Almost two weeks ago, we first met Elliot “Lee” Sander, the new MTA chief. Sander has stayed in the news since taking over the reins of the MTA, and this week, he is saying all the right things. Labor relations, service improvements and aesthetic changes are all high on his to-do list.
New York 1 caught up Sander to discuss his plans:
[Sander] says he’ll tackle overcrowding on certain transit lines, and he’ll make it a priority to change inaudible announcements into something more understandable on the subway PA systems.
He also says he’s put together a panel to examine labor relations and plans to bring in new management.
Already, Sander has been quick to act on one of his goals. He had lunch with Roger Toussaint at the Old Homestead this week. Toussaint, the somewhat embattled head of the transit workers union, came away pleased from this lunch, The Times reported.
“We discussed the relations between the T.W.U. and the M.T.A. and how to move the relationship to a better place. It was a very constructive conversation,” Toussaint said to reporter William Neuman.
In terms of his second goal, I would suggest that Sander find a way to free up some money for more trains. Nothing solves overcrowding that frequent service along perennial crowded lines, such as the L.
Meanwhile, a Representative Anthony Weiner issued a call for bomb-proof trash cans similar to the ones in the D.C. Metro to be installed in the subways, Sander also pledged to examine security in the subways. As the MTA examines the trash cans to make sure they work in the smaller enclosed spaces of the New York subways (as opposed to the cavernous D.C. stations), Sander noted that the MTA will work with the TWU to train subway workers as first responders in case of emergency or terrorist attack.
All in all, it’s a good start for someone who will play a big role in setting subway policy over the next few years.