Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More reasons why the MTA does not keep it's "Pledge to Customers"

I still don't understand how MTA continues to have it's "Pledge to Customers" when they have so much inaccurate information or they just don't care about updating the information.   Let's get right to each instance.

On August 10th, the MTA Bridges and Tunnels implemented a 24/7 lane closure of the southbound Henry Hudson Bridge (the lower level into Manhattan), yet (as of this post) there is no service alert about this round-the-clock lane closure.

While the MTA Arts for Transit has recently added information for the 34th Street Hudson Yards station on the 7 line, go back one stop to Times Square and you can see the description for the Roy Lichenstin artwork over by the N/Q/R/S and W trains.   The W line was discontinued in 2010.   Of course the MTA continues to ignore this.

You cannot uphold the MTA's Pledge to Customers if you refuse to correct the automated announcements on the newest subway cars.  Presently, transfer lines are announced based on the six specific time blocks of the day:  AM Rush Hour, Midday, PM Rush Hour, Evening, Late night and Weekend.  So a "Transfer to the Bx41 Select Bus Service (SBS+)" announcement from a 2 train arriving at Gun Hill Road or 3rd Ave 149th Street at 11:30 PM would be inaccurate because the Bx41 SBS+ stops running before 10 PM.  But because the Bx41 operates in the early evenings, that is part of the evening (7 PM to midnight) time period for these automated announcements inside subway cars.  And as I have said time after time the MTA NYC Transit should look into the ability to add or remove lines at transfer stops so theses announcements can be more accurate,  This would be exceptionally useful such as the A/C Cranberry Tube weekend reroutes.

Even new service changes have errors.  According to NYCT, the first Bx10 local bus leaves Riverdale at 1:40 am - - but the Bx10 operates 24/7 anyway so how could there be an first and last bus?

Bus Time, a popular bus tracking service which I use, now has the countdown minutes instead of the number of stops.  With that in mind, they also corrected only 50 percent of the errors of the bus stops at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, NY.  While I noted in March 2014, that Sterns, Woolworths and Caldor are on the list of bus stops in their data, they took a long time to correct two of the three stops.  Since then, the Sunrise Multiplex Cinemas closed in January to make way for a significant expansion of Green Acres Mall.  So they still have two errors (The Caldor and Sunrise theater) in this Q5 and Q85 bus stop data.

When the driver of an tractor-trailer struck a major electrical cable on the elevated 4 line south of Woodlawn terminal, causing a major fire which shut down 4 service between Burnside Ave and the Woodlawn terminal, NYCT offered alternative bus suggestions while leaving out the obvious choice - - Grand Concourse and the B/D trains as well as the Bx1/2 buses.  The Bx10/28 are useful only between Mosholu Parkway and Bedford Park Blvd and Kingsbridge Road on the D, respectively.  The Bx32 does not have the frequency to take some burden off from 4 train riders who are displaced at Burnside and that bus route runs short of Bedford Park Blvd.

The MTA's Pledge to Customers continues to be a smokescreen.  They need improvement in proofreading as well as executing the proper notifications in an accurate and timely manner.  And the MTA needs to stop waiting for more than 10 years to fix long standing errors.  To be fair, their service notifications on the MTA website have been mostly good, when they take the time to post a good service alert.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

34th Street-Hudson Yards, a late but great station

I visited the newest subway station, 34th Street-Hudson Yards, early Monday AM and I must say, it was a job well done by MTA Capital Construction - - despite the cost overruns and delays.  You can read the entire description of the new 34th Street station right here. 

I started my journey to the 469th station at Grand Central, guess what front window (or railfan window as railfans call them) I had?

The new rollsigns on the older R62A subway cars have the appropriate south terminal.  By early next year, the rest of these cars will be transferred to the 6 line anyway.

Pictures of the station platform:


And the lower mezzanine:

These are the two incline elevators which are really cool to look at - - they are the first of it's kind in the NYC sbway system (and one of the first in the Northeast)

Here is the video I took from the adjoining escalator which shows one of these elevators in action, going to the upper mezzanine,

Long way up or down on the other 3 escalators

And outside on Hudson Blvd East - - a dead end street off 34th Street.  Because the elevators and escalators travel east, you would wind up closer to 10th Ave.

