The battle between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over New York’s embattled MTA and the city’s aged subway system rages on.
In a one-two punch, the mayor first blasted the governor and new MTA Chairman Joe Lhota while riding an F train in Brooklyn on Sunday, which preceded Monday’s release of a five-point list entitled “What New York City Riders Deserve from Governor Cuomo’s Subway Turnaround Plan.”
“Riders have every right to be frustrated,” de Blasio said, adding that in the past five years, delays on the subway have “more than doubled, from around 28,000 per month in 2012 to more than 70,000 per month today.” He also said that just 63 percent of trains run on time, a 15 percent decrease since 2012.
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The five points de Blasio, who has recently been spotted on the subway much more since Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the MTA late last month, said New Yorkers deserve to see are:
• Immediate relief for riders
What this means: Exactly as it sounds like, that the MTA needs to announce and implement service and reliability improvements ASAP.
• Public performance goals and standards
What this means: The MTA should regularly measure and report rush-hour wait times and how many times a train is too crowded to board while also ensuring all trains have functioning air conditioning in the summer, every station is staffed and straphangers are not stuck on trains for “more than a few minutes as a result of maintenance issues, especially without knowing what is happening.”
• Clear accountability for continual improvement.
What this means: The MTA should track line and station rush-hour and non-rush-hour performance and hold supervisors accountable.
• An efficient and fair MTA budget and reallocation of resources toward core needs.
What this means: The MTA should accelerate available funds and reallocate money for less-critical initiatives, which the mayor cited as lights on bridges, “aesthetic portions of station enhancements or bureaucratic staffing that does not impact customer service.”
• A meaningful state commitment to the needs of subway riders.
What this means: de Blasio wants Cuomo to return $450 million taken from the MTA for the state’s general fund in 2011 and offer an ETA on how and when the $1 billion promised during his emergency declaration will be available.
“It’s time for the MTA to level with its New York City riders,” de Blasio concluded.
Lhota, who is will soon release a 30-day review of the transit system per Cuomo’s state of emergency plan, told the New York Post that de Blasio’s “political posturing and photo ops are getting silly.”
“What we need right now is for leaders to step up and work together, not hastily thrown together press releases drafted to score cheap political points — New Yorkers deserve better,” Lhota said.