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MTA pitches subway, bus fare hikes by Labor Day weekend

GOTHAMIST, Stephen Nessen, May 22, 2023

The MTA is looking to increase the subway, bus and commuter railroad fares for the first time in four years, reestablishing the predictable pattern of biennial fare increases.

At Monday’s MTA committee meetings, the agency unveiled its latest fare and toll increase proposals. The cost of a single subway or bus trip would go from $2.75 to $2.90, which would be a 5% increase.

After reviewing its ridership data, the MTA found that low income commuters are still choosing the seven-day and 30-day unlimited MetroCard trips at a higher rate than buying single trips. So, the MTA said it would increase those fares, but at a lower percentage than the single ride.

A 30-day unlimited will go from $127 to $132, and the seven-day unlimited will go up by a buck to $34, under the plan. The commuter railroads would see fares go up about 4%.

Commuter Carlos Marin from Brooklyn has lived in the city for 25 years and takes the subway everyday. Marin said there should be an even greater police presence and more security in the subways if the MTA wants to raise costs now.

“If they’re going to increase the fare, but they’re going to start taking more care of the subway in the sense of security and clean it up…then I can be on board with the increase,” he said.

Read More: Gothamist

Is the Subway Risky? It May Be Safer Than You Think

(NEW YORK TIMES) September 12, 2020

Five months after the coronavirus outbreak engulfed New York City, riders are still staying away from public transportation in enormous numbers, often because they are concerned that sharing enclosed places with strangers is simply too dangerous.

But the picture emerging in major cities across the world suggests that public transportation may not be as risky as nervous New Yorkers believe.

In countries where the pandemic has ebbed, ridership has rebounded in far greater numbers than in New York City — yet there have been no notable superspreader events linked to mass transit, according to a survey of transportation agencies conducted by The New York Times.

Those findings could be evidence that subways, commuter railways and buses may not be a significant source of transmission, as long as riders wear masks and train cars or buses never become as intensely crowded as they did in pre-pandemic rush hours.

If the risks of mass transit can be addressed, that could have sweeping implications for many large American cities, particularly New York, where one of the biggest challenges in a recovery will be coaxing riders back onto subways, buses and suburban trains — a vast system that is the backbone of the region’s economy.

Source: NY TIMES

Subway Door Problems Went Beyond Two Incidents, Records Show

(THE CITY) , January 15, 2020

Transit officials said they pulled nearly 300 of the MTA’s newest subway cars after two door malfunctions — but records show the $600 million fleet’s recent woes go beyond the pair of incidents.

Between Dec. 1 and Jan. 7, the new R179 subway cars recorded 16 incidents — including at least 10 involving doors, according to internal reports obtained by THE CITY.

The reports cited repeated issues of “guard light trouble.” Guard lights are the red indicators that show whether doors are fully closed. In some cases, a door panel had to be locked, leaving passengers a narrow entry and exit, the records show.

In the most troubling incident — on Dec. 24 — a set of doors on a C train moving south of High Street remained “a few inches ajar” because a locking mechanism was not secure, New York City Transit President Andy Byford said Thursday.

The other incident cited by Byford occured on Jan. 3 when a computer system failed to indicate whether a door was closed.

“Door should not open en route, period,” Byford said, adding that riders were “not in harm’s way.”

He added that “it’s not unusual” for trains to encounter door problems. But the Dec. 24 and Jan. 3 incidents, he said, stood out.

Source: https://thecity.nyc/2020/01/subway-door-problems-went-beyond-two-incidents-records-show.html?utm_campaign=mailchimp&utm_source=daily&utm_medium=newsletter\

MTA’s $51.5 billion capital plan approved without city oversight

(THE NEW YORK POST) Bernadette Hogan, David Meyer and Emily Saul, January 2, 2019

The MTA’s $51.5 billion capital plan was approved without oversight from the city Wednesday — after Gov. Andrew Cuomo refused to convene a review panel amid a spat with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The deadline for the Capital Program Review Board to review the hefty five-year construction budget ended at the stroke of midnight, meaning the MTA can officially begin allocating funding for the plan with no questions asked.

Cuomo refused to convene the four-person panel — consisting of one appointee apiece from Cuomo’s office, de Blasio’s and both chambers of the state Legislature — unless the mayor appeared in person, insisting the decision was too monumental to be given to a proxy.

But de Blasio, who wanted budget aide Sherif Soliman to represent City Hall’s interests, declined, ceding the city’s veto power over the massive infrastructure plan.

The MTA’s board — which is dominated by Cuomo appointees — green-lit the plan in September.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson — who has demanded transparency as he and other council members weigh sinking some $3 billion of city funds into the plan — railed against the outcome.

Source: https://nypost.com/2020/01/01/mtas-51-5-billion-capital-plan-approved-without-city-oversight/?utm_campaign=applenews&utm_medium=inline&utm_source=applenews

Kansas City becomes first major American city with universal fare-free public transit

(435MAG.COM) Martin Cizmar, December 6, 2019

Today, Kansas City became the first major American city to have fare-free public transit.

City council voted unanimously to make city bus routes fare-free, reports KSHB, directing the city manager to develop and enact a plan. The city’s light rail was already free.

Free bus service, which is expected to cost about $8 million, has been pitched as a major help to low-income residents who rely on transit to commute to work.

New mayor Quinton Lucas helped spearhead the plan with the support of city opinion leaders including the Kansas City Star‘s editorial board.

