The New MTA Chief

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What will mass transit in New York look like in ten years? Chairman of the MTA, Jay Walder, talks about his vision for the future of the MTA.


Jay Walder

Comments [50]

Chad from NYC

Daily, there is an MTA bus that parks in a crosswalk at the corner of St. Clare and West 125th. Daily, I call 311 who tells me that they have to report it to the police. Daily, the police have done nothing.

Today, I even saw a cop near the of NYPD's elite...who informed me, "Hey, it's the MTA. They can park where they want."

Since when? When did they become accountable to no one? It is a pedestrian cross-walk, not a "stop and snooze" zone.

I'm seeing something, and I'm saying something.

Too bad it seems that the MTA (and now the NYPD) have deaf ears.

Oct. 27 2009 02:43 PM
ileen from manhattan

Who cares about oyster cards? I lived in London 23 years ago, and way back then there were LCD signs that told riders how many minutes until the next train would arrive. I don't need 21st century London Underground technology for the MTA. I'll settle for 1980s technology!

Oct. 27 2009 02:24 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Another thought on strollers on the subway… Please, please, please follow the rules and carry your child or make them (yes, make them… they are the child and you are the parent) walk and fold the stroller. I know a couple who dropped their child down the stairs.
The strapped in baby was fine, better than the parents after, but this could happen to you.

Oct. 27 2009 01:12 PM
hjs from 11211

those mega stroller way over the top. they are like the hummers of the subway! i want to yell why do u need all that stuff

Oct. 27 2009 12:51 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

#43 (Londoner),
The problem with strollers is a virtual non issue, if one uses the stroller solely to transport the child. Strollers are supposed to be collapsed and the infant carried in the subway system. This is a system rule. Not using the stroller as a shopping cart and coffee caddy, or using a bassinet instead of a collapsible stroller. As for toddlers… it is a little frustrating being on a crowded rush hour train with a fully unfolded mega stroller and a toddler that insist on standing or sitting in a seat and not the open stroller. Please follow the subway rules.
Having a functioning elevator or escalator, if one at all, is a luxury in the NYC metro system.
And on cost… the Tube may be 6 BP but the Parisian Metro is 1.60 Euro… or about $2.40 and that system is clean, frequent, has countdown timers in every station, uses tickets and tap cards, is quieter, and is just as old as the subway. (is isn't 24 hr, though :( )

Oct. 27 2009 12:43 PM
catherine a londoner living in clinton hill

I might add that even getting into the Subway with a stroller needs to be addressed. Due to the increased number of empty booths, I often have to swipe my card and open the emergency exit door from the inside, leaving my son on his own outside whilst I do this. This sets off the extremely loud alarm which causes distress to a four month old's ears. Even where there is an attendant, they are often busy dealing with other customers... This is insane. I shouldn't have to risk his safety! Again, in London, there is ALWAYS a staff member working the special entry gate, even at the most remote of stations. It would be great to get this basic requirement seen to!

Oct. 27 2009 12:28 PM
hjs from 11211

Philipp from Queens
you get what u pay for!

Oct. 27 2009 12:25 PM
catherine a londoner living in clinton hill

Having just become a mother, I find it shocking just how difficult it is to get my son in his stroller around on the subway. At major hubs, like Union Sqaure, there are elevators. But at many Manhattan stops including mini satellite centers like 86th street, there is nothing but flights of stairs.
In London, strollers can be loaded onto the escalator, so one is almost never left in a situation where you have to ask a stranger for help. I would love to see improved facilities for strollers and I can't begin to imagine how hard it must be for physically disabled people using the subway.

