NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Relief for frustrated straphangers could be just around the corner.
The head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority put the finishing touches on plans for a remedy for the city’s subway system, saying Mayor Bill de Blasio needs to help foot the bill.READ MORE: Westfield Home Invasion, Sexual Assault Suspect In Custody
But de Blasio rode the train this weekend and said the city has already paid up, the MTA just hasn’t used the money.
For New York City subway riders it was an amazing sight — a woman on the 1 train eating her breakfast out of a ceramic cereal bowl.
The incident has taken on new meaning, as MTA Chairman Joe Lhota readies his plan to limit delays and address rider unhappiness.
“Some days it’s fine and other days you can’t sit anywhere,” Rego Park resident Mickey De Pool tells CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer.
Lhota told CBS2 his plan will have solutions for short term and long term problems.
One problem needing an immediate fix is track fires caused by litter. The MTA has been considering a food ban and ways to get riders to park their trash elsewhere.
The agency also is trying to find a way to get the mayor to contribute more for the day-to-day costs of running the trains.
Although he prefers his city SUV, the mayor has taken the subway a few times lately — including four stops in Brooklyn Sunday with reporters in tow — to counter Governor Cuomo’s insistence the city has a financial obligation to the subways.
“You’ve heard a lot of fiction the last few days,” de Blasio said Sunday.
The mayor and governor have been squabbling about two pots of money — operating funds for the day-to-day costs, and capital funds for long term projects like new cars and a new signal system.
The mayor put the city’s capital contribution at $2.5 billion “a couple of years ago.”READ MORE: Medical Breakthrough: Doctors At NYU Langone Health Successfully Transplant Pig Kidney To Human Recipient
“Almost 90 percent of that money is just sitting there,” the mayor said Sunday.
The MTA says the city has actually turned over just $80 million, the rest of the $2.5 billion is a commitment for future projects.
Meanwhile, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris demurred on a conference call Monday when CBS2’s Kramer asked if they city would contribute more.
“I think we made pretty clear, Marcia, that the operations on the system are an MTA responsibility and they should reallocate and focus their dollars more efficiently,” Shorris said.
Lhota called the mayor’s Sunday subway jaunt was “more posturing… a load of silliness.”
“I need the city of New York to be a true partner,” Lhota continued.
Shorris and de Blasio rode the subway Sunday to feel riders’ pain, but New Yorkers weren’t sold.
“I don’t need him to relate, I just need him to fix the little things that are going on,” one man said.
De Pool called it “showcasing.”
“It’s rough to feel someone’s pain if you don’t ride it every day,” another man said.
And now, the City Council is getting into the act. It scheduled an oversight hearing for August 8th.MORE NEWS: Police Open Fire, Arrest Man Threatening People With Stolen Kitchen Knives In Lower Manhattan
Officials say they will consider possible solutions and review the MTA’s new plan for fixing things.