MTA Chairman Jay Walder admitted yesterday that the MTA was asleep at the wheel during the late-December snowstorm — and vowed to run the system better today in the face of a possible foot or more of snow.
“In December, we were too slow in reacting to events as they happened,” Walder said yesterday. “We’re putting in some improvement to address vulnerabilities revealed by the blizzard.”
The MTA declared its highest-level Plan 4 emergency status yesterday before the snow started falling. Compare that with December, when officials waited until Sunday to initiate Plan 4 — well after the storm was under way.
As a precaution, most express trains will be running local for the morning commute today. That’s because the MTA moved many of its trains into underground tunnels after last night’s evening commute to protect them from the snow. Buses will likely operate on a reduced schedule this morning as well.
Depending upon the levels of snow on outside tracks, the MTA will also consider shutting down some lines or parts of some lines if the snow becomes too deep, said Walder.
“Service may be temporarily curtailed to avoid stuck trains or buses,” Walder warned.
Stranded? There’s a new plan
After the MTA was sued by riders who were stuck on an A train for nearly eight hours during the last blizzard, the transit agency has new plans in place.
“One of the lessons learned from the December 2010 storm is to have a customer advocate on hand if people are stuck on a train or a bus,” said NYC Transit president Tom Prendergast.
“We learned in the 2010 storm that a lot of control centers focus on moving trains, but that focus takes away from remembering you have a train trapped with hundreds of people on it — and hours go by.”
Subways at risk
Sections of open-air tracks are the most at risk to be closed. At-risk lines include:
A: in the Rockaways
B, Q: in Brooklyn
F: in Brooklyn
D: in Coney Island
5: in the Bronx
L: east of Myrtle