From the New York Times – Why Is the M.T.A. Always in Trouble?

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It seems that TransLink’s former CEO may have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, as New York’s Metropolitan Transportation authority (MTA) seems to be in severe financial distress. There has been much positive news here of late about the MTA, but it seems the transit authority faces the same problems as most others – funding. An aging subway system (subways are notorious for expensive maintenance – Canada line take note!) is adding more stress on the MTA’s operating budget.

When it is all said and done, Mr. Prendergast probably will find it easier to deal with New York politico’s and bureaucrats than Mr. Campbell & friends and his short sojourn with TransLink was an eyeopener on how BC shady public transit practices are. As noted in one blog, “He got out of Dodge fast!”.

The following from the New York Times may be of interest.

Why Is the M.T.A. Always in Trouble?

By THE EDITORS – New York Times

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is struggling to fill a sudden budget gap of $400 million, voted to approve a slate of cuts, including phasing out free student fares, reducing or ending service on dozens of bus lines and eliminating two subway lines, the W and the Z.

The current financial crisis came up quickly as expected revenues plummeted. For riders, the M.T.A. seems to be in perpetual trouble, with threats of fare increases and service cuts even in good times. A 7.5 percent fare increase is already scheduled for 2011. Strong union contracts and an aging infrastructure make cost control challenging. What savings and efficiencies might be achieved immediately, and what cuts need to be done in the out years?
For the rest of the article:

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/why-is-the-mta-always-in-trouble/

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2 Responses to “From the New York Times – Why Is the M.T.A. Always in Trouble?”

  1. Another David Says:

    I realize that you people are obviously pro-Light Rail, but this is one of the most ridiculous arguments you’ve made in favour of your preferred system by pointing to the, in North America at least, by far most effective system as a failure because it has funding issues (in a recession no less). Judged by ridership the MTA, especially its subway operation, is the MOST effective of all USian systems combined, and I wouldn’t be suprised if its the most effective of all North American systems combined.

    Light rail is good for areas with less people/density like Metro Vancouver, or suburban New York City, but in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens? Get. Fucking. Real. Light rail would be totally unacceptable for a place like New York City proper with it’s huge population, massive ridership and high density. It wouldn’t have the capacity to meet all demand. And in any case what do you propose they do? Rip up the existing system? Oh yeah, that’ll pay for itself in another hundred years, right? And as for the cost overruns facing the MTA. We’ll, you’ve already touched upon them yourself. A) ageing infrastructure (some of those lines where initially built in the early 20th century), B) extremely strong union contracts w/ inflationary wages and C) a lack of stable funding. C is perhaps the most important. Public Transit, regardless of what form it is, or where in (North America at least) it is, has not gotten the support from tax payers that road building does. Until that changes and until road builders are forced to pay more of their way their won’t be enough money for any form of public transit.

    Zweisystem replies: Your arguments are without foundation and complete lack of knowledge as to the purpose of light rail. LRT/tram and metro are two different transit modes built to solve two different transportation problems and many cities around the world happily operate both metro and LRT.

    Paris (11.7 mil.) is investing heavily in light rail, with over 100 km. of new lines to built in the coming decade. New York (pop. 19.5 million) could easily construct LRT lines for its heavier used surface routes and indeed there have been many plans for light rail.

  2. Another David Says:

    Well then explain to me the purpose of your initial post? It sounds to me as if it was an attempt to slag the most effective, as judged by ridership per day, system in the United States.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_rapid_transit_systems_by_ridership

    Zweisystem replies: I think your beef is with the New York Times

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