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  1. #91
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    I'm not a happy camper when I have to drive into/out of NYC for work etc. I much prefer taking a train, on a dedicated track. Less guesswork about arrival time.

  2. #92
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugenious View Post
    gee thanks Einstein

    If you're comparing public transportation in NJ to NYC your on drugs

    it would take me 4+ hours to get from Bergen County to Coney Island in Brooklyn

    In fact I was all for congestion pricing because it wouldn't double charge or penalize people for using the FDR and the BB to get to Brooklyn from out of town.

    This plan does exactly that which is INSANE...
    What is the nearest commuter rail to you in Bergen Cnty, maybe I can help find the most convient one, because Bergen does have commuter rail. Also the whole state may not have great mass transit, other than commuter rail, but Jersey City and most of Hudson County does:

    From Wikipedia.com:
    "Of all Jersey City commuters, 8.17% walk to work, and 40.26% take public transit. This is the second highest percentage of public transit riders of any city with a population of 100,000+ in the United States, behind only New York City and ahead of Washington, D.C. A significant portion of Jersey City households do not own an automobile."

    http://www.panynj.com/CommutingTravel/path/html/
    http://www.mylightrail.com/
    http://www.njtransit.com/images/hb_final_1031.gif

  3. #93
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    NJ transit has won national awards for service.

  4. #94
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Found myself up by Rockefeller Center yesterday among the throngs of tourists. That's fine, it's Christmas in the City, but I still can't get over how many people drive around that part of town this time of year. Traffic was a nightmare.

  5. #95
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    OMG I had to rent a car at the 55th. & 6th. Hertz last week, and return it there as well. NOT PRETTY!

  6. #96

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    NY1

    Updated 12/15/2008 04:11 PM

    Mayor, DOT Secretary Announce Expanding Rail Service



    The Bush administration announced a new effort to develop new rail service along the Northeast Corridor and in other parts of the country.

    Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters made the announcement today at Penn Station, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and representatives from Florida and Delaware.

    Peters and Bloomberg asked for proposals from the private sector about developing rail service on the Northeast Corridor and 10 other areas around the nation.

    Peters recently announced the federal government will provide $30 million for 15 passenger rail projects aimed at boosting capacity and on-time performance.

    Peters says the proposal for new rail service comes as Americans are making a fundamental change in their travel habits by driving less and using mass transit and rail systems more.


    Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

  7. #97

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    M.T.A. Approves Austerity Budget

    By WILLIAM NEUMAN
    Published: December 17, 2008

    The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday approved an austerity budget for 2009 that calls for painful cuts in bus, subway and commuter rail service and a steep increase in fares and tolls, all aimed at plugging a $1.2 billion deficit.


    In virtually the same breath, officials at the authority appealed to lawmakers in Albany to pass a financial rescue plan that would soften the fare and toll increase and avoid most of the service cuts by creating a dedicated payroll tax and charging tolls on bridges over the East and Harlem Rivers.

    If the authority does not receive new sources of revenue, it seems likely that the base subway fare could rise to at least $2.50, from $2, starting in June. A monthly unlimited-ride MetroCard could rise to more than $100, from $81.

    The success of efforts to help the authority are far from assured, as the state grapples with its own budget crisis. On Tuesday, Gov. David A. Paterson unveiled a budget proposal for the state that included dozens of increased taxes and fees. That means a bailout of the authority would compete with other powerful interests, including advocates for schools and hospitals, for scarce government dollars.

    The authority’s $11 billion budget calls for a 23 percent increase in revenues from fares and tolls.

    Next week, the authority will issue a public notice for hearings on the fare and toll plan that will set the maximum possible increases. About a week or so after that, the authority will detail the expected increases to the base subway and bus fare, unlimited-ride MetroCards, commuter rail fares and bridge and tunnel tolls.

    The authority and its supporters must now focus their efforts on building support among elected officials in the state and city.

