Of pigeons, uniforms and moneyBy
I hope this pigeon paid its $2-fare to board this train. (Photo by flickr user mortimer777)
It’s all about the money these days with the MTA. In light of what many perceive to be an unfair fare hike, critics and newspapers alike are concentrating more and more on the little things that impact the MTA economically.
Today, we have two stories that everyone will use to slam the MTA. Let’s start with pigeon poop. New York City Transit recently lost a lawsuit filed by a man who tripped and fell in a pile of pigeon droppings. He emerged seriously injured and, nearly 10 years after the original 1998 accident, won over $6 million from New York City Transit.
In the case, Shelton Stewart, the injured party, claimed that NYCT employees knew about the dangerous pile of droppings but did nothing to clean it up. This negligence has cost NYCT as much as $6 million, but the agency plans to appeal. Simcha Felder’s plan to eliminate pigeons looks all the more appealing.
Right now, other than following through with an appeal, there’s not much the MTA can do. On more than one occasion, local politicians have criticized the Authority for not keeping their stations pigeon-free, and now the problem has come home to roost. Live and learn is the lesson here. Maybe now, outdoor stations will get the cleaning attention they deserver.
The second story gives a little more to the critics. The MTA is spending $2.5 million on new uniform for station agents. Pete Donohue from The Daily News reports:
Over the past several months, 3,500 workers in the subway stations department have been trading in their traditional work outfits – blue shirts, blue pants – for a more formal look: white shirts and gray trousers, or skirts for the ladies working behind the glass.
The men get gray and black ties; female workers ascots. The new wardrobe also includes a burgundy vest, burgundy sweater and burgundy coat.
NYC Transit spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said the per-worker cost was approximately $738, and the total cost $2,583,245.
The workers are less-than-impressed with the new digs because the white shirts get dirty in the subways. But the Daily News seems more concerned with the cost outlays for the new uniforms. In reality, that $2.5 million isn’t much in the grand scheme of the MTA, and despite the big debate on Subchat, as a few commenters noted, the cost per person isn’t that unreasonable for a week’s worth of work clothing.
As it will be for some time, it’s all about the MTA’s money. Who knows how long this microscopic look at the MTA’s finances will last, but it sure gets tiresome early.