Thursday, January 30, 2020

Bronx/Queens Bus Network Redesign Plan Review; Expansion Of All-Electric Articulated Buses

NEW YORK, NY- This past year, the MTA launched the redesign bus network for both the Bronx and Queens. Brooklyn is the third borough to get the redesign network, but that's under review. Okay, let's get to the Bronx. There are routes that will see extensive spacing, increased frequency, direct connections to major hubs/transit centers, and change of the certain bus routes either shortened, rerouted, or extended. The ones that came out to me the most of the Bronx Bus Redesign Plan were the restoration of the Bx25 route, the Bx6 +SBS to Soundview, new M125 route/the termination of the Bx15 route south of 3rd Ave/149th Street, Bx36 and Bx40/42 switching east/west routing, and the changeup of multiple Bronx-Manhattan express routes. Overall, the final plan for the Bronx routes can work well for Bronx residents because most of the routes are still kept the same with minor/major changes to certain bus routes. If you want full details of your Bronx route, you can click here. There is also a proposed final plan hearing set for Thursday, February 20th, 2020. Please check the MTA Bronx Redesign website for more details. Queens is next for this redesign plan. Queens is the total melting pot of New York City with a LARGE bus system, with most of them being a part of the MTA Bus Company. During the draft plan of the Queens Bus Network, all routes are labeled QT during the duration of the draft plan. Redesigned routes are combined up to three current active bus routes. For example, "QT7-Linden Boulevard", which consist of the Q4 and the discontinued Q89 route. This route would operate between Cambria Heights-120th Avenue, Queens and Spring Creek-Gateway Mall, Brooklyn. There's two projected Queens-Bronx routes, two Queens-Manhattan routes, and twelve Queens-Brooklyn bus routes. Queens service has declined over the years. Its now time that the MTA fixes this problem with real hard route structuring and planing from various communities of this borough. You can read up on your Queens routes here. There's also meeting going on all throughout January and February for y'all to give in your feedback on these projected bus routes. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

R211/R262 Showcasing; A New Rail Line; Andy Byford Resigns As NYCT President


NEW YORK, NY- The MTA has released a first look at the new generation of subway cars, the R211 class for the B-division subway line. These trains will run on the subway's lettered routes and the Staten Island Railway. All three versions of the R211; the R211A, R211S, and R211T. 30 test cars are currently in production by Kawasaki Rail Car Inc, who have a $1.4 billion contract to produce 535 cars. The R211A and R211T will replace all remaining R32s, Staten Island Railway operated R44s (replaced by the R211S), and R46s. These trains would arrive just on time for CBTC (Communications Based Train Control) for the Queens Blvd and 8th Avenue subway lines. All R211s will be manufactured by Kawasaki, who show extreme promises with the the subway cars and these pictures prove just that.

The MTA will invest $3.686 billion in this order. The contract is split into three parts: R211A, R211S, and R211T. The base order of 535 cars will comprise 20 R211T open gangway prototype cars, 440 R211A cars that will partially replace the 750 aging R46 cars and 75 R211S cars which are expected to replace the remaining 62-car R44 fleet on the Staten Island Railway. There will be two options for additional cars: the first for 640 cars and the second for 437 cars. Both options are designed to accommodate either standard cars or open gangway cars, depending on the test results from the 20 pilot cars. If all options are exercised, the order would total up to 1,612 cars. In total, the R211 order would provide 1,015 new cars to replace existing fleet, as well as up to 597 cars for fleet expansions following the extension of the Second Avenue Subway and the automation of the New York City Subway. The option cars would entirely replace the older R46s. Since the R46s are 75 feet (23 m) long, and the R211 cars are only 60 feet (18 m), the 752 R46s would need to be replaced by 940 R211s. Any additional cars not replacing existing rolling stock will be used to expand the system's fleet. The R211Ts would also increase capacity and allow passengers to walk seamlessly from one car to the next. The delivery of the base order is scheduled to be completed by August 2023, with option 1 and option 2 completed by December 2024 and October 2025 respectively. All R211A and R211T cars will be equipped for communications-based train control (CBTC), while all R211S cars will be equipped with cab signaling.


The R262 order is divided into a base order and two option orders. The base order consists of 504 cars, the first option order consists of 445 cars, and the second option order has up to 415 cars. The subway car order will entirely replace the R62 and R62A fleets, and the second option order will include up to 225 cars to support ridership growth and other operational needs. The R262 order will consist of cars in 5-car sets for the mainline IRT and 6-car sets for the 42nd Street Shuttle. The base order and first option order (949 cars) will be funded in the MTA's 2020-2024 Capital Program, while the second option order (up to 415 cars) will be funded in the future 2025–2029 Capital Program.

The design of the R262 subway cars are based on the specifications of the R211T cars, which are being built for the B Division. They will have modern signage and communication, an ethernet network, updated crash energy management standards, open-gangways that allow passengers to move between cars during train movement and increase train capacity. In addition, they will be equipped with communications-based train control (CBTC). Unlike the R211s, R262s will have additional audio induction loops for riders with hearing impairments.

Like the R211s, the subway cars will have a blue front with large windows, LED headlights, and a blue strip with gold accents on the sides, similar to the new MTA Regional Bus Operations livery released in 2016. To designate the route, a large LED screen with the route bullet will be displayed at the ends of the train similar to trains with rollsigns; also, the route's destination will be displayed above the door on the front. These cars will replace the 1980s R62/62As in the 2020s, with a manufacturer to be determined.