    That effort will be spearheaded by Richard Ravitch, a former authority chairman who led a state commission, appointed by Governor Paterson, that proposed the rescue package for the authority. That package calls for a payroll tax of a third of a percent, to be paid by businesses in the region served by the authority.

    The tax would generate an estimated $1.5 billion a year to plug the immediate budget gap and, in the long term, help pay for capital expenses to modernize and maintain the transportation system.

    The package also calls for tolls on the bridges over the East and Harlem Rivers, with the money, about $600 million a year, going to expand bus service in the region. It would raise revenues from fares and existing tolls by 8 percent and eliminate the need for most service cuts.

    The authority’s executive director, Elliot G. Sander; its chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger; and several board members said they would work to persuade lawmakers to pass Mr. Ravitch’s plan.

    Officials at the authority have said privately for months that they hoped that the State Legislature would pass a rescue plan before it became bogged down in broader budget issues. And they feared that if that did not happen, they would wind up in a bruising brawl with other interests over state support.

    “The Legislature has understood for some time that the M.T.A.’s situation would be resolved in the context of a very difficult budget,” Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Democrat from Westchester, said on Tuesday, after the governor released his budget proposal. “This is not going to be easy.”

    Meanwhile, there were indications that the doom and gloom may not end with the passage of the budget, and that the authority’s finances could become much worse quickly.

    The authority said that an important source of revenue — taxes on real estate transactions — was running well below the latest forecast for the month, a figure that had already been revised downward several times.
    Those real estate and mortgage taxes brought in $37 million this month, compared with $103 million in the same period last year, Gary J. Dellaverson, the authority’s chief financial officer, told at a meeting of the board’s finance committee on Monday.

    “This is a really sobering number,” Mr. Dellaverson said. “This does show how frightening this economy can be in terms of our sensitive taxes.”
    He said the authority had tried to be very conservative in predicting real estate transaction tax receipts as the economy worsened, basing its forecasts on projections made by the city.

    He said that projections of December’s tax receipts had repeatedly been reduced as the year progressed, falling to $88 million from $99 million before finally being revised down again only a month ago, to $64 million. The authority receives those revenues in a lump sum in the middle of each month.

    But the reality turned out to be even worse, missing the mark by $27 million. Mr. Dellaverson also warned that the authority’s budget relied on similar forecasts for other taxes, like a portion of the sales tax and a surcharge on corporate income taxes, that could decline sharply along with the economy.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/ny...ransit.html?hp

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  8. #98

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    NY1

    12/20/2008 11:05 AM

    2008 In Review: Financial Problems Cause MTA To Hike Fares, Reduce Service



    By: Bobby Cuza

    With the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in financial meltdown, the agency was forced this year to scale back projects and raise fares. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report on the year in transit.

    The year in transit got off to a bad start in January, when the MTA says it can no longer afford to build the Fulton Street Transit Center as designed.

    "I am sad to say that we cannot build the transit center, as currently envisioned, in this market, with the budget that we have," said MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot "Lee" Sander.

    In March, the MTA raised the price of unlimited MetroCards and reduced the pay-per-ride discount. To soften the blow, Sander promised a number of service improvements, only to cancel them later, due to the MTA's growing financial crisis.

    In another plan gone awry, the MTA selects Tishman Speyer to develop its West Side Rail Yards, only to see the billion-dollar deal fall apart, though developer Stephen Ross later agrees to the same plan.

    In April, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan failed, as the state Legislature refused to put it to a vote. In response, the governor formed a commission headed by former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch to come up with alternative funding ideas.

    A month later, MTA board members came under fire for their free use of the system, including free E-ZPass tags. The perk was discontinued after the state attorney general called the practice illegal.

    "If the board votes to continue the usage, my position is, they'll leave me no recourse but to commence litigation," said State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

    The summer kicked off with the agency saying it would have to raise fares again in 2009. The MTA asked the city for more funding -- to no avail.

