If you usually lament about your morning MTA commute on Twitter, you’ll now have a chance to use that online platform to speak to the NYC Transit president directly every month.
New York City Transit President Andy Byford hosted a Twitter Q&A on Thursday to hear directly from frustrated straphangers.
The online exchange is part of an ongoing effort to improve transparency and customer service, the MTA said, and will be a monthly occurrence. The first chat session was March 29 from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
To participate, riders tweeted out their questions within that time period using the hashtag #AskNYCT. Byford and NYC Transit’s new Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer responded live from the subway Rail Control Center using the @NYCTSubway Twitter handle.
“I think it’s important to have regular and direct contact with transit riders – that’s why I ride subways and buses everywhere and why I’m excited to do these chats,” Byford said in a statement. “Other members of my staff will be more engaged with customers than ever before by also participating in these chats.”
The MTA wanted the first chat to specifically focus on subways, but going forward Byford will take questions on any and all aspect of NYC Transit.
Next month’s session will center around buses and Access-A-Ride paratransit service, and future chats will feature other members of NYC Transit leadership.
Byford started at NYC Transit in January after five years as CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission. He held similar chat sessions to hear from riders while heading up that public transit system.
During the first-ever chat session, Twitter users asked questions about L train capacity, how the subway handles "sick passengers" who are often the cause of delays and even how conductors communicate. Here's a little of what MTA officials had to say.
Right now, we are running as many trains as we can on the L. The signal system does enable us to run more trains, but we need to first upgrade the power supply, and that will happen during the upcoming L line closure in 2019. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/1vIThdrmOK— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018
Medically qualified teams are stationed at a number of locations across the network. They are there to rapidly assess if it is safe to remove a sick passenger from the train. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/Rj6g8ahYnK— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018
The survey is just getting underway now. It will take two years to survey the whole system, but I intend to provide quarterly progress updates in public, to the Board. Accessibility is one of my four equal priorities. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/skH6Ybho3A— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018
Hi Nolan. There are a number of factors that influence the audibility of announcements. We are working to improve the technology and in parallel, my Chief Customer Officer @SarahMeyerNYC is training conductors to help them make excellent announcements. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/l7tWZxusT4— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018
I don't think it's a case of either or. Since day one, I've said that the most critical project is to completely resignal the subway, and I am pressing for funds to do just that. But accurate information is also needed, hence the clocks. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/VYZHHnPVzq— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018
Homelessness is a societal challenge. We are working with City and NYPD colleagues to get homeless people the help they need and to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness on the system. #AskNYCT ^AB https://t.co/5oMm6Ju70U— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) March 29, 2018