Oct. 27 2009 12:20 PM
Giuseppe Castellacci from Manhattan

In regards to the plethora service advisory information that overwhelms
riders on weekends, Jay H. Walder did not mention a very useful tool that
helps reduce the confusion (if you know your trip point to point and have
internet access, of course):

Let me suggest that this be more prominently displayed on their home page:

Oct. 27 2009 11:42 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

#23, The problem with your suggestion of a zoned system is the people who live those “40 stops” away already pay more, as a portion of their weekly wage, to commute than those who likely go only 5 or 6 stops. Increasing the fair on people who live furthest away from where they work (dishwashers, maids, and construction workers) is highly regressive. What would the city be like if the people who service those living in service rich areas and already can’t afford their rent, can’t afford to commute either? And please don’t say tax benefits or subsidies… that’s an even bigger waste of money.
This new card business sounds like expensive window dressing.

Oct. 27 2009 11:31 AM
Tommy Kim from Brooklyn

Will NYC ever use double-decker buses like those in London? The buses are overcrowded and many people stand, making it difficult to enter and exit.


Oct. 27 2009 11:27 AM

People! Yes, the Tube is cleaner, nicer, faster, etc etc than the subway. However, it is MUCCH more expensive. Would you be willing to pay hundreds of dollars a month for an unlimited card for the standards offered by the Tube?

Oct. 27 2009 11:27 AM
Jean Porterfield from Bronx

What about rear door entrance/payment system for buses? this will allow for faster boarding.

Oct. 27 2009 11:26 AM
Philipp from Queens

Is anyone aware that this gentlemen was part of a system (the London tube) where one cash payed trip costs 6 pounds? That is more than $6.50!

Oct. 27 2009 11:25 AM
Jean Porterfield from Riverdale, Bronx, NY

Will the new metro cards allow for rear door entry onto buses? This would allow for even faster boarding onto buses.

Oct. 27 2009 11:25 AM
Philip from Bronx

When people refer to zone pricing, so they mean charging more for coming from further distances. If so, this wont work since many poorer people live further in the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn.

If it means to pay more in midtown, how will it affect people who commute into midtown from the outer boroughs or through it to get to lower manhattan?

Oct. 27 2009 11:22 AM
Nick from manhattan

re: foot traffic "jams" on buses and turnstiles...

1) Dont let people exit through the front doors of buses !(except the elderly )--this slows down service ENORMOUSLY

2) implement "one way turnstiles"--in busy stations--make some turnstiles entrance only and others exit only to accommodate foot traffic flow--current system results in "showdowns" --if you're going against the flow you must force your way in.

Oct. 27 2009 11:21 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

And I agree with post #4 on the largely empty E,F,V,W trains in lower Manhattan. I see, sometimes two or three nearly empty W trains go by before a R comes. Why have so many empty trains dead ending into lower Manhattan? It is a total waste.

Oct. 27 2009 11:21 AM
Gail Enid Zimmer from Fair Lawn, New Jersey

In addition to examining London's system, take a look at South Korea's public transportation system. Most people riding on local buses had cards that they tapped quickly to pay their fares, and each time a recorded message thanked them! There were also digital announcements at bus shelters at major stops alerting you to which bus was approaching and telling you when it would arrive. As a disabled person, I was also impressed with all the elevators available at stations of the Busan and Seoul subway systems.

Oct. 27 2009 11:20 AM
Scott_A from Astoria

One of the downsides of systems like Atlanta's Marta is that you can't swipe a card twice to pay for your traveling partner/children. Everybody has to have their own card, which is ridiculous. Please make sure any new card system doesn't have this flaw.

(I'm taking about the plain cash equivalent card, obviously not the unlimited ride cards)

Oct. 27 2009 11:20 AM
Joe Jackson from Lower East Side

I'm a Londoner now living in New York and I have to say the Tube beats the subway hands down. In London, you never have to wait the lengthy amount of time you do for a train here. It's cleaner, brighter and cheerier with better information to passengers, friendlier staff... I could go on... and on...

Oct. 27 2009 11:20 AM
david gellman from Bronx

Why can't I get a copy of my LOCAL bus schedule - PDF or WORD. While bus service is fairly frequent at commuter hours, there can be a 20-60 scheduled interval between bus arrivals at other times. I know that there are general bus schedules that are distributed, butthey are not very useful for planning. Why can't I print out the exact schedule that is posted at my local stop so I can plan accordingly and not just guess and wait?