    "There certainly is not going to be more money coming from the city," said the mayor. "We don't have it."

    As a result, in November the MTA proposed an even bigger hike of 23 percent plus massive service cuts, including eliminating the W and Z subway lines. The board approved the plan, but said it can be averted, if Albany acts on the recommendations of the Ravitch Commission, like East River tolls and a new payroll tax.

    "Please, Albany, Washington, come to our help," said MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger.

    Meanwhile, 2008 was also the year the Port Authority scaled back the planned World Trade Center transit hub.

    On the buses, transit officials said they will try installing driver partitions following the stabbing death of Edwin Thomas.

    Transit also brought back an old concept: the double-decker bus -- and tried out a new experimental service on the BX12 that requires riders to pay at the curb, speeding up the boarding process.

    Other transit innovations in 2008 include: elevated sidewalk grates to prevent subway flooding; a partnership with Google Transit to provide door-to-door subway directions; screens that show riders the location of every train on their line; new advertising concepts, including fully-wrapped subway cars and turnstile ads; a new email and text message alert system; and a plan to try seatless subway cars in 2009 to increase capacity.

    If that's not something to look forward to in the New Year, how about this: the new South Ferry station is set to open in a few weeks.


    Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

  9. #99

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    March 13, 2009, 11:25 am

    M.T.A. Warns of ‘Dire’ Fiscal Picture

    By Sewell Chan




    With the State Senate balking on a financial rescue plan that would impose tolls on East River and Harlem River bridges to help close a mounting budget gap, officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority warned on Friday that if Albany does not act by March 25, they will have no choice but to order steep fare increases, impose “painful” service cuts and lay off at least 1,100 employees.

    “The situation is dire,” the authority’s chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger, said at a meeting of the authority’s board. He described “25 to 35 percent increases in the cost of getting to work” and “serious and painful cuts in service.”

    The authority says its board must vote by March 25 on a budget. The Legislature is contemplating a rescue plan proposed by a state commission led by Richard Ravitch, a former authority chairman. A central plank of that plan includes a $2 toll on vehicles crossing the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Queensboro Bridges and the bridges over the Harlem River; a regional “payroll mobility tax” to support mass transit; and an 8 percent fare and toll increase.

    Gov. David A. Paterson and the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver of Manhattan, have generally expressed support for the plan, but the Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith of Queens, whose Democratic conference just won a slim majority in the chamber, faces unified opposition from Republicans and some opposition among fellow Democrats.

    Mr. Smith has also questioned whether the March 25 deadline is real.
    The Friday board meeting was in large part held to place pressure on Albany to act.

    “The Legislature has not been able to reach an agreement on the Ravitch commission recommendation or any other solution on the M.T.A.’s fiscal crisis,” Mr. Hemmerdinger said. “It’s too soon to know what will happen, but with the March 25 board meeting rapidly approaching, it’s time for the board to refocus on the tough decisions that will have go be made to keep our budget balanced.”

    Before the board began its deliberations, transit advocates testified for about 40 minutes, telling the board the situation was grave.

    “Time is running out,” said Neysa C. Pranger, a transit advocate, of the Regional Plan Association.
    Gene Russianoff, a lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign of the New York Public Interest Research Group, told the board:
    Subway, bus and commuter rail riders are on the brink of catastrophe, facing whopping fare hikes, massive service cuts and a deep downturn in the vital effort to repair the transit system ­– all caused by the M.T.A.’s big financial problems.

    We are looking at a $2.50 base subway and bus fare ­– up from $2 — and a staggering $103 for a 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCard. That’s $103 up from the current $81!

    The service cuts include ending or shortening five subway lines and a score-plus bus routes; increasing waits and crowding system-wide; and eliminating scores of staffed station booths.

    And after 25 years of the critical rebuilding of the transit system, funding for these capital repairs would dry up. The fare is what you pay for your MetroCard, service is what you get, and the M.T.A. capital program is whether you are riding on a 40-year-old subway car that breaks down often or use a gloomy-lit station without a public address system.

