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Bloomberg Seeks MTA Changes

by Bill Bahng Boyer

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.

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Working Class August 4, 2009 - 12:29 pm

Bloomberg appoints only 4 members to the MTA board that is ALL he has to do with the agency. This is a PR stunt in an election year to fool the uninformed into thinking that he can actually make changes to an agency that he is NOT in charge of. Bloomberg is a common criminal who uses money to change the laws and buy support!!

Scott E August 4, 2009 - 1:20 pm

I hope Bloomberg has some leverage to push these plans through. Unfortunately, to get this ambitions list done, one not only needs to push to get it done, but he has to actually manage the process. As MTA Chairman, Commissioner, or CEO (I don’t quite understand the difference) he might be able to do that. But not as mayor. The biggest flaw in the organization of the MTA (or NYC Transit, at least) is that it is not governed by the city which it serves.

Boris August 4, 2009 - 1:45 pm


The MTA executives, its board, and the agency itself is controlled by the state government. To push these plans through, Bloomberg needs to be governor (and one with high ratings, at that- as we’ve seen, Paterson is helpless against the dysfunctional State Senate). The number one thing we can do to improve the functioning of the MTA is vote out our current State Senators in the next election. The number two thing is push for measures like congestion pricing and reinstating the commuter tax. Bloomberg has the right idea here, but the state legislature won’t go along with him. Until Albany decides to fully fund the MTA, only the tiniest of incremental changes can be made.

Working Class August 4, 2009 - 3:19 pm

How would you expect a state agency to be run by the city that “part” of it serves?

George August 4, 2009 - 3:39 pm

He mentioned NYC Transit, did he not?

Of course, the whole idea behind the MTA’s creation was so that revenue from Bridges & Tunnels could be used towards the rest of the agency. So they’d have to find a way to address the funding problems if they do decide to spinoff NYC Transit and hand it back to the city, for example.

Gary Reilly August 4, 2009 - 3:08 pm


Check out the “F Express Plan” in the sidebar – Ben and I have been pushing the F Express / V local plan since 2007 –

I posted something on my blog this morning, which is also covered over at OTBKB.



Welcome to SAS – you guys are doing a great job while Ben is out and about!



Scott C August 4, 2009 - 3:35 pm

And I suppose the Mayor also has a plan to pay for these improvements?

What is even more ridiculous is the fact that the V extension/F Express is a current impossibility until sometime in 2012 due to the the Gowanus viaduct rehabilitation project (assuming it stays on schedule). In case Bloomberg hasn’t noticed, the express tracks have been removed from the Carrol Street portal to 4th Avenue. But why let facts get in the way when you are pandering to voters?

Peter August 4, 2009 - 4:17 pm

– “The institution of an F line express train” An E X C E L L E N T Idea Mr. Mayor – How about the City coughs up the money?

-” The extension of V trains into Brooklyn” Another good idea. How about you write a check to cover the cost, Mr. Mayor?

– “The expansion of the countdown clocks currently installed in on the L line to other stations” Another BOFFO Idea! It will only require systemwide installation of a Computer Based Train Control System, and the power, signal, infrastructure and wiring to support it, and the time & labor to install it. You can keep buying elections until the job is finished, your Excellency.

“Increased maintenance of subway stations” Has anyone mentioned lately that 20 years ago the City contributed nearly 30% more to the NYCT Operating Budget than it does now?

“The creation of an integrated New York Transit Smart Card” Why bother? After they get out of the Suburban at 86th St, Hizzoner and Entourage ride for free.

“Increased NYPD control of transit system security, with a reference to the installation of surveillance cameras in subway tunnels” When the Transit Police were part of the NYCT, they won nationwide awards for effectiveness & productivity, and were a model for Departments across the country. Since being subsumed into the NYPD, being posted to the Transit Bureau is considered a dead end detail. And cameras don’t prevent crime.

“Partnership with area business owners, similar to the old Adopt-A-Station program, to improve cleanliness around subway entrances” NYCT doesnt have jursidiction ‘around Subway entrances’, and hard as it may be to believe, NYCT does not actually scatter litter & garbage in their own stations, the passengers do. If the Mayor wants cleaner stations, he should instruct NYPD personnel under his direct supervision (see above) to seek out and punish people trashing the Subway.

Hey, that was easy. Maybe I’ll run for Mayor….

Skip Skipson August 4, 2009 - 8:11 pm

I’m surprised he hasn’t proposed bringing the MTA under city control like he did with the schools.

Niccolo Machivelli August 4, 2009 - 10:27 pm

The MTA as an institution unites suburbs and city, unites areas of different productivity, land use regulations, population density and auto ownership. Transportation by its very nature take people from one place to the other. Finding a perfect balance of economic fairness will always fail because of these essential differences between communities.

Instead of focusing your ire on the supposed favoritism for suburban commuters progressive transit advocates should be pushing for more reverse commute service from city to suburb and solid intra-suburban connections so city residents can effectively access the substantial job market in the burbs. That is working for Metro North and Bronx reverse commuters.

Continuing down a road of quid-pro-quo balance sheets and mathematical allegations of fairness cannot generate enough civic trust to develop regional mass transit. This further prunes the growth of mass transit and advantages individual automobile ownership in both the city and the suburbs. Congestion pricing and bridge tolls were killed in the outer boroughs.

Public transportation has to be something that links us together in generalized reciprocity and cannot thrive in the “whats in it for me” mentality of urban grievants and the politicians that cater to them.

A closer look at Bloomie’s transit proposals :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog August 10, 2009 - 12:02 am

[…] Bloomberg decided to jump into the well-trodden transit fray. Bill covered Bloomberg’s 33-point plan for a better transit system in a guest post last week, but I want to offer up a few of my own thoughts on this plan. I’ll […]

StationStops August 10, 2009 - 6:56 pm

MTA must be dissolved – over the years it has proven itself incompetent of providing transit services for the greatest city in the world.

New Yorkers have become so accustomed to such poor service, they don’t even realize what great service is anymore.

I am tired of hearing about the costs of MTA projects – that’s not the point – the point is that if you have a properly incentivized organization, costs come down.

We need to stop throwing good money after bad.

When you have the transit organization raising fares on a population which is losing jobs, they are no longer serving the greater good – they are no longer an ally of the New York population – you can qualify them as a failure, and move forward…

Allison Villa August 23, 2009 - 9:23 am

The MTA is getting extremely out of control with all the NY Politicians giving billion of $$$ to their contractors, consultant (friends)…and the money is coming from all the increases they are
imposing to the NY residents.
The corruption inside the MTA is completely an abuse to the residents of this city. The workers are just puppets of the top guys making the decisions and giving billion $ jobs to corrupted contractors.
who is ever going to audit them? Its time to remove them and place some new people there with no connections to contractors, construction companies, consultants etc

Thinking about the dearth of Big Ideas :: Second Ave. Sagas September 2, 2013 - 11:57 pm

[…] Michael Bloomberg ran in 2009 for his third term as mayor, he launched his campaign with 33 changes for the MTA. These ranged from the obvious, with more countdown clocks and a new farecard leading the way, to […]


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