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Lack of capital funds for NYC transit a concern

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By KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press Writer

05/16/2009 11:35:15 AM PDT

 

 

NEW YORK—The screen above Ilga Bobilova's head in the Sixth Avenue subway station said there would be a train to Brooklyn in two minutes, followed by another in four minutes.

"I think it is helpful," Bobilova said. "You don't have to rush. You can see when there is a train coming."

The technology to tell riders when to expect a train is common in Europe and Asia and has long existed in U.S. transit systems such as California's BART, but it's in its infancy in New York.

And some New York officials fear that such upgrades could stall if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fails to get realistic funding for capital improvements. To install the screens throughout the century-old subway system's 468 stations will take an estimated 35 years, making it the kind of project that could be vulnerable without a commitment to long-term planning.

"If we ever want to get out of this constant increase in fares and subsidies we've got to make the investment," Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned earlier this month.

Bloomberg and others say they fear that without funding for capital improvements, the transit system could slide back into disrepair instead of expanding and modernizing.

"In the 1970s, we stopped investing in the MTA, and it had a devastating impact," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "We just cannot afford to make that mistake again."

Advocates cheered when the state Legislature passed a $2.26 billion bailout bill that will avert deep service cuts and 23 percent fare increases in the city's subway and bus system as well as suburban commuter trains.

But the deal hammered out by the Legislature left a gap that worries many onlookers: Funding is identified for only the first two years of the MTA's $30 billion five-year capital plan.

Under the plan, approved by the MTA's board last week, the base subway and bus fare will rise from $2 to $2.25, and the cost of a monthly pass will go from $81 to $89. Commuter rail fares will go up an average of 10 percent.

Facing a budget gap that it blamed on rising debt service costs and declining revenue from real estate taxes, the MTA was poised to raise fares by twice as much before the Legislature approved the bailout.

The $2.25 fare was seen as a reasonable compromise, though it won't last. Increases averaging 7.5 percent are anticipated for 2011 and 2013.

The transit system bottomed out during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s when subway trains broke down and were buried under graffiti.

Since then, the MTA has struggled not just to keep the trains running but to bring them into the 21st century, a unending task as different parts of the sprawling system break down at different times.

The authority now has two budgets, an operating budget for day-to-day expenses and a capital budget for big-ticket items such as new trains and buses and the long-planned Second Avenue subway line.

Some recent capital projects include the purchase of 1,100 fuel-efficient hybrid buses and the renovation of 36 subway stations in the last three years.

Charles Seaton, a spokesman for New York City Transit, the MTA agency that runs city subways and buses, said the lifespan of a subway car is 40 years but some cars still in service are pushing 45.

Those cars are clunkers compared to the newest in the fleet, the R160 cars with high-tech features like a liquid crystal display screen that constantly updates riders about the train's progress. The MTA has ordered 1,662 of them for $2.87 billion.

Equally striking is the contrast between just-renovated stations and dreary ones that are overdue for a makeover.

Renovated Bronx stations on the 2, 4 and 5 lines have stained glass windows worthy of Tiffany. The $527 million South Ferry station that opened in March at the tip of Manhattan features "See It Split, See It Change," a $1 million-plus art installation with silhouettes of trees and a mosaic map of Manhattan.

The electronic signs that tell riders how long their wait will be are so far only on the L line that runs from the West side of Manhattan at 14th Street through Brooklyn.

The future of that and other projects will depend on the MTA's ability to secure funding for them in a still shaky economy.

"It's very hard to plan without knowing how much capital resources you're going to have in the future," said Richard Ravitch, the former MTA chairman who headed a panel that drafted an earlier version of the bailout plan. "Over the long term without adequate investment the system starts down the slippery slope again."

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By KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press Writer

05/16/2009 11:35:15 AM PDT

 

 

NEW YORK—The screen above Ilga Bobilova's head in the Sixth Avenue subway station said there would be a train to Brooklyn in two minutes, followed by another in four minutes.

"I think it is helpful," Bobilova said. "You don't have to rush. You can see when there is a train coming."

IMHO, the MTA should stop this project and save their money. People never pay attention to the signs, I see it all the time, especially in Canarsie. The next train can be leaving in 5-10 minutes but people will still run for dear life for it.