    So, who will rescue riders from having to pay a whole lot more for a whole lot less?

    We look to the New York State Senate and its new majority leader, Malcolm Smith, for one. If he doesn’t come to the aid of riders, his constituents will see total or major cuts on 14 bus routes — the Q24, Q30, Q31, Q41, Q42, Q56, Q84, Q74, Q75, Q76, Q110, QM4, QM21 and X28 — and more crowding and longer waits on the already brutally overcrowded E and F trains in Queens. The same kinds of awful cuts would occur in all the districts of his city-area colleagues.

    There is much talk among some state senators about an audit of M.T.A. The Straphangers Campaign supports more oversight. But an audit will be cold comfort to a rider crammed into an even more crowded E or F train or who has to walk ten blocks because their bus route no longer runs – all for a much higher price. What millions of riders want are solutions, not slogans.

    At the same, riders are also looking to Gov. David Paterson’s leadership to find ways to address our transit crisis, working with the state’s legislative leaders. In the end, it is his responsibility to win a plan that makes safe, decent and affordable transit possible.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...iscal-picture/

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  10. #100
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    New transit options mulled for 34th St.

    By Diane Vacca

    A broad plan to improve the flow of crosstown traffic along 34th St. with the ultimate goal of reducing travel time for pedestrians and drivers was recently presented by the Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at a public hearing.

    The two agencies solicited feedback at a meeting of Community Board 4’s transportation committee on Dec. 17, outlining a preliminary study that will analyze all possible transit options on the busy thoroughfare, including side streets.

    One of the most congested stretches in the city, 34th St. conducts local and regional traffic from river to river—from New Jersey to Queens and Long Island—linking rail, ferry and bus terminals. Thirty bus lines, split between local and express service, carry over 30,000 passengers daily along the corridor. The Lincoln Tunnel alone, according to Board 4 transportation committee co-chairperson Christine Berthet, has doubled its volume in the last four years. The street is crowded with pedestrian traffic as commuters and tourists walk from Penn Station and the Javits Center to Herald Square and the Empire State building. In a few years the new ARC rail tunnel to New Jersey, the Hudson Yards and other developments will disgorge thousands more into the area.

    However, some improvement has already occurred. The introduction of new painted bus lanes on 34th St. last year cut bus travel time by 17 percent, allowing buses to traverse the island in 28 minutes—which is still only slightly faster than walking.

    The new transit options currently under consideration by the DOT and the MTA include minor bus improvements (such as off-board fare collection) and bus rapid transit (bus lanes with protected rights of way, prohibiting cars). Other, more ambitious considerations include streetcars, which would use the existing road configuration and run along curbside tracks on a protected right of way; light-rail transit, which would travel on tracks in a protected center or curbside lane with limited access; automated guideway transit, which is elevated like an airport monorail; and underground rail transit, like the subway.

    Berthet expressed concern that trucks aren’t getting enough attention in the study, given that 34th St. is the only crosstown through-route for rigs. Trucks enter Manhattan from the west either from the George Washington Bridge, in which case they continue on the Cross Bronx Expressway, or the Lincoln Tunnel, in which case “the natural place [to cross] is 34th St.,” Berthet said. “Therefore, you need to identify a dedicated route for those trucks, so they don’t end up … in a residential community.”


    Berthet believes that deliveries, both commercial and residential, must be restored with direct access to the curb on 34th St., because she has heard many complaints since they were eliminated.

    Unused subterranean tracks running from Penn Station to 12th Ave. also provide an opportunity for improving travel, Berthet informed the DOT. “We could have an underground shuttle—heavy rail—without any investment,” she said. “You should be looking at that option.” The tracks belong to the Long Island Railroad, which is run by the MTA.

