Photo Courtesy of Marc Hermann/MTA New York City Transit
NYC Transit President Andy Byford (foreground) unveiled the sweeping “Fast Forward” plan at last week’s MTA Board meeting.
By Forum Staff
Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit recently unveiled its extensive plan to revolutionize every major aspect of the organization and its services, from subways to buses to accessibility to corporate culture.
Dubbed “Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit,” the 75-page blueprint focuses on four major priorities, according to NYC Transit President Andy Byford: transforming the subway, reimagining the city’s public bus network, improving accessibility for all modes, and engaging and empowering NYC Transit’s workforce to deliver the best service possible.
The plan was presented to the MTA Board last Wednesday. Highlights include:
• State-of-the-art signal and track infrastructure for optimum reliability, performance and safety: Within five years, the latest computerized signal and track infrastructure will be installed on five additional lines, so three million daily riders are on lines with Communications Based Train Control. Within 10 years, these benefits will cover a total of 11 additional lines, benefiting five million daily riders. This work will also require the refurbishment, replacement or upgrading of myriad supporting infrastructure and equipment such as power systems, shops and yards, and cars.
• Accelerated work towards a fully accessible subway system: Within five years, more than 50 new stations will be made accessible, ensuring that all subway riders will not be more than two stops away from an accessible station. Within 10 years, this will expand to a total of more than 130 additional stations, with the balance of all possible stations completed by 2034. Elevator and escalator maintenance and repairs are also being enhanced, Byford pledged.
• A state-of-the-art fleet of new subway cars and buses: Within five years, riders will be benefit from the reliability, performance and safety advantages of more than 650 new subway cars, more than 1,200 refurbished cars, and 2,800 new buses including 200 electric buses, provided that there will be industry capacity to meet the demands of such a large-scale design and manufacturing initiative. Within 10 years, the plan calls for another 3,000 new subway cars and 2,100 new buses, including 1,600 electric buses. Byford said that he has expressed a desire to achieve a fully electric bus fleet; NYC Transit will work with bus manufacturers, charging infrastructure manufacturers, power delivery utilities and municipal officials to achieve this goal in New York City.
• A completely redesigned bus route network: As noted in the NYCT Bus Plan released last month, the entire route network for local and express buses in the five boroughs is being re-evaluated and redesigned based on ridership patterns, road operating conditions and input from customers, route neighbors, advocates and others. The Fast Forward Plan calls for this work to be done within five years.
• Improving customer service and communication: The plan includes a new “Strategy and Customer Experience” division to ensure the interests of customers are considered in all decisions. Improvements include performance tracking dashboards, train and bus arrival info, wayfinders and roaming station agents. Within the next five years, screens will be installed in all stations and on more than 3,000 subway cars to provide real-time location-specific information, as well as a new mobile-friendly website and app launching this year. The quality assurance of public address systems in stations, on subway cars and on buses will be strengthened.
“The world’s greatest city needs world-class transit and this plan will deliver exactly that,” Byford added.