Agency Trying To Bolster Its Case To Albany Where Lawmakers Have Less Than 2 Weeks To Approve Congestion Pricing


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Trying to demonstrate they’ll be able to fix mass transit if they get congestion pricing, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said Monday they’ve already made dramatic improvements, including the lowest number of weekday subway delays in nearly five years.

Riders? They told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer they’re skeptical.

They said if you believe in the tooth fairy you’ll find it easier to agree with the latest word from the MTA that subway service has gotten a whole lot better.

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When asked if they’ve noticed any improvement in subway service, riders told Kramer it’s news to them.

“Absolutely not,” Nadia Allen of Flatbush said.

Kramer reiterated the agency’s claim that it has the best on-time performance in six years and that there’s a huge decrease in the number of delays.

“I don’t see that at all. Every day there’s a delay,” Allen said.

Web Extra: Byford touts subway improvements:

True that, as they say on the street. Every day there are thousands of delays, but officials say the number is shrinking, going from 60,446 in February 2018 to 37,119 last month.

“That is a nearly 40 percent delay reduction for our customers and we think that is a great reason to have a press conference today,” MTA Senior VP Sally Librera said.

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Officials also claimed on-time performance was up from a dismal 60 percent in February 2018 to 76 percent last month and that the improvements saved riders precious seconds in reduced wait times.

“Those seconds may not seem like much, but if we think about it in terms of the average New Yorker, the average New Yorker who takes multiple trips every day, those seconds add up,” Librera said.

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Which gets to the real reason for the press conference — MTA officials are anxious to convince lawmakers that if they approve congestion pricing and other taxes worth billions of dollars the agency really will be able to fix the 100-year-old system.

“Transformed, completely transformed … that’s what our plan will do. It will do it in an unprecedented time frame, but for that you need the big bucks,” Transit Authority President Andy Byford said.

“I think the message of the subway action plan is promises made, promises kept,” MTA President Patrick Foye added.

When it comes to congestion pricing, the train is leaving the station. Albany lawmakers have just 12 days to give it the green light.