2017-08-02 / Editorials

Keep It Moving

To address an already sore subject – the subway – we are very disappointed that the system has been allowed to deteriorate to emergency conditions. While we do applaud the stated goals for rescuing mass transit for the entire city.

The question is, HOW will this all be achieved? We do realize funds are not infinite, though ridership appears to be. We are all for properly funding this mammoth system that keeps the city alive. We should get state funding after Governor Cuomo declared an emergency and brought Lhota back. No half measures – you brought the man in, back him up. How much does New York City pay in state taxes? Probably more than the entire rest of the state put together. Cuomo is also trying to get federal funding and we hope he succeeds. Again, we deserve it, as New York pays a huge share of federal taxes as well. Don’t kill the Golden Goose in the process of earning that tax money with a nightmare commute. Perhaps NYS Senator Michael Gianaris’ bill will help. At least consider it.

Wherever it comes from, the money must not be squandered foolishly. We would like to weigh in with some concerns about possible solutions.

One alarming suggestion was to remove seats from train cars to accommodate more passengers. We realize it was floated as an idea only for the crowded S shuttle and the L. We do not want MTA Chair Joe Lhota to even THINK of doing that. We are wary of such an idea spreading once it starts. Have you seen what the Japanese endure on their way to work every day? Let us have a little breathing space. And more importantly, there are people who struggle to get on the train. They may need to take the few seatless lines to get somewhere. We have actually seen people offer their seats to those who really need it, so do not remove those seats, and don’t tell those riders they can take the bus instead. The buses are a weak alternative, when they take two hours to go a few miles, due to traffic (not their fault); completely ignoring schedules.

Prioritize the countdown clocks and include notifications of alternative routes when the trains break down. It would be much easier to understand than rapid and mumbled audio announcements as they compete with the noise of oncoming trains and are interrupted by canned announcements. And if an alternative is closed for scheduled maintenance, put off the maintenance until the other train is back up and running.

We are glad to hear Lhota address the issue of sick passengers. Chances of one or more passengers out of the six million who ride each day getting sick are rather high. We see it in our email notifications daily. But it sounds like emergency personnel will be stationed at some stations, not all. Any blockage along a train line stops the whole show. Train subway personnel to safely escort them off the train and KEEP IT MOVING. Or if that is absolutely impossible, keep emergency equipment at every station, not some, and have EMS personnel on standby near every couple of stations, on bicycles if necessary, to get to those passengers and help them while awaiting ambulances. It is fairly ridiculous for the entire system to shut down every time a passenger gets sick. The same goes for police actions. The police are already all over the city.

Improve oversight. None of this will succeed if no one is supervising it.

Coordinate development with services. No development unless transportation, education, medical services etc. are in the process of expansion to accommodate the extra people.

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