Friday, July 04, 2008

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Public Transportion in NYC Getting Worse

Every time the fares go up, the service goes down. This seems to be a recurrent theme whenever the transit services raise their fares.

Several months ago, the fares on the NYC subway system went up. So did the fares on the PATH trains. Travel on both of these services, and transferring from one to the other, have since gotten much worse.

On the subways, for example, the E and F trains in Queens now run slower than ever during rush hour, and there are regular mishaps. The local R and V service actually sometimes get from Continental Avenue to Queens Plaza faster than the E express. Audio announcements are fewer and are again at times unintelligible.

The PATH trains have had many many delays and mishaps since the fare increase.

The transfer between the two services at the World Trade Center location is a story unto itself. The underground transfer between the E, for example, and the PATH train survived the 9/11 attack but was clearly in need of some repairs as there were constant water leaks. So PATH built a new entrance and closed down the old one. But no one at the MTA/NYC Transit or at PATH seemed to have thought the changes through very well. On day one several months ago, shortly after the fare increases, the old entrances that could accommodate the hundreds of thousands of commuters transferring between the two services or simply entering or leaving the World Trade Center area, were closed. Instead, these hundreds of thousands of commuters were directed to/from the E train via one (yes I said one) very narrow staircase that could barely accommodate one way commuter traffic, let alone two-way for hundreds of thousands of commuters. Then, all who were going toward the PATH train or toward the subway (opposite directions) were relegated to one enclosed street where construction was also going on, to get to/from the E and the PATH. What a nightmare.

The folks in charge of the MTA, NYC Transit, and PATH should all be replaced with people who think ahead and look at the ramifications of changes and then fix the problems before they become problems. And the poor service on both systems clearly do not warrant the fare increases already imposed or those threatened to be imposed in the near future. Instead, fares should be rolled back and a thorough investigation launched into the clear mismanagement of both services. Where is all that fare money going? It clearly isn't going into service improvements or to people with common sense to avoid such nightmares. And where has the asleep-at-the-wheel press been? I haven't seen any articles about this.

Richard Kuper
The Op Ed Page