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IMHO, the MTA should stop this project and save their money. People never pay attention to the signs, I see it all the time, especially in Canarsie. The next train can be leaving in 5-10 minutes but people will still run for dear life for it.

 

I have always felt the same way, if people used the subway for almost 60 years with out these signs why add them now?

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I have always felt the same way, if people used the subway for almost 60 years with out these signs why add them now?

 

Almost 60 years? Try 105 years, lol

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I have always felt the same way, if people used the subway for almost 60 years with out these signs why add them now?

Very good point. Our subway may be unpredictable and late, but at least it arrives.

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The signs as a project themselves are not extremely necessary, but are definitely useful. Either way, they depend on ATS and CBTC, both of which are important for our subway systems and should be funded for.

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Almost 60 years? Try 105 years, lol

 

The Canarsie Line is not 105 years old, but I know what your talking about. Hell PA systems did not come into use untill the R17s came to the IRT and people got around just fine then. I think people have become too lazy and want every thing handed to them.

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The Canarsie Line is not 105 years old, but I know what your talking about. Hell PA systems did not come into use untill the R17s came to the IRT and people got around just fine then. I think people have become too lazy and want every thing handed to them.

 

Agreed 100%. My favorite "entitlement" example is the people who buy tickets for, board, and then complain about the nostalgia trains because the cars "don't have air conditioning"

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It amazes me that so few people realize that not everyone else is you, and some people might find it useful to know how long they have to wait, some people enjoy knowing "oh ok so this won't happen and i can still do this" while waiting for a train.

 

I know that if i'm trying to make a train at newark, i'd like to know if i should hop on the (A) or (E) or (C) to get to canal st from somewhere uptown, then i can transfer to the (E), or walk/run to make it on time.

 

Not everyone who lives in the city uses the subway to get to places they need to go on time, but a mix of commuters and residents DO need the information to make their travels a bit more informed and predicable. If the thing reads 14 minutes ot next train, maybe i'll change my plans and go up to where there's cell service if its underground and be like "hey i'm not going to make it".

 

Think outside the box eh? :cool:

 

- A

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It amazes me that so few people realize that not everyone else is you, and some people might find it useful to know how long they have to wait, some people enjoy knowing "oh ok so this won't happen and i can still do this" while waiting for a train.

 

I know that if i'm trying to make a train at newark, i'd like to know if i should hop on the (A) or (E) or (C) to get to canal st from somewhere uptown, then i can transfer to the (E), or walk/run to make it on time.

 

Not everyone who lives in the city uses the subway to get to places they need to go on time, but a mix of commuters and residents DO need the information to make their travels a bit more informed and predicable. If the thing reads 14 minutes ot next train, maybe i'll change my plans and go up to where there's cell service if its underground and be like "hey i'm not going to make it".

 

Think outside the box eh? :cool:

 

- A

Stand at Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway during morning and evening rush hour and get back to me on how many people you saw actually pay attention to signs installed that tell people when the next train is about to leave versus how many just ran for the train for dear life without even looking at the sign. ;)

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It amazes me that so few people realize that not everyone else is you, and some people might find it useful to know how long they have to wait, some people enjoy knowing "oh ok so this won't happen and i can still do this" while waiting for a train.

 

 

Think outside the box eh? :cool:

 

- A

 

Who is this directed at, is it that wrong to voice an opinion that does not favor this? Plus, people got along just fine without all this stuff not even 10 years ago.

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The Canarsie Line is not 105 years old, but I know what your talking about. Hell PA systems did not come into use untill the R17s came to the IRT and people got around just fine then. I think people have become too lazy and want every thing handed to them.

 

Oh, I thought you were talking about the entire subway system. But a good portion of the Canarsie line was opened in 1906 making it 103 years old.

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Oh, I thought you were talking about the entire subway system. But a good portion of the Canarsie line was opened in 1906 making it 103 years old.

 

The last underground section opened in 1931, so that makes it about 80 or so. But I think this is a waste of money since it is not the most inportant line, how about they try this on the Lex Line or 7th Ave, those line could use something like this, but thats my opinion.

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The point is that every other transit system has something similar if not a printed timetable that actually runs on time. Even :septa: has station announcements when a train is running more than 12 minutes late.

 

It should not be a roll of the dice, it should be planned, informed, civilized.