    Moreover, any transit system that operates curbside will prove unsatisfactory, according to Berthet. “A center-median option is much better,” she noted. “It relieves the issue of how do you do these deliveries.” She added that any above-ground transit option “definitely needs to be protected, because otherwise it’s useless.”

    Since half the buses on 34th St. operate on express routes, Berthet explained any plan must reckon with them. Utilizing streetcar, light rail or automated gateway transit would only be “50 percent effective,” she said, because none of these options take express buses into account. “You can dismiss any of that,” she warned of the other options. “Putting light rail along the sidewalk is very expensive—you can get rid of [that idea] right away. If it’s not in the middle, you can’t do it.”

    But if light rail does operate down the middle of the street, Berthet wondered where the express buses would go. “Now you’re running out of street,” she contended. “You still need to put the cars and the big trucks.” Any improvements that don’t accommodate deliveries to businesses and residential buildings are “not viable,” she continued, rejecting all the curbside options for that reason. Using the median, Berthet noted, allows trucks to make deliveries along the curb and leaves more space for the pedestrians.

    The DOT’s Eric Beaton responded that rapid transit along the middle of the street requires boarding islands on both sides of the median.

    CB 4 committee member Walter Mankoff stressed the need for ascertaining the volume and pattern of crosstown traffic before designing a system. “We don’t have all that data yet,” Beaton replied.

    Mankoff also discussed the importance of incorporating the needs of the elderly and the handicapped into any eventual transit system. He said 34th St. has become “a monstrosity for seniors and handicapped people.”

    One resident of 34th St. pointed out that the street is too narrow to accommodate buses, pedestrians and trucks combined. Some of the traffic will have to be diverted to 33rd, 32nd and 31st Sts., it was noted, and the committee agreed that neighboring streets will have to be part of the eventual plan.

    http://www.chelseanow.com/articles/2...2702818520.txt

  11. #101
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Default New MTA website -

    *taps foot*...

    It's up. Comments?
    Last edited by stache; January 13th, 2010 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Waiting for the MTA -

  12. #102
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    Keeping Hope That a Voice Can Reverse Transit Cuts

    By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

    The proposed cuts to New York City’s bus and subway service, considered the most severe in a generation, are entering the court of public opinion this week with a set of hearings being held by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is staring at a budget shortfall of nearly $800 million.

    To any close observer of local government, the format is painfully familiar: one aggrieved resident after another hurls invective, resentment and — occasionally — well-reasoned arguments at a stoic board of bureaucrats.

    Politicians posture; commissioners stonewall. And more often than not, the policy goes ahead exactly as planned. “Are we going into this with a bit of cynicism? I know I am,” James Vacca, the chairman of the City Council’s transportation committee, said on Tuesday.

    But politicians and advocates who oppose the cuts — and particularly the planned elimination of discounted fares for students — refuse to accept them as a fait accompli. Albany legislators, borough officials and groups of schoolchildren have held rallies across the city, hoping to convince the public that in this case they can make a difference.

    “I understand why the public would be skeptical about the M.T.A. I really do,” said Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, who has been one of the more vocal opponents of the plan. “That said, in the past when New Yorkers have really come together and rallied, we have been successful in stopping the worst cuts.”

    Transit officials are adamant that they have no choice but to reduce service, barring a last-minute financial infusion from state legislators. But history may be on Ms. Quinn’s side.

    In 1991, when the transit agency proposed sharp service reductions, an outcry from riders persuaded the authority’s board to revise the plans. A fare increase was eventually passed in lieu of the cuts.

    Last year, when a similar slate of cuts was proposed, New Yorkers turned out in droves at hearings that lasted past midnight. Officials at New York City Transit, the authority’s bus and subway unit, later said the comments helped them recognize flaws in their approach. For instance, one Staten Island bus line that was to be eliminated last year has been spared, after workers at a hospital said they would have no transit option on weekends.

    “A lot of the changes that took place from last year to this year were driven almost entirely by the testimony,” said Allen P. Cappelli, a member of the authority’s board from Staten Island. “It’s an education on the needs of our customers.”

