THE COMMUTE: In an effort to improve its image and obtain more funding from Albany, last month the MTA rebranded its non-service-change public information advertisement cards. Previously named “Sub-Talk” and “Bus Talk,” the MTA now uses the tag line “Improving Non-Stop” to tout new projects such as Select Bus Service and Countdown Clocks.
But will riders believe that the MTA really is improving?
It’s questionable, since the MTA has recently been hit with a slew of negative news stories.
- On Friday, the City Council grilled MTA executives for more than four hours regarding the recent blizzard.
- Admitting mistakes were made, NYC Transit President Tom Prendergast stated there was no excuse for stranding passengers for seven hours aboard an A Train near Aqueduct. The MTA also stated they should have made a formal emergency declaration sooner, set up a central control room to monitor the situation, and curtailed or suspended service sooner to prevent stranded trains and 650 buses from getting stuck and hindering street cleaning efforts. They also admitted not paying close enough attention to rescuing stranded passengers.
- The City Council has also called for a public hearing for Brooklyn on Wednesday, January 19 at 6 p.m. in Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon Street).
- Another disturbing story involved the seizing of evidence in an investigation into the falsified signal inspections, according to the New York Daily News.
- Subway tracks have been plagued with rats for many years, but this week a YouTube video went viral showing a rat climbing up the leg and onto the face of a sleeping commuter while inside a subway car.
- Finally, a New York Post investigation revealed that more than 10 years after the MTA promised to transform its subway data network with fiber optics, security cameras and more, the Synchronized Optical Network (SONET) is more than $200 million over budget with only Phase 1 completed and accepted.
Think these items will be touted as the MTA “Improving Non-Stop”? Yeah, we doubt it, too.
The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).