The MTA is in crisis. Two derailments in the last month, track fires and never-ending delays across the entire system have had city and state officials quibbling over whose fault it is without any relief for actual subway riders.
Well now, Curbed NY reports that MTA chairman Joe Lhota has revealed a huge plan for making our commutes more tolerable. The portion of the plan most relevant to Bushwick is the surprising solution to alleviate overcrowding on the L train: removing seats on some cars so that people have more room.
The seat re-configurations would be piloted on the L train and the Times Square Shuttle since Lhota says that the MTA is “not doing this citywide yet; [they] want to understand the best way to reconfigure our cars.”
Other improvements would include cleaning the drains more often to prevent flooding and debris buildup; cleaning stations to prevent track fires; keeping the car repair shop open 24/7; and fixing the 1,300 signals that are in danger of breaking down (mostly in Manhattan).
Some of the action items are no-brainers that have us scratching our heads and asking ourselves why the MTA hadn’t implemented these programs ages ago before the problems snowballed.
But before we get too excited about any of these improvements, the timeline is uncertain because the entire project is underfunded. While New York state has committed to paying for half of the $836 million needed to implement the entire 30 point action plan, the MTA has gone to the city for help financing the rest. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said in the past that the MTA has all of the money it needs and that it is the state’s responsibility to effective fund the organization.
You can watch Lhota’s entire press conference here: