Amid aggravated New Yorkers, a state of emergency and a tug-of-war between City Hall and Albany, the MTA on Tuesday revealed its action plan for fixing its 113-year-old subway system.
Phase I of the two-part plan unveiled by agency Chairman Joe Lhota will start immediately and “attack” 79 percent of the common causes of subway incidents like delays and derailments, with visible improvements seen within one year.
The five-point Phase I includes signal and track maintenance, car reliability, system safety and cleanliness, customer communications and critical management group. Phase II, which will focus on enhanced subway cars, new signals and modernizing communications, will be detailed in the near future.
“New Yorkers are rightfully frustrated with the current state of the subways, and their demands for better service have been heard,” Lhota said. “We are committed to earning back their trust by implementing solutions that will enhance the customer experience in the short- and long-term.”
John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance, called the plan the “first breath of relief” for city straphangers, “if the money is actually there to make it happen. The outstanding question is: Will Gov. Cuomo come up with a fair and sustainable funding source to ensure that the MTA can actually follow through on these plans?”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who released his own MTA wishlist on Monday, commended Lhota’s plan at a press conference.
“We need change, and we need it quickly. I’m encouraged by Chairman Lhota’s plan. Today was a step in the right direction,” he said, vowing that the NYPD, FDNY and Department of Homeless Services “stand ready to help the MTA.”
Today's MTA plan is a step in the right direction. I'm live to talk about how we can help strap hangers. https://t.co/ntnvGLApzu— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 25, 2017
What does the MTA’s plan entail exactly?
• Repair 1,300 problematic signals
• Clean 40K street grates to divert water and eliminate clogged drains
• Dispatch teams to target stations with frequent incidents
• Cut response time to track, power and signal issues from 45 minutes to 15 by tripling manpower
• Expand from 950 to 1,000 subway cars to increase reliability
• Add an extra maintenance and repair shift
• Prioritize door inspection and repair, which causes 40 percent of breakdowns
• Add cars to trains whose platforms can accommodate longer trains, such as the C line
• Adding upgrades to train interiors as part of regular maintenance
• Increase station cleaning by 30 percent
• Expedite faster elevator and escalator repairs
• Urging the NYPD to up presence to deter harassment, sexual harassment, aggressive panhandling and littering
• Double number of stations with EMT staff
• Revamp customer communications and launch a new MTA app
• Accelerate system-wide installation of countdown clocks
• Rebuild management and operations