Also, (Maybe a MetroNorth/LIRR issue): Why can't I buy CityTickets in advance and stick them in my wallet, rather than ONLY on day of travel - you'd have my money for 1 day to 4-6 months!

Oct. 27 2009 11:19 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Does the new chair consider the gold standard, or the only standard?

The Parisian system has aspects that seem leaps and bounds above that of NYC.
Stations have extremely simple, easy to understand, and ALWAYS ON indications of when the next and following trains will arrive (always on instead of switching to messages or the time). The countdown clocks are on every platform.
Line schedule changes are posted in every car of the affected line during the schedule change.
Can relatively (or seemingly) simple changes like these be implemented?

Oct. 27 2009 11:17 AM

Instead of using money on a slick way of telling people that the train is late, why not spend it on making it not late?

Improve the trains and tracks. Then worry about special services.

Oct. 27 2009 11:17 AM
keithp from NYC

What about accommodating bicycles? In some countries, they have racks on the fronts of busses,so commuters can ride their bikes to the bus stop, put the bike on the rack, and ride the bus. It's a great system!

Oct. 27 2009 11:16 AM
Michael Silber from Brooklyn, New York

I find that one of the biggest problems with the MTA is the outdated, inaccurate, and difficult to navigate website.

Delays and service changes are much more tolerable if people are able to anticipate them.

The MTA should also integrate a hop-stop type system for customers to plan their routes and estimate travel time.

Please, please, please... modernize the MTA website.

Oct. 27 2009 11:16 AM
Ben from Brooklyn

It sounds like a major issue in keeping buses moving is getting people to board quickly.

So why not move towards something I've experienced in EVERY major international city I've visited -- have people use the back doors for leaving a bus and the front door for getting on!?!?

Countless times I've watched ten people get out the front door before people can get on. It is a HUGE time waste.

Granted, NYC is a much more "audience participation" system than other cities -- people hold subway doors, etc. It isn't certain that EVERYONE will get off the back even if they are asked nicely.

But the MTA could AT LEAST ask. Why not have an announcement played or spoken by the driver saying "please use the rer doors only for departing the bus." How hard would that be? It would also keep people moving to the back, instead of blocking those who are trying to board.


Oct. 27 2009 11:16 AM
Laura from Rye, NY

I have been lucky enought to live in both NYC and London and have never understood why in NY we do not have a zone system for fares as they do in London. It seems crazy to me you have to pay $2.50 to go five stops for 40 stops and unfair to the balance of riders.

Would he consider such a system in NY.

Oct. 27 2009 11:16 AM
chris from washington heights

what i don't understand is why you're talking about these "developments" in london as though they're new, or even new-ish. the oyster card has been in use and around for YEARS, as has their bus stop real-time system. nyc has had a long time to catch up to such developments, but the MTA doesn't appear to have been paying attention, until of course their own service got so deplorable that they couldn't ignore complaints any longer. having lived in DC, Berlin, and London, i can say the mass transit here in NYC is by far the worst i've experienced.

Oct. 27 2009 11:16 AM
Scott_A from Astoria

Has Oystercard been able to get a handle of locking down the security vulnerabilities inherently (nearly) present with using RFID?

Oct. 27 2009 11:16 AM
john from office

Brian, find some way to ridicule Bush in this segment also, please.

Oct. 27 2009 11:16 AM

I feel less safe & secure with the further removal of station agents. With terrorism threats, and crime in general, how do you justify it?

Oct. 27 2009 11:16 AM
Scott_A from Astoria

I have dozens of suggestions for improving the MTA/subway experience.

Will the MTA make a public suggestion board where people can share these ideas and gather feedback in an open way?

I want to be able to vote-up other people's ideas, rather than re-enter an identical idea.

Oct. 27 2009 11:14 AM
Robert from NYC

I agree, nothing liked to any of my bank accounts. I don't even bank online.

