As MTA Gears up for Subway Action Plan,  City Council Calls for ‘Fair Fares’

As MTA Gears up for Subway Action Plan, City Council Calls for ‘Fair Fares’

Photo Courtesy of Don Pollard/Office of the Governor

MTA New York City Transit’s 207th Street Car Overhaul Shop in Manhattan.

By Michael V. Cusenza
Fresh off his State Budget victory, in which political rival Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City finally relented and agreed to foot half of $836 million bill for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Subway Action Plan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday toured MTA New York City Transit’s 207th Street Car Overhaul Shop in Manhattan with MTA Chairman Joe Lhota and announced a series of accelerated car repairs associated with the full funding of the plan.
The Overhaul shops in Manhattan and Coney Island, according to the Cuomo administration, will now fully rehabilitate more than 1,300 cars a year—nearly 40 percent more than previous years. Additionally, the full funding secured in the Fiscal Year 2019 State Budget will allow New York City Transit to significantly enhance the number of workers hired as part of the Subway Action Plan and allow the MTA’s car overhaul shops to be fully staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to Cuomo and Lhota, the car rehabilitation efforts include a focus on subway car doors – the most problematic element of the cars – which are the most likely to lead to delays. City subway car doors open and close seven million times a day across the system. The increased staffing at the shops will allow NYCT to continue to focus on the repair, replacement, and testing of key door components to stop car-related delays before they start, the governor noted.
The Subway Action Plan, unveiled by Lhota last summer, features two phases: Phase One, which began in July, targets a better customer experience through increased reliability and capacity, enhanced stations and safety, and clear and accurate communication; Phase Two will focus on modernizing the antiquated city subway system.
In other MTA news, the City Council on Tuesday featured the Fair Fares program in its FY 2019 Preliminary Budget Recommendations.
“The administration should fund a program to provide half-fare MetroCards to individuals and families living below the poverty level so that approximately 800,000 low-income people could save up to $726 per year,” Council leadership stated.
Last month, 35 Council members, including eight who represent Queens communities, sent a letter to Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Finance Committee Chairman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) affirming their support for a reduced transit fare program for New Yorkers below the poverty line.
“To be a truly progressive city, we should fund half-price MetroCards for New Yorkers living in poverty,” they wrote. “New York, which continues to face staggering levels of income inequality, cannot be the fairest city in America while hundreds of thousands of our neighbors have trouble accessing daily necessities because they cannot afford to take the bus or subway. Over the past year, Mayor de Blasio has evinced a clear understanding of the bar that full fares pose to so many New Yorkers’ participation in city life and struggle to rise out of poverty. We are confident, that where the Council leads, the mayor will follow and join us in weaving a vital new thread into our social safety net.”

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