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NYC Transit Chief Promises Changes After Blizzard Meltdown

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MTA Bus During Blizzard/Getty Images

MTA Bus During Blizzard/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - With winter a little more than two weeks away, the New York City Council wants to know what has changed at the MTA since last December’s blizzard, and the MTA says new procedures are in place.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb At The Hearing

“Last year was a wake up call to the MTA and today’s hearing is going to determine how much of a wake up call,” said council member James Vacca, who chairs the transportation committee.

Vacca says people remember the hundreds of buses stuck in snowbanks and stalled trains with their shivering passengers on board.

“I think New Yorkers should expect nothing less than a battle plan from the MTA. Buses and trains have to be kept running and when they’re not running, there has to be better communication with straphangers,” Vacca told WCBS 880 reporter Rich Lamb on Monday. “Last year, we had straphangers on buses and trains trapped for hours, not knowing what help was going to come to get them off city streets or out of train stations.”

Among the incidents was one where passengers were trapped for seven hours on a stranded train near Aqueduct Racetrack.

“What happened in the case of the Aqueduct last year was we forgot about that train. We forgot about it and it’s inexcusable,” New York City transit president Thomas Prendergast told the committee on Tuesday.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks Reports

From now on, Prendergast says one person will be designated to keep track.

“They have personnel whose sole responsibility, either in the situation room or the incident command center, is to be in charge and taking care of the people who are on stalled or stranded trains,” he said.

Prendergast says the MTA has beefed up its command and communications, will put more chains on buses, and get the extra-long articulated buses off the road in snow.

Vacca says last year’s MTA performance was unacceptable.

What do you have to say about the MTA’s performance following the post-Christmas blizzard of 2010? Sound off in the comments section below!

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