NYC Transit Head Byford, MTA Chairman Foye Appear To Be Using Numbers To Justify Congestion Pricing: 'Investment In Transit Works'


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Trying to prove the billions of dollars from congestion pricing really will fix mass transit, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials say they’ve already made what they call “dramatic” headway.

The problem is, riders don’t see it, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday.

The gap between the platform and the subway cars at the Times Square shuttle is 100 years old, emblematic of the gap between the insistence of MTA officials that subway performance is getting better.

“The highest on-time performance since November 2013,” NYC Transit Authority President Andy Byford said.

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And the experience of riders? Have they noticed any difference?

File – A 1 train pulls into a subway station. (credit: CBS2)

“Not at all. Not at all. On-time performance? No, I wish,” said Chartay Mendez of the Bronx.

“I don’t see it. My subway stop at 73rd and Central Park West was recently redone,” a man said. “I’m not interested in pretty. If I want pretty I’ll look in the mirror. Get a better system.”

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But a report released Wednesday does show an uptick.

* 78 percent of trains arrived on time last month, up from 65 percent in March 2018.

* A 40 percent reduction in delays.

* A 42 percent reduction in track debris fires.

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The announcements are important because MTA officials are trying to convince people that the controversial congestion pricing plan will do what it’s intended to do — fix mass transit.

“Investment in transit works,” MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said. “These results are also an assurance that additional funding we’ll be getting through central business tolling … district tolling money will be well spent.”

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In case you’re confused, “central business tolling” is the MTA’s new term for congestion pricing. They apparently think it sounds better, but what riders care about is not what they call it. But will people still be packed like sardines when congestion pricing does into effect in January 2021?

“Well, in the peak time … People often say to me on the train, ‘This is ridiculous. Look how crowded this train.’ Well, it’s the peak,” Byford said. “Progressively, as we add more service, which we will, that’s how we mitigate that.”

Byford offered no timetable for how long it will take to add more service on all the lines. He said that on the “7” line, where the repairs are almost done, they’ll soon be able to run two more trains per hour — that elbow room for an extra 2,420 people every hour.

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