 

I do have to say it's not the fault of the (MTA) or its predecessors that this isn't all ready implemented. The government took the freedom won by the lives of US and other allied soldiers and other people, and the railroads that delivered the vital goods, and gave it to the airlines and the car companies and shut out the rail related entities causing the social mentality of train/transit being a waste of $ why bother when we can just take the bus or drive or fly.

 

I know not everyone here agrees with my views on mass transportation, but if you knew my reasoning and mentality behind it i think you'd understand the logic and intent behind it.

 

If you're going to have rapid transit, have it be as good as it can be, not what we have now, the decaying stations and urine/vomit smelling cars with scratchitti and people who don't have enough info to not be making last second while the doors are closing decisions to get on/leave a train.

 

The (NYCT) Subway should be a model, an example to follow, right now it isn't, and yet fares go up and nothing really improves.

 

We as citizens of the world deserve clean safe efficient reliable mass and personal transportation which reduces conflicts and increases flexibility. Anything to make it better should be a priority.

 

- A

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The last underground section opened in 1931, so that makes it about 80 or so. But I think this is a waste of money since it is not the most inportant line, how about they try this on the Lex Line or 7th Ave, those line could use something like this, but thats my opinion.

 

Haha with ATS they already have the technology to do this...announcements can be and are made on the Lexington Avenue line. "Ladies and gentlemen there is an uptown 6 train approaching 33rd street" - this is done already! The only difference is it's not put up there on a pretty expensive monitor for people to look at - they actually have to pay attention to their surroundings to get the information they need ;)

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Haha with ATS they already have the technology to do this...announcements can be and are made on the Lexington Avenue line. "Ladies and gentlemen there is an uptown 6 train approaching 33rd street" - this is done already! The only difference is it's not put up there on a pretty expensive monitor for people to look at - they actually have to pay attention to their surroundings to get the information they need ;)

 

I think they are putting up screens. I have seen many LED displays go up all over the IRT but as of now they are all covered in sand bags. I'm glad this is being done, but it should have been done long before the (L), but that my opinion.

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Haha with ATS they already have the technology to do this...announcements can be and are made on the Lexington Avenue line. "Ladies and gentlemen there is an uptown 6 train approaching 33rd street" - this is done already! The only difference is it's not put up there on a pretty expensive monitor for people to look at - they actually have to pay attention to their surroundings to get the information they need ;)

 

That's a dedicated announcer sitting in Grand Central tower making those announcements while looking at the tower operator's board. ATS has nothing to do with it. Definately "old school" but it works.

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That's a dedicated announcer sitting in Grand Central tower making those announcements while looking at the tower operator's board. ATS has nothing to do with it. Definately "old school" but it works.

 

Definitely old school indeed. Interesting. I remember a conversation I had a while back with a T/O who said something about ATS being related to that but I guess it was just wrong information. Thanks for the correction.

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The last underground section opened in 1931, so that makes it about 80 or so. But I think this is a waste of money since it is not the most inportant line, how about they try this on the Lex Line or 7th Ave, those line could use something like this, but thats my opinion.

 

Yeah but that was only 1 station, 8th Avenue. The entire underground section besides the 8th Avenue station was opened in 1924. The above ground section opened in 1906. The majority of the line opened in 1906.

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Stand at Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway during morning and evening rush hour and get back to me on how many people you saw actually pay attention to signs installed that tell people when the next train is about to leave versus how many just ran for the train for dear life without even looking at the sign. ;)

Went there Friday with UrbanFortitude, Metatops, QM4JewelAve. That was afternoon, however I could picture clearly the morning scene, just by observing them. They seem to not give a crap about the signs. They just rush on to whatever train is there.

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Went there Friday with UrbanFortitude, Metatops, QM4JewelAve. That was afternoon, however I could picture clearly the morning scene, just by observing them. They seem to not give a crap about the signs. They just rush on to whatever train is there.

;):tup:

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he's right, it's 144 years old this coming oct 1865. lol:confused:;);)

 

The route yes, but as a subway no. How ever old it is, it does not really matter since my point was that people have been riding the subway and the trolley lines in NYC long before things such as PAs were around, why spend all this money on something people don't care about.

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The route yes, but as a subway no. How ever old it is, it does not really matter since my point was that people have been riding the subway and the trolley lines in NYC long before things such as PAs were around, why spend all this money on something people don't care about.

Wasn't it done around 1924? I meant, the subway.

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