Other supporters included City Councilman Eric Bunch.

“When we’re talking about improving people’s lives who are our most vulnerable citizens, I don’t think there’s any question that we need to find that money,” Bunch told KSHB. “That’s not a ton of money and it’s money that we as a city, if we want to prioritize public transportation, it’s something that we can find.”

Public transit has become a focus on intense political activity in cities across the country as young climate change protestors demand investment in mass transit to help battle climate change.

While progressive Kansas City enacts universal fare-free transit, other cities, such as Portland, Oregon, are redoubling efforts to crack down on scofflaws and hiring more transit cops to deter free riders.

Source: https://www.435mag.com/kansas-city-becomes-first-major-american-city-with-universal-fare-free-public-transit/

MTA Subway Accessibility Study Cost Rises

(THE CITY)  Jose Martinez, November 13, 2019

The cost of an MTA study that aims to put a price tag on making the entire subway system accessible to people with disabilities is going up.

MTA documents reveal that the budget for the feasibility study has jumped 70% — to $16.9 million from $10 million. The report, expected to be completed by the end of the year, is in the MTA’s 2015-2019 capital plan.

“Look, it’s the MTA and costs often go up,” said Joseph Rappaport, executive director of Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled.

The MTA announced the study in February 2018, hiring engineering consulting firm Stantec to figure out ways to better open up a subway system where only about a quarter of the 472 stations are navigable by riders with physical disabilities.

“We want to have a really good sense of what’s going on and it sometimes adds costs to the study,” Alex Elegudin, senior adviser for accessibility at New York City Transit, told THE CITY.

Source: https://thecity.nyc/2019/11/mta-subway-accessibility-study-cost-rises.html?utm_campaign=mailchimp&utm_source=daily&utm_medium=newsletter&mc_cid=be79f35a30&mc_eid=db77ae1a16

How the MTA Plans to Spend Billions on its Subway Wishlist

(THE CITY) Jose Martinez and Ann Choi, October 14, 2019

The wishlist for modernizing New York’s ancient transit system — everything from new subway cars to more station elevators to a fast-track signal system — carries an enormous price tag: a record $51.5 billion.

But the funding for the proposed 2020-2024 MTA Capital Program is no sure thing.

Here’s our interactive look at the MTA’s subway wishlist and the numbers that could derail the vision.


Sections of six subway lines — including the busiest in the system, the 4, 5 and 6 lines — are marked for extensive signal modernization projects.

The proposed $7.1 billion signal modernization projects will come with another cost: ongoing inconvenience to riders. Previous installation of upgraded signals along the L and 7 lines required frequent weekend service interruptions that were scattered over close to a decade.

Source: https://thecity.nyc/2019/10/how-the-mta-plans-to-spend-billions-on-its-subway-wishlist.html?utm_campaign=mailchimp&utm_source=daily&utm_medium=newsletter

Utica Avenue Subway Extension MIA as MTA Plans Projects

(THE CITY) Jose Martinez, September 19, 2019

The state-run MTA projects it will need $3 billion from City Hall to help bankroll its new $51.5 billion blueprint of big-ticket transit projects.

But a $5 million study looking at the possibility of extending subway service along Utica Avenue in Brooklyn — included in the MTA’s current five-year financial plan at the behest of Mayor Bill de Blasio — didn’t earn so much as a mention when transit officials outlined the proposed 2020-2024 Capital Program earlier this week.

An MTA spokesperson was tight-lipped Wednesday when THE CITY asked about the status of the feasibility study, which had been given a February 2020 deadline. The assessment, which began in April, is listed as “0% complete” on the agency’s online Capital Program Dashboard.

“There’s a process for releasing additional details on the 2020-2024 Capital Program and as more details are released, there will be additional clarification relating to the Utica extension,” said the spokesperson, Andrei Berman.

https: https://thecity.nyc/2019/09/mta-city-hall-mum-on-utica-avenue-subway-extension-plans.html?utm_campaign=mailchimp&utm_source=daily&utm_medium=newsletter


How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country

(NY TIMES) Hiroko Tabucchi, June 28, 2018 — A team of political activists huddled at a Hardee’s one rainy Saturday, wolfing down a breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Then they descended on Antioch, a quiet Nashville suburb, armed with iPads full of voter data and a fiery script.

The group, the local chapter for Americans for Prosperity, which is financed by the oil billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch to advance conservative causes, fanned out and began strategically knocking on doors. Their targets: voters most likely to oppose a local plan to build light-rail trains, a traffic-easing tunnel and new bus routes.

“Do you agree that raising the sales tax to the highest rate in the nation must be stopped?” Samuel Nienow, one of the organizers, asked a startled man who answered the door at his ranch-style home in March. “Can we count on you to vote ‘no’ on the transit plan?”

In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/climate/koch-brothers-public-transit.html

‘MAXIMUM BULLSH*T’ On J/M This Morning Portends L Train Shutdown Hell

(GOTHAMIST) John Del Signore, June 21, 2018 — It’s 82 degrees and Tuesday—what better way to celebrate than by languishing on a sweltering subway platform for a train that never comes? If you’re a masochist, or simply someone who believes that life in New York is about enduring adversity and showing up for work an hour late and soaking wet, the J/M lines have gotcha covered this morning.

A sick passenger on a train at the Myrtle Avenue station and a passenger requiring medical assistance at Kosciuszko St. ground service to a halt on the J/M lines during the height of this morning’s rush hour.