Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

MTA

MTA

  • honor essential

    Nurses and other essential workers need public transit (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    I am a lifelong New Yorker and public transit rider. In March, when so many of my friends, family, and neighbors stopped commuting, I kept traveling to work. I depend on a bus and two subways to get from my Queens home to the East Side of Manhattan hospital where I’m a pharmacist. 

    Like most people, I had never heard of “essential workers” before COVID-19. Everyone I knew got up and went to work regardless of what job they had. And thankfully, many I know

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  • de Blasio city bus

    De Blasio rides the bus (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    As the coronavirus public health crisis waned and New York City headed toward entering the first phase of “reopening” its economy after the government-ordered near-shutdown, Mayor Bill de Blasio was under increasing pressure to develop transit plans to help New Yorkers returning to work get around by various and safe means. This was especially true regarding buses.

    While the city’s subways and buses are run by the state-controlled MTA, de Blasio does have significant sway over the bus system

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  • intervale ave bx

    Mayor de Blasio rides the bus (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    New York City is set to begin a phased “reopening” on Monday, June 8, as indicators show significant progress in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. But as many New Yorkers start heading back to work, Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered no solutions to balance city residents’ need for transportation, maintaining public health by preventing new coronavirus infections, and preventing all-out gridlock if too many New Yorkers turn to cars.

    About 5.4 million people rode the New York City subway

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  • gov tours cars

    Governor Cuomo discusses subways during coronavirus (photo: governor's office)


    The MTA’s recent institution of overnight closure of the subways has attracted a tremendous amount of attention and criticism from advocates for homeless people and many transit advocates. MTA Chair Pat Foye has sought to reassure critics by emphasizing that it is a temporary measure that will end when the pandemic emergency is over. The closure seems to be an attempt to assure transit workers that the MTA is taking their safety seriously and the public that the trains are safe and will not become de

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  • 1 mbd rides cityhall

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Two months after Mayor Bill de Blasio made his nominations for two empty seats on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board, Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to send those nominations to the State Senate for its approval. The inaction continues to leave half of de Blasio’s four seats empty as the Board makes major decisions impacting virtually everyone who lives or works in New York City.

    The MTA Board is composed of 17 voting members, whose decisions have broad impacts on the

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  • cuomo train tunnel MTA subway shutdown

    Gov. Cuomo should close the subways, the author writes (photo: Governor's Office)


    New York City is the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the United States. State and city authorities are pleading with residents to stay home, shelter in place, and maintain distance from fellow New Yorkers to slow the wave of cases crashing into the city’s healthcare facilities.

    Yet, public transportation was running on the standard weekday schedule as of Monday morning. With subway ridership down ridership down 87%, the...

  • mta subway vintage

    Subway ridership has plunged during the coronavirus outbreak (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA NYCT)


    Patrick Foye, the chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and therefore the leader of the city’s subway and bus systems, sent a letter to the local Congressional delegation on March 17 stating that the MTA faced financial calamity and seeking $4 billion in federal aid.

    The MTA’s

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  • mta purchased access

    (photo: Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)


    Although accessibility is a hot topic of late, is government truly willing to partner in the multifaceted effort required to increase positive outcomes and general quality of life for our city’s residents and visitors with disabilities?

    People seem to enjoy theorizing about its necessity and how long overdue universal design has been, but once the discussion reaches implementation, the ideals suddenly are not as indispensable as they once were.

    I am a Brooklyn-based blind

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  • mta president byford

    (photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)


    There will never be another MTA New York City Transit President with the power Andy Byford had when he took the job two years ago. Under Governor Cuomo’s MTA reorganization plan, all future NYCT “Presidents” have been stripped of the power to manage capital projects like replacing signals and switches or buying new rail cars and buses. The next boss of Transit also lost control of a large number of engineering experts and legions of Transit Authority workers who are reimbursed for their time on

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  • mta cuomo arrival

    (photo: Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)


    Is the MTA’s plan to redesign the Queens bus network an improvement, or will it further destroy the bus system? 

    The MTA released its Draft Queens Bus Network Redesign on December 30. Queens voices have protested the plan from Woodside to ...

  • mta aar residents

    (photo: MTA)


    There is a reason why Access-A-Ride is better known as “Stress-A-Ride” for the approximately 170,000 New Yorkers who depend on it. 

    The bill for Access-A-Ride will hit $616 million this year and the MTA is seeking additional funding from the City of New York. It’s mind-boggling to think this service can cost the cash-strapped agency so much for such low-quality service. That’s why before anyone kicks in additional funding, the MTA must fundamentally transform the way it runs its paratransit program and bring it into the 21st century.

    New

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  • mta priority bus

    (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit)


    In the year since I wrote “Designing Bus Routes to Attract Passengers and Reverse Declining Ridership,” the MTA announced the results for the Staten Island Express Bus Redesign, completed a Bronx study, and began studies of the bus networks in Queens and Brooklyn.  

