NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Chronic dirty conditions underground have the Transit Authority’s CEO trying to convince subway riders that the agency is making progress, but it’s a tough sell.
It was show and tell time at the Fulton Street station on Tuesday as subway boss Andy Byford insisted progress was being made in cleaning up the grimy system.
Byford said removing pigeon droppings from windows at the 225th Street station was one of the many small steps he’s taking to convince riders the Transit Authority is turning the corner on fixing the chronically challenged subways.
“You should expect the shop window, the station, to look good. You don’t turn up at an airport an expect it to be in a pigsty state,” Byford said.
He introduced two dozen new station managers charged with improving conditions and highlighted bright spots such as 285 miles of tracks reportedly cleaned. Byford also said 1,300 signals have been repaired and 1,600 cars have been upgraded.
“Do you think that riders give you enough credit right now for turning the system around?” CBS2’s Marcia Kramer asked the Transit Authority chief.
“I think that riders are… the jury’s out,” Byford replied.
“I hope that they see little by little improvements. We’re deadly serious about improving every aspect of service,” he added.
Riders say Byford has his work cut out for him.
“He says we’ve turned the corner,” Kramer told James Mitchell of Brownsville.
“What corner? I don’t see it. It seems like things get worse every day. I’m late for work three days a week,” Mitchell charged.
“I’ve been living in New York for about 15 years. I came here in 1999 and I don’t think it’s changed at all,” Nick Atkinson claimed.
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Byford said that fixing the entire subway system will be, in his words, a “ten-year odyssey.”
Under the decade-long plan, 300 of the 472 subway stations will be rebuilt however, that’s if the city and state find a way to pay for it.