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realizm

Ex-MTA CEO Jay Walder Forced To Leave Hong Kong's Transit Authority For "Poor Judgement" - Gothamist

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Three years ago, Jay Walder abruptly resigned as MTA Chairman and CEO, to lead Hong Kong's MTR mass transit system. Now, he's being forced to leave a year ahead of his planned exit date because of "poor judgment" over how he handled a very important high-speed rail project between Hong Kong and China.

Walder was nearly universally well-liked and respected by other leaders in NYC (except for the Transit Workers Union, natch) but received an offer of over $1 million in annual salary and bonus to be the chief executive of the MTR. He made $1.56 million in 2012.

Hong Kong's MTR, a private-public company, has traditionally been very profitable (for the first half of 2013, its profit was over half a billion US dollars)—and very serious about its first-class status. The September 2013 Wall Street Journal pointed out, "A subway system with a 99.9% on-time rate would be a source of pride in most cities. In famously efficient Hong Kong, it elicits an explanation from the director of operations: 'Zero delay is difficult to achieve on any railway system,' he said in a recent service update."

However, a series of unfortunate incidents followed: In December 2013, a train broke down on the Tseung Kwan O Line—passengers had to walk through the subway tracks and the system was shut down for five hours. Then, in February, the South China Morning Post reports, "faulty insulators on overheard wires caused seven hours of delays over two days on the East Rail Line." Finally, it was revealed that much-anticipated high-speed link between Guangzhou and Hong Kong would be two years late—totally normal for the MTA, but unacceptable to the MTR. From the WSJ:

The high-speed rail line will be the first to connect Hong Kong to mainland China but it failed to keep to its tight completion schedule as costs ballooned. The project is now expected to cost more than US$10 billion and could be delayed by two years to 2017. The project was hit by a growing series of problems, such as flooding caused by a big rainstorm that damaged a crucial tunnel-boring machine.

On Wednesday, MTR's independent nonexecutive directors said in a report that managers involved in the project did a poor job communicating information about the delays inside the company and to the public. The report also said that Mr. Walder, as the CEO, "should have exercised more critical judgment" in monitoring the progress of the express railway project given its importance to the government and the public.

After fallout from the delay of the high-speed rail, Walder said he'd step down at the end of 2015, but now he's leaving in August. MTR Chairman Raymond Chien Kuo-fung said, "We are not saying at all that Mr Walder is not competent to handle the CEO duties"

 

Link: http://gothamist.com/2014/07/17/ex-mta_ceo_jay_walder_leaves_hong_k.php

Edited by realizm
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This article just goes to show how much slack and chances the (MTA) is given. This is how our subway system should run, and please don't start telling me about how old the system is... Blah, blah, blah EXCUSES, (MTA) EXCUSES. Standards are simply too low here and delays are accepted to be normal...

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Jay Walder pushed for the 2010 doomsday cuts which involved the laying off of dozens upon dozens of MTA personnel (and ridiculous reductions or phasing out altogether of essential bus and subway services) yet he refused to trim his own $350,000 dollar salary. Scumbag.

 

....Closing off 80 booths in the process. Then again Albany stole how much from the MTA to happen? The way I look at him: A tool for NYC transit biased assemblymen in NYS.

Edited by realizm

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In a way the MTA is running as such. Technically it is a public benefits corporation meaning that it relies heavily on fare collection revenue for operating expenses along with some state and federal funding. Christine Quinn during the elections proposed a city takeover but it brought sharp criticism from transit advocates who feared the system will crumble under city leadership. 

 

The reason the MTA was created in 1968 was to purchase the bankrupt LIRR which was privately run during that time, also rights to running the Triborough Bridge and tunnels.

 

The MTA can pay for at least 67% of its own operation expenses by advertising and real estate tax. Whether they are gaining a profit from the way the system is managed and financed is another story. Its only recently that that MTA is recovering from a monster deficit. In 2010, the MTA was $31 billion dollars in debt, which was reduced to $900 million for 2011. Many employees were laid off while we as commuters experienced fare hikes four times since 2008 and service cuts. Also there was controversy over the MTA having two set of books to hide mismanagement of money at agency level.

 

 All under Jay Walder's leadership.

 

Let me add that he knew the Triboro RX would not work, he cant tell Amtrak what to do in terms of the Hell's Gate Bridge. As it is the MTA is still wrangling with Amtrak over the same area for the MNRR Penn Station Access project, now slated for construction. So yeah not surprised at all he got the axe on this one.

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I was asking from the perspective that It would be nice if the MTA wasn't always in the hole and it could use surplus to improve and expand the system without constant cost overruns.

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I was asking from the perspective that It would be nice if the MTA wasn't always in the hole and it could use surplus to improve and expand the system without constant cost overruns.

 

Well that's what I mean. The MTA is dependent on state and federal funding for expansion projects as it has to handle operation costs on its own as if a private company. It was imagined that in 1968 we would have seen the QBL bypass, SAS, etc built. But everything went downhill from there with the fiscal crisis in 1975. We haven't really recovered from that recession because of the inflation that came along with the economy in general, causing skyrocketing price overruns. 

 

With any operator in general, the BMT and IRT, they were also eventually dependant on the city and state's funding historically for expansion projects. This is why the Dual Contracts were created and implemented, leased to both these private operators who were even given money by the City Of New York for post construction operation costs for two years.

 

As for the IND that was directly built and operated by the City Of New York, now thats a different story. The closest we can come to the leadership structure of the IND is the NYCTA and the MTA. However the MTA is considered a public benefits corporation, not a city agency such as the IND.

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