Oct. 27 2009 11:14 AM
JohnG from Manhattan

Will Mr. Wilder make upgrading the 100 year old signal system THE priority?
Oyster cards et al are great, but not if trains can not move because the signals are down.

Oct. 27 2009 11:14 AM
Noah from Brooklyn

How do you think we can best approaching expanding subway service to under serviced areas?

Oct. 27 2009 11:13 AM
Peter C from Paramus

Will the implementation of the Oyster card bring on variable pricing on the mass transit system (based either on the hour/day of travel or the distance travelled)?

Oct. 27 2009 11:12 AM
Dave from Manhattan

Great to get people on buses more quickly, but start with getting the buses within 20 minutes of their schedules (and schedules posted at every stop). If you can get the M11 on time, I have water I'd love turned to wine.

Oct. 27 2009 11:12 AM

Also, can you as him why the tube can't run all night? Ridiculous.

Oct. 27 2009 11:11 AM

A newer technology for cards is just a convenience. (And for what it's worth, the smart cards in DC are a big pain.) How will this expenditure make for better train service? And will it mean raising the fee for a single ride to $6.50, the equivalent of London's 4-pound single ride fee?

Countdowns: again, this is a convenience. It does not make the trains better or safer or faster. Just less frustrating.

Oct. 27 2009 11:10 AM
Tonky from Brooklyn

I'm not sure how similar London and NY's transit systems are. Does London's tube run 24 hours a day?

How about getting bike racks on Buses rather than spend millions on fancy new cards?

Metrocards work fine.

Oct. 27 2009 11:10 AM
Suki from Williamsburg

The tube could take a few cues from the NY subway system. There would be quite a few less drunken brawls if the tube ran 24 hours a day.

Oct. 27 2009 11:10 AM
Robert from NYC

I fully support Mr. Walders policies and ideas. Welcome to MTA... so far. (I've been burnt before thought I'd cove my butt this time. After all I did vote for Obama!!!)

Oct. 27 2009 11:09 AM
Suki from Williamsburg

I like the Oyster card but DO NOT tell me you are going to turn the subway system into a zone-based system as in London.

Oct. 27 2009 11:09 AM

I used to live in London. Yes, the Oyster cards are great. However, is it worth raising the price of subway service to that of London's? It is 4 pounds + to get around underground there one way.

Oct. 27 2009 11:08 AM
Naomi from park Slope

As a resident of Park Slope I would like to know how we can get bus service into Manhattan? We have no express buses, but if the Flatbush Ave bus could continue over the Manhattan bridge into Manhattan it would be a great help. The subway is hard on older people and a bus ption would be great.

Oct. 27 2009 11:07 AM
jack from brooklyn

Can you please tell me why I will see as many as 5 south e trains go by at 14 and 8th ave station before a c shows up?

Seems a waste of resources since they are largely empty below 34th street. and why can't the mta create a hyrbrid c/e. i.e. maintain some E's and some C's and then a c/e that goes from lefferts to queens.

Oct. 27 2009 11:06 AM
Sabrina from Manhattan

Forget 10 years - how FAST will he stop the inhumane screeching of the trains????

Oct. 27 2009 11:04 AM

How does public opinion of the MTA here differ from the public opinion of the Underground in London?

Oct. 27 2009 10:11 AM
David Hunter from Kensington, Bklyn

In a NY Times (City Room) article published on Oct 9th, Michael Grynbaum detailed the findings of a 25-page report recently issued by the MTA about poor service conditions & systemic problems on the F line. In this report, New York City Transit officials, identified a long list of needed improvements, inlcuding re-establishing express service on the Brooklyn portion of the line.

Has Chairman Walder read this report and, if so, which of the recommendations will the MTA implement and when? (I would also like to invite Chairman Walder to ride the F train to/from Brooklyn during rush hours, to experience the F train in all of its glory.)

Below is a link to the NY Time article and the MTA's report. Thanks.

Oct. 27 2009 09:24 AM

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