After 100 Days, NYC Transit Chief Promises Radical Change for Train System in Crisis
After 100 days on the job, the man tasked with reviving a transit system in crisis hinted at a sweeping plan for the New York City subways. Speaking to a meeting of the Regional Plan Association in April, NYC Transit Authority President Andy Byford promised “radical” changes similar to those recently made to the city’s bus system. Byford characterized the plan to overhaul the New York City Transit system, due to be released in May with the full corporate plan for the MTA, “as “bold” and “wide-reaching, even controversial in its ambition.”
In April, Byford released a plan to “reimagine” the bus system, which contained:
- A completely redesigned bus route network
- Traffic signal priority for buses
- All-door boarding featuring tap-to-pay readers
- Improved customer experience
Mr. Byford stated frankly that “mere tweaks” would not fix the system and warned that painful service shutdowns could be necessary to perform necessary upgrades to signals. The new transit chief, who uses the mass transit system here as he did when serving as chief general manager of the Toronto Transit Commission, is known as a commuter advocate. As such, he would prefer to find an outside funding source rather than demand higher and higher fares from riders.
Byford also doesn’t want to play politics with the transit system. To anyone who wants to enlist him on either side of the Cuomo-de Blasio feud, he responded: “I’ll tell you whose team I’m on: the customers’ team, the riders’ team.” That kind of blunt talk could win him support among the ridership even as they suffer through inconvenient service disruptions, provided his plan starts to show results.
As lawyers for victims of transit accidents, we at Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson are interested first and foremost in the safety of the system. We look forward to seeing the corporate plan and assessing its efficacy from a standpoint of safety. We also wish Mr. Byford luck in his attempt to sidestep political squabbles as he remains focused on serving transit riders.
Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson represents MTA riders injured in transit accidents throughout New York. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 888.746.8212 or contact our office online.