional action.
www.straphangers.org | www.nypirg.org