    These studies make incorrect generalizations resulting in formulas attempting to correct problems. It is not

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  • whats the data point


    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 85 -- 275, with MTA Board Member Veronica Vanterpool [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    veronica vanterpool 150Veronica Vanterpool, an outgoing MTA Board member appointed by Mayor de Blasio, joined the podcast to discuss her work in transit advocacy and on the MTA Board, key MTA-related

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  • fulton wt

    (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Last month, two videos of incidents in Brooklyn emerged on social media that led to a public furor over policing in the city’s subway system. In one, several police officers aimed their guns at an unarmed young black man (and many fellow passengers nearby) and then aggressively arrested him despite him having shown no indication of resistance. In the second, an officer could be seen punching black teenagers in the face as other officers attempted to bring a stop to a brawl in a subway station.

    Those incidents were widely seen as a

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  • cops subways nypdnews

    (photo: NYPD)


    The MTA’s crackdown on fare evasion and homelessness in the city’s subway system, at the behest of Governor Andrew Cuomo and with support from Mayor Bill de Blasio, is facing a chorus of criticism over the criminalization of poverty and targeting largely of New Yorkers of color. Rather than a police response, these issues can be better handled by stronger safety net programs, including discounted Metrocards, and outreach from social workers, some critics say, while others also point out the MTA is in no fiscal position to hire the planned 500 new

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  • mta phase 14

    (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit)


    The New York City Transit and Bus Committee of the MTA Board reported at its October 2019 meeting that weekday ridership of the subway grew 1.4% in September of this year compared to last, and that there have been four straight months of subway ridership gains. The MTA put out a gushing October press releasethat subway weekday ridership this September was up 4.5% over

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  • mtapd grad

    (photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin)


    MTA Chair and CEO Pat Foye says the transit authority’s operating budget is in “dire” condition and independent budget watchdogs are alarmed its deficit is growing to unmanageable levels. Citizens Budget Commission estimates the MTA will be $740 million in the red in 2023 -- and this does not include new debt payments for the new, massive $51.5+ billion 2020-2024 capital plan. Separately, NYPD data shows subway crime is down 3% from

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  • 23 mta 600

    (photo: Patrick J. Cashin/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)


    September 25, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The MTA's New $52 Billion Plan to Save the Subways & More

    nicole gelinas wbaiThe MTA Board just passed a new five-year, $51.5 billion capital plan largely aimed at upgrading the New York City subways. Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute joined the show to discuss the new capital

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  • gov mta transit

    (photo: Don Pollard/Governor's Office)


    On Monday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) released an 11-page slideshow “overview” partially summarizing the details of its nearly $55 billion 2020-2024 capital plan. The unveiling seemed like Christmas morning - according to MTA CEO/Chair Pat Foye, the plan will sell itself. Everyone will get the pony that they asked for. NYCT President Andy Byford was “ecstatically happy” and elected

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  • govcuomoprogre

    (photo: the governor's office)


    MTA officials acknowledged at their June 2019 board meetings that the agency is borrowing money to be repaid through a New York State law that promised to have the State of New York provide the MTA $7.3 billion once the authority had exhausted its own funds on spending for the current five-year capital program.

    The 2016 state law was merely an “IOU," there had been no specific source of funds identified for how the state would pay the money, nor has there been any plan developed since enactment in the state budget that

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  • subway construction

    (photo: City Council)


    If City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, like-minded lawmakers, and a chorus of transit advocates get their way, New York City will become far less dominated by cars over the next few years.

    Talk of “breaking car culture” by increasing options and protections for bikes, buses, and pedestrians

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  • mta bus electric

    (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit)


    One of the most frustrating things about local New York City politics is that many people who believe in progressive ideas on the national stage do an about-face when it comes to progressive change on the local level, often when that change might actually touch their day-to-day lives in some way.

    This phenomenon has been captured perfectly by the current debate around the 14th Street busway -- a pilot program approved by the mayor, which would prioritize public transit and trucks over private cars on one of the

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  • speaker cojo

    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    July 17, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Transit Organizing & the Future of the MTA

    john raskin wbaiJohn Raskin, founder and executive director of Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group, joined the show to discuss his organizing work over the past seven years and the future of the MTA as he plans to depart the nonprofit after several major wins, including

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  • govcuomo 96th

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    I just returned to New York City from a month in Paris, where my husband was doing legal work. A regular public transit user at home, I was the same in Paris, making use of its Metro system. But because I did not inform myself of all the rules, I violated one of them and had to pay a fine. The experience helped me think about the fare evasion challenge we’re dealing with in New York. 

    As in our subway system, there is one fare to travel throughout the city on the Paris Metro. I bought discounted “carnets”

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  • bx6 select bus inter ave

    Mayor de Blasio rides the bus (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    Elected officials, advocates, and especially riders agree: the city’s bus system is broken.

    That consensus was reached in recent years as bus speeds slowed to a crawl and the system hemorrhaged ridership. Various advocacy groups and elected officials have put forth studies and plans, and the entities with actual control -- the state-run Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the New York City Mayor’s Office -- have taken steps toward improving the situation, though

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