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WSJ: NJ Transit Executive Director may take top Transit spot

by Benjamin Kabak

The revolving door of the transit world may keep spinning through the MTA’s top positions, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal. A few months after Carmen Biacno retired as president of New York City Transit, the MTA may be narrowing its search to a former executive now working in New Jersey. As Andrew Tangel reported last week, the agency may tab current NJ Transit Executive Director Ronnie Hakim for the vacancy atop Transit. Hakim, an MTA vet who has spent the last five years leading various Garden State agencies, would be the first female to lead Transit.

According to Tangel, Hakim’s appointment is not yet a sure thing. She’s still negotiating her departure from New Jersey Transit, a spot she’s held only since early 2014, and even though she would lend stability at the top to NYC Transit, NJ Transit would continue to suffer from frequent turnover. Hakim was previously a lawyer with Transit and with MTA Capital Construction and served briefly as an interim president of MTACC before Michael Horodniceanu took over.

If Hakim assumes the position, her challenges are formidable. The subway system is literally bursting at the seams, and the MTA’s 20-year plan isn’t fast enough to address crowds that have made peak-hour commuting a truly miserable and frustrating experience every morning. The agency has also struggled to maintain the system and has a backlog of Sandy recovery work to get through. Hakim is competent, but with 23 years of MTA experience in her pocket, she’s very much an “Inside Baseball” pick at a time when the agency needs to be more nimble and flexible than it is.

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Stephen Smith November 10, 2015 - 11:06 am

Hakim was previously a lawyer with Transit and with MTA Capital Construction and served briefly as an interim president of MTACC before Michael Horodniceanu took over.

Hard to imagine worse qualifications than NJT and this.

lawhawk November 10, 2015 - 12:11 pm

If there’s someone more familiar with the skyrocketing capital construction costs (and an inability to control them), Hakim’s your pick.

She’s been with NJT long enough to impose yet another fare hike, while service was cut. Again. NJT capital projects are lagging/dragging, including the Bergen leg of the HBLR.

Costs continue to rise there too, and there’s no end in sight.

So, she’ll go back to the MTA where we’ll see more of the same.

JJJ November 10, 2015 - 2:21 pm

Oh good, she can end all service at 12:30am to save money.

MTA saved!

pete November 10, 2015 - 2:24 pm

How to fix morning subway congestion in NYC? Make express buses (the Greyhounds) $2.75 a ride. Both the subway and express buses are NYCT, and dont involve making the LIRR allowing human scum (NYC residents) on their porcelain clean trains by LIRR being $2.75 within NYC.

pete November 10, 2015 - 3:04 pm

Redesigning mezzanines for clear shots to the street, ala Moscow Metro is another thing NYCT has never done. In the Moscow Metro, once you step foot on a “UP escalator” or an UP staircase, you will be ejected on the street with no ability to turn around. 1 way pedestrian traffic with ropes/portable fences/permanent fences/separate hallways/separate turnstyles, the only place you are in conflict with opposite direction walking customers is on the platform, nowhere else in the station. Boarding times are terrible in the NYC subway. 4/5/6 GCT platforms need staircases going DOWN underneath the tracks (similar to the existing hallway to the 7), and then out to the street or to GCT. The existing stairs and mezzanine be “entry” only, no exit. All passengers walk “down” stairs in this configuration whether they are entering or leaving.

Larry Littlefield November 10, 2015 - 3:25 pm

David Gunn. Will we ever see his like again?

He’s the reason NYCT isn’t like the LIRR.

Bolwerk November 10, 2015 - 5:07 pm

David Gunn is a mixed bag. He fought with everyone, which sent him scurrying from agency to agency over the years.

I always thought Mike Bloomberg would be good in a transit executive role. He had too many fucked up views to be a good government executive, but he is smart and understands bureaucracy. Unlike Gunn, he actually seems good at butting heads without cracking skulls.

jonemartin May 10, 2024 - 8:04 am

According to this report, the president of New York is retiring after a few months, and Andrew Tangel will be responsible as president and he will announce transit for people. So they can easily travel from one place to another at very reasonable fares.

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