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New MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota Differs With Ex-Chairman’s Opinion Of NYC Transit

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Joseph Lhota (file / credit: MTA)

Joseph Lhota (file / credit: MTA)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Jay Walder, the last guy in charge of the MTA, called the New York City transit system terrible after he got a new job in Hong Kong.

Today, WCBS 880 anchors Steve Scott and Wayne Cabot spoke with the new guy in charge – Joseph Lhota – to get his take.

LISTEN: Scott and Cabot with Lhota

“Well, I don’t believe it’s terrible. Let me put it that way,” Lhota said. “I’m a lifelong New Yorker and I’ve been taking the subway my entire life. Comparing it to the Hong Kong system is really unfair and it’s really unfortunate. They have a brand new transit system.”

Lhota pointed out that the New York City system is over 100-years-old and works 24 hours a day, unlike Hong Kong, which closes down at night.

“We’re in the processing of repairing and changing it and it’s going to be my job to make it better,” said Lhota.

Lhota was known as the ‘Rat Czar’ when he worked for Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His own subway workers are now having a contest to find the best picture of a subway rat.

Lhota pointed out that his official title was Deputy Mayor for Operations.

He says the MTA is working with the city health department to get rid of as many rats as possible.

He encouraged riders to, if they bring food on to the subway, take it with them, wrappers and all.

“If you don’t feed the rats, they’re going to go somewhere else for food,” he said.

He was not ready to commit to a total ban on food on the subways, like they have in San Francisco or Washington, DC.

He said he’d “look into it.”

He said it’s not easy to take something away from New Yorkers.

What do you think Lhota should do as MTA chairman? Sound off in the comments section below!

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