    Mr. Cappelli, however, was troubled by the authority’s decision to hold multiple hearings, all at 6 p.m., on single evenings: The Queens and Staten Island hearings happened Tuesday, and hearings in Brooklyn and the Bronx are on Wednesday.

    A raucous crowd of more than 200 turned out for the Queens hearing, in Flushing, jeering and chanting “Shame on you!”

    Peter F. Vallone Jr., a councilman from Queens, asked, “How dare you take our trains, take our buses, take our student MetroCards, while at the same time giving raises and giving friends and family free rides?”

    The board members listened silently, some fidgeting with pencils and others gazing pensively into the crowd.

    The unusual schedule of hearings has been criticized by observers who say it underscores a perceived callousness on the part of the authority.

    “The board can’t hear from a wide variety of people because it can’t be in two places at once,” said Andrew Albert, a riders’ advocate.

    Sometimes, the authority’s staff does not help its cause.

    “I’ve seen where a board member walks off and gets themselves a soda during the testimony, or walks off and talks to someone, and that’s not taken particularly well among the citizenry,” said William Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the authority.

    A spokesman for the authority, Aaron Donovan, said the goal was “to hear from folks throughout the region, not to allow the same people to testify nine different times.”

    Specificity may be the key for those seeking to make an impact.
    “If you can point out a change you might make in a service plan, there’s an opportunity to influence it,” Mr. Henderson said.

    The hearings Wednesday are at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx and the Brooklyn Museum. The Manhattan hearing will be Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/ny...er=rss&emc=rss

  13. #103
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Maybe what they need to do to cover costs is reduce or eliminate certain discounts for purchasing things like monthly passes.

    They may need to trim service to some areas, but they also have to look at the bus service and try to reduce duplicate and overlapping runs (I have seen, MANY times, 3 or 4 busses of the same route number passing by right after each other) Also, stopping every 2 blocks, in the short direction, is a bit time consuming, gas wasting, and not much of a net savings in reduced walking distances for the elderly and disabled.

    Speaking of which, wasn't there a story on how much we are spending on special transportation provisions in the state/city for people who really do not warrant that kind of special delivery (busses basically paid to shuttle people around that are still healthy enough to run away from news cameras....). One guy basically sat and slept for 2 hours doing nothing while the engine was running. Good use of $$ there.

    But that may not even be the MTA's perview anyway, so I apologise if I am overextending the rant.

    Basically what has to happen is that the City can't depend on any monies returning from the State. Maybe they should volunteer to pay for that $800M shortfall themselves... by not paying NYS the same amount.

    Odd that we need state funds to run a transit system that we could fund ourselves if it werent for all the money the state takes in the first place. It just makes no sense (also, money has a tendency to get thinner the more it runs around. Better to let it sit where it came from than force it around so much...)

  14. #104
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    Students, Villagers ride M.T.A. board, trying to derail cuts

    By Albert Amateau

    The M.T.A.’s Manhattan hearing last week went on for six hours, and took testimony from 99 speakers, including angry high school students, transit workers, local elected officials and residents, who denounced the agency for proposing wide-ranging service cuts.

    Students filled many of the 600 seats in the Haft Auditorium at Fashion Institute of Technology on Thurs., March 4, and railed against eliminating free student MetroCards. Transit workers — whose fellow union members demonstrated more than 1,000 strong at times on Seventh Ave. while the hearing was in progress — protested cutting token booth attendants. Residents from Battery Park City to Washington Heights pleaded against proposed reductions in Access-A-Ride and bus service.

    One high school student, Adolfo Abreu, called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board to meet with students on the MetroCard issue on March 17, and demanded that the board chairperson, Jay Walder, answer immediately.

    Walder replied, “You’ve got your meeting,” after students in the audience chanted, “Answer now.”

