It was the best of times and the worst of times for the MTA this afternoon. After fifteen months of delays and cost overruns, the new South Ferry terminal on the 1 line opened shortly after noon today. Twenty minutes later, a 140-year-old watermain near the Holland Tunnel broke, halting service south along the IRT to the new station. If that’s not a metaphor for this project, I don’t know what is.
Update 6:20 p.m.: This sad parable just got more depressing. The MTA’s website reports “ongoing signal problems” at South Ferry. The MTA had months to test the operational signals at South Ferry, and yet, on day one, there are problems. MTA fail indeed.
Update 11:30 p.m.: For the official word on the first new station to open in the subway system, check out the MTA press release. While we half-jokingly mock the transit authority about the delays and the unrelated water main break, opening up a new station and attempting to expand the system while combating other financial difficulties are laudable goals. At present, the MTA’s operating finances are in a sorry state, but those will improve in the future. When they do, the system should be a robust, far-reaching and modern one.
The station is also the first post-9/11 Lower Manhattan project to open, and the politicians speaking earlier today were quick to praise. “This station represents not only our joint city, state and federal commitment to rebuilding Lower Manhattan, but also our commitment to mass transit in New York State,” Gov. David Paterson said. “This station is vital to the residents, commuters and tourists who pass through it each day, by allowing for increased subway service, better connections and spurring economic growth in Lower Manhattan. I thank our Congressional delegation for pushing for this funding in Washington. Projects like the South Ferry Station keep New York’s mass transit system among the best in the world.”