At an appearance before the press yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced 33 changes that he would like to see implemented by the MTA in upcoming months, a move that the New York Times is pegging as an “odd” first proposal in the Mayor’s campaign for re-election. The complete list of the mayor’s recommended improvements, which can be found on his campaign site, extend to railway, bus, and ferry services. Changes that affect subway service include the following:
- the institution of an F line express train
- the extension of V trains into Brooklyn
- the expansion of the countdown clocks currently installed in on the L line to other stations
- increased maintenance of subway stations
- the creation of an integrated New York transit Smart Card
- increased NYPD control of transit system security, with a reference to the installation of surveillance cameras in subway tunnels
- partnership with area business owners, similar to the old Adopt-A-Station program, to improve cleanliness around subway entrances
- the vague and questionable call for a “crack down on quality of life nuisances in subways and bus stations”
According to the AP, the MTA welcomed the mayor’s input, although the move is not without its critics. Although the mayor holds four of the seventeen votes on the MTA board, many wonder how much sway he can actually hold in the Authority’s operations. The New York Daily News points out that several of the mayor’s proposals “have been on the MTA’s drawing board for years.” Carly Lindauer, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg’s likely Democratic opponent, Controller William Thompson, called the announcement “more empty promises.” Thompson had already proposed one of the mayor’s ideas, namely the expanded use of CityTickets on the LIRR and Metro-North. TWU Local 100 president Roger Toussaint, speaking with The Times, called the mayor’s press meeting more political grandstanding.
The mayor’s sudden interest in the operations of the MTA is a great change from just a few months ago, when elected officials and representatives of public interest groups repeatedly called the mayor to task for his near total silence during the MTA’s budget crisis.