I like this station.  It's large but it's not excessive like the bloated Fulton Transit Center building or the PATH WTC terminal arch superstructure.  The station can handle anything, Javits crowds, High Line walkers, travelers from the Bolt  and Mega bus lines, and even the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks, if they decide to hold the next show on the Hudson side of Manhattan.  Very nice job, considering the City of New York ponied up most of the funds for this project.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Big NYCT embarrassment - Q56 bus route on ten signs at Flushing - Main St

A sign error may sit unnoticed for months or years - - it's just an error which does need attention.   But what if the error was on TEN signs at a major transportation hub in Queens and sits unnoticed for years while hundreds of employees walk through this station?  Yes.  Only the MTA and NYC Transt can accomplish this feat and they have done it at the Main Street-Flushing, Queens terminal on the 7 line.  This terminal is the home to nearly 2 dozen feeder bus routes, a nearby LIRR station and a very diverse community.  19 million people went through the turnstiles in 2014, making it the 12th busiest station.  While I do not have exact figures, about a good 200 to 300 NYCT employees work at this station at any given 24 hour period. 

And no NYCT employee saw the mistake on the ten station signs, all of them on both platforms - - one of the bus routes listed on these signs is mistakenly the Q56.   The Q56 bus route runs between Downtown Jamaica, and East New York along Jamaica Ave - - that's about 6 miles from Downtown Flushing.   The route which NYCT intended was the Q58 which starts on 41st Road, about two blocks south of Main and Roosevelt and runs to Ridgewood at the Brooklyn/Queens line.    Here is the YouTube video I took last week where nobody saw something and said something about this goof.

Usually NYCT places a sticker over an existing sign to update subway and/or bus routes - - this is done to save cost of making signs from scratch.  Regardless of the method NYCT used, none of the hundreds of employees who worked at this station - - conductors, train operators, station agents, station supervisors, train service supervisors, etc. noticed this mistake as they walked down either platform.  Those who are familiar with the Queens bus network, couldn't tell between the Q56 in Jamaica and the Q58 in Flushing.  I don't expect every person to be knowledgeable  about the bus routes at the Flushing terminal but when some employees who live in the area or take a bus to report at this terminal, and nobody sees this for years (these sticker based signs apparently were installed around 2010 with the Q15A) then there is a total inability for NYCT to correct something.  It's unacceptable for station supervisors and mangers to walk around this complex and not report this condition because one of the responsibilities of a station supervisor is to report deficient conditions such as sign errors like the Q56 - - and with ten wrong signs on two station platforms in the same terminal, how could they MISS this???  What if the E/F/M/R transfers were on these ten signs (there are no transfers to other subway lines at this station), would they be overlooked and ignored for years?  With NYCT, suspend your disbelief, because it's most likely a yes.

NYCT accomplished the impossible when it comes to ignorance to their own errors.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Disgrace in Brooklyn during the West Indian Day parade

All lives don't matter

That should be the slogan in Brooklyn among some minorities, after what happened during the J'Ouvert pre-dawn parade when Carey Gabay, a Harvard educated aide to NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo, was shot in the head as he tried to run for cover.  The shooting was gang related and one of several incidents which continue to tarnish the West Indian Parade and related festivities.  The J'ouvert early morning parade and the main event later in the day are supposed to celebrate millions of West Indians through their cultures and food.  Let us pray for Mr. Gabay's recovery.  I used to attend these parades to see the floats and the costumed women (when I was single, of course) but in the pas 10 years, violence at this parade continues to tarnish the black image.  But I guess if black people really care about their image, then they should empower themselves to change the ghetto mentality while invoking change to develop a stronger dialogue and respect between minorities and law enforcement.  Start with a ban on those saggy pants boys (not men) wear down at their kneecaps.  It's disgusting to walk with your children, especially girls, to see boys showing their asses through their drawers.  Next, clean up your language and 'hood.  See a bottle on the sidewalk?  Pick it up and find a recycling or trash canister to put it there.  The first image an outsider sees is neighborhood appearance - - when they see wine bottles, cigarette butts on the sidewalk while illegal billboards, graffiti and paper signs plaster everything that is nailed down to the ground, it's a sign of lawlessness and disorder.   Then make it your business to attend your local community board or police council meetings.  Show your concerns about the quality of life and let them know we need more houses of worship, restaurants and jobs than liquor stores and motels. 

Finally, it's all up to you to raise your children the right way before they fall into the cracks and join gangs.  Take them to parks,libraries and to the house of worship of your choice.  Stop using profane words in front of a child.  The dining table is the most important place to have a good conversation with your child. Show them the world and how important they are within - - there are many free resources available for parents and their children.   And then, remember to say Please and Thank You to anyone when needed - - say hello or good morning to a stranger on the street and see what happens.  If blacks can change the 'hood for the better then these gang related incidents would not happen.