    The M.T.A., the state agency that runs the city transit, express bus and suburban train system, is proposing a broad range of cuts in all five boroughs to make up for a shortfall estimated at more than $700 million due to state funding cuts attributed to the economic decline.

    City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin appeared in person to urge the M.T.A. board to find alternatives to the deep service cuts to manage the fiscal problem. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Chin’s Council predecessor, Alan Gerson, also spoke, saying that cutting free student MetroCards should be taken off the table. Reducing Access-A-Ride service from door-to-door to providing service between existing bus and train stations was another bad decision, they said.

    “Access-A-Ride at bus stops?” asked Anita Romm, a senior advocate. “Most riders can’t use buses. If they could, they wouldn’t need Access-A-Ride.”

    Public Advocate Bill de Blasio warned that MetroCards were vital to ensure public school attendance.

    “If we lose [bus and train] service now, the loss could become permanent,” de Blasio said.

    Stringer charged that the M.T.A. board was proposing service cuts because it is easier to go after students and riders rather than politicians.

    “You haven’t taken the fight to Albany,” Stringer said. “You need to get the federal government involved. You can’t stand by while Albany is burning and take it out on kids and seniors. Take the lead in Albany, they need it now more than ever,” said Stringer, who served many years as member of the New York State Assembly before he was elected Manhattan borough president.

    Chin made a special plea for keeping full service on the M9, M20 and M22 bus lines, as well as the M21, the Houston St. cross-town route.

    “They provide the few cross-town bus lines in Lower Manhattan,” Chin said.

    “Eliminating or drastically reducing service on those lines would be devastating, especially to seniors. This is also true of service in the Village on the M5 line.”

    Mendez said the proposal to eliminate night and weekend service on the M8 bus, which crosses river to river on Eighth, Ninth and 10th Sts., would negatively impact communities in the East and West Village.

    “This route provides the only cross-town service between Houston and 14th Sts. and connects with two PATH stations, the No. 6 train at Astor Place, the Eighth St. station on Broadway and the Christopher St. station on the No. 1 line,” she said, adding that the bus route serves the densely populated housing developments on Avenue D.

    Doris Howie, who came to the hearing with fellow residents of 505 LaGuardia Place, pleaded with the M.T.A. board to maintain Houston St. bus service because the line allows seniors to transfer at First Ave. for bus service to Bellevue Hospital and New York University Medical Center.

    “The real story is outside,” said Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, which covers the East Village and Lower East Side between 14th St. and the Brooklyn Bridge. Stetzer referred to the demonstration on Seventh Ave. between 27th and 30th Sts. by transit workers and students while the hearing was in progress. “Who ever heard of a hearing when people can’t even get on the block?” Stetzer said.

    Mendez also said that, at one point, the F.I.T. auditorium was not accessible because of crowds outside.

    Stetzer claimed that 80 percent of residents in the C.B. 3 district don’t have cars and that the district thus clearly needs the bus service.

    Residents of the east end of Grand St. are especially cut off from the rest of Manhattan, she said.

    “There is a perfect bus route, but the bus never comes,” said Stetzer, referring to the M9. “Longer waits mean fewer people will take the bus.”

    George Haikalis, a transit advocate, also said service cuts would shift riders away from public transit. He suggested that private transport should be discouraged by enacting significant tolls at the East River bridges, and that the M.T.A. itself should be disbanded and its function transferred to a general government body directly accountable to the public.

    The testimony took radical and vindictive turns before long.

    “Something phony is going on here. Where is Chancellor Klein?” said Joseph Morris, referring to the city’s schools chancellor, Joel Klein. Morris said the M.T.A. was only 55 percent of the problem. Student MetroCards should be provided by the Department of Education, Morris said.

    Seth Rosenberg, a transit worker who identified himself as a socialist, said the M.T.A. pays 20 percent of its revenue to service its debts.

    “The money goes to Wall St. and bankers, and the cuts come out of us,” he said.

    Eric Josephson, a trackwalker who said he was a supporter of the Revolutionary Transit Workers, also denounced interest payments to lenders, and called for a general strike of all workers.

    “Just like Greece!” came a shout from the audience.

    “Just like Greece, but we should strike until we win,” said Josephson, referring to recent demonstrations in Greece.

    One woman said that Walder, previous head of London Transport and drafter of London’s bid for the 2006 Olympics, was an expert at firing people.

    “This board does not represent anybody,” she said, adding, “The M.T.A. was created to get around the state cap on the amount of money that can be paid to the banks.”

    Witnesses at the hearing also suggested that the proposed No. 7 line extension from Times Square to 10th Ave. and down to 34th St. be dropped and the capital funds be devoted to maintaining full service on existing train and bus lines.

    http://www.thevillager.com/villager_...villagers.html

  15. #105

    Default

    January 31, 2011, 9:50 am
    M.T.A. Puts New Aspirations Under an Old Title

    By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM A year ago — before the fare increases, prior to the service cuts, back when the W and V trains still rumbled on their now-silenced routes beneath the city — the Metropolitan Transportation Authority published a glossy manifesto outlining its aims and aspirations for 2010. The pamphlet, a brisk 24-page primer, was christened after the agency’s newly adopted ethos: “Making Every Dollar Count.”

    This mantra has since been used to great ironic effect by critics who say the agency now offers less service for more money. But the authority, more or less, stuck to its word: It cut its budget by $500 million last year by haggling over contracts, abandoning boondoggle projects and laying off hundreds of workers for the first time in a generation.

    Now the agency is out with a revised plan for 2011, complete with a new pamphlet, issued on Friday. It is also 24 pages long, and also titled “Making Every Dollar Count” (pdf).

    The duplicate title is intentional, and not a result of any apparent budget cuts in the copy-writing department (although the agency did consolidate its communications team as part of last year’s cost cutting.) The title may be the same, but the agency is promising a new slate of improvements throughout the region’s transit system, from dozens more of those digital subway countdown clocks to bus-mounted traffic cameras that can zap drivers with tickets anytime an automobile violates the sanctity of the bus lanes on First and Second Avenues.

    “It’s a new year, but our focus is unchanged,” Jay H. Walder, the authority’s chairman, wrote in his introduction. (In this year’s pamphlet, Mr. Walder appears only in his official head shot, down from four glossy photos that ran in the 2010 edition.)

    The countdown clocks, technology that has been commonplace in Washington, Paris and London for years, were perhaps the most immediately noticeable improvements to the subway system in the past year. Now, 100 more clocks will soon arrive on the numbered subway lines, including the No. 7 train to Queens.

    The lettered lines are not as easily equipped with the clocks, for a host of technical reasons. But some stations on the Queens Boulevard line, which serves the E, F, M and R trains, will be provided with the displays, the agency said, joining 19 stations on the A, C and E lines.

    Bigger screens that display service status across the entire subway system will be installed at Pennsylvania Station and the Willets Point and Woodside stops on the No. 7 line, along with “other key hubs.”

    On the bus side, the authority hopes to install streetlight-mounted cameras along 34th Street in Manhattan and Fordham Road in the Bronx, to better catch drivers who impede the bus-only lane along those routes. The rapid-transit M15 buses that run along First and Second Avenues in Manhattan will also be equipped with the cameras, and the city wants to create a system that lengthens green lights for buses along that route, providing faster passage across town.

    A real-time bus locator system that allows customers to track the progress of city buses on the Web or a mobile phone will be extended to every bus on Staten Island. It is currently available only on the M16 and M34 routes.

    The agency makes no promises on the expansion of cashless, all-electronic tolling, which it recently rolled out in pilot form on the Henry Hudson Bridge. But the authority does note that 140,000 square feet of road will be replaced on the Queens approach to the half-century-old Throgs Neck Bridge.

    MAKING EVERY DOLLAR COUNT FULL REPORT PDF


    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20.../?ref=nyregion

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