A New Rail

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Thursday that it has awarded a $1.3 million contract to an engineering firm that will study the feasibility of creating a passenger rail from a freight-only line that runs from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Astoria. “This project is hugely exciting – partly because it is based on the concept of squeezing more out of our already existing infrastructure so we don’t always have to build new subway lines from scratch,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber.

The 16-mile line runs from southeast from Astoria through Glendale, Middle Village and Elmhurst in Queens. It either crosses or borders on 19 subway lines and two lines of the Long Island Rail Road. In Brooklyn, it travels through Midwood, East New York, Brownsville, Bushwick. The southern part of the line is owned by MTA Long Island Rail Road, which uses the line exclusively for freight trains operated by the New York and Atlantic Railway. CSX Transportation, a freight railroad, owns the northern part.

The study will look into the possibility for subway, commuter rail, light rail or bus service that would run in tandem with existing freight rail service to help residents travel within Brooklyn and Queens. The study comes at a time when residents in the Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale areas have been pointing out the lack of subways in that southwestern area of Queens as a part of the redesign of the borough’s bus network.

It also comes shortly after Mayor de Blasio began a renewed effort to advance the BQX, another Brooklyn-to-Queens transit alternative that would travel from Red Hook to Astoria along the East River. The MTA’s press release emphasized the possibilities for connections or transfers to intersecting subway lines and the LIRR. “Putting mass transit on the Bay Ridge Branch could allow the MTA to serve more neighborhoods and provide better connections to thousands of people throughout Brooklyn and Queens – all while also creating opportunities for increasing environmentally-friendly freight rail in years to come,” said Lieber.

Engineering firm AECOM will work on the study with subcontractor WSP.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Bombardier R179 Door Problems + Awkwafina (7) Line Announcements Takeover

MTA Pulls Bombardier R179s Off The Rails Due To Door Malfunctions-SHADY, SHADY LEMONS

NEW YORK, NY-The MTA said Wednesday (January 8th) that it has pulled nearly 300 newly delivered subway cars for safety reasons effective immediately, citing an analysis of "two recent incidents" involving doors. No passengers were injured in either case. One of the incidents involved the doors opening while the train was moving, putting passengers at risk. The problems with the Bombardier trains happened "over the holidays," possibly in late December and early January. A train opened by four inches during motion, but not wide enough where a person were able to fall out of the train. In total, 298 cars were pulled from service overnight; the affected cars were on the A, C, J and Z lines. 
According to NYCT President Andy Byford aka Daddy Train said this statement: "our team proceeded to pull all of the R179 fleet, all 298 cars, out of service and replaced them with spare cars, specifically R46s on the A, R32s on the C, and R143s, R160s, and R42s on the J. That’s for a total of 298 cars, representing around 5 percent of our total fleet."

The MTA said all lines were operating at normal service levels Wednesday morning with the exception of the J and Z lines, where "headways have been increased by two minutes in between trains for the AM peak period, and skip-stop service suspended." In a statement, NYCT President Andy Byford said two recent incidents with the Bombardier R179 subway cars raised questions about "the reliable operation of a door mechanism" on the newly delivered cars.
"Out of an abundance of caution, NYCT removed all R179 train cars from service overnight for thorough inspection and re-deployed other spare cars to continue service for this morning’s rush and ensure minimal impacts to customers," Byford said Wednesday. He added that "the MTA has identified repeated issues with Bombardier’s performance and finds this latest development unacceptable. We intend to hold the company fully accountable.” Seen here are the MTA inspecting the doors of the R179s at the East New York Yard. 
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer blasted the MTA in a statement shortly after the news, saying his office released an audit last month that showed how its contract with Bombardier was late -- three years behind schedule -- and cost taxpayers "millions" of additional dollars. Stringer said that audit showed layers of mismanagement in the MTA's oversight of the contract, repeat failures to meet contact deadlines, poor project management, technical breakdowns and structural defects that delayed cars being put into service. Other defects had cars yanked.
"The New York City subway riders who foot the bill for the MTA’s $600 million contract with Bombardier were promised new, state-of-the-art train cars to help modernize our ailing transit system," Stringer said Wednesday. "Now, all the cars that were delivered so far have been pulled from service due to critical defects. It is completely unacceptable."
Scott Stringer said this as a statement," Bombardier sold us lemons. Straphangers need the MTA to manage these contracts from the beginning -- before the trains go off the rails." Kangni, the door operator supplier to the Bombardier R179s have failed to calibrate the doors. There were lots of blames to be shifted around by this door malfunction issue; Stringer blamed the MTA for failing to purchase quality products; the MTA blamed Bombardier for faulty equipment; and Bombardier blamed their subcontractor Kangni for the door malfunctions.
Bombardier should be ashamed of themselves. You have a fresh NTT right off the production line and the doors just open slightly mid-ride. Back in 2012 when Kawasaki and Alstom protested you guys awarding the R179 contract order to Bombardier,the MTA should've listened. Luckily, the relationship between the MTA and Bombardier is so severed due to this mess of a contract, that Bombardier will not manufacture trains for the MTA no more. Don't get me wrong, I like Bombardier but their performance of this contract was shady as hell. The contract was so behind schedule that everything was rushed, nothing was done correctly. Lets hope that everything gets resolved, so that the 179s can operate service again.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Prevost, Awarded By The MTA To Manufacture 300+ New Commuter Coaches

Plattsburgh, NY-Prevost, a leading coach manufacturer in North America, is celebrating a major event – the award of its largest order ever in term of value with the win of 2 New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) contracts.
MTA has awarded Prevost 2 contracts for up to 330 buses, with a firm order of 307 buses to be delivered between 2020 and 2022, and options for 23 additional buses. These contracts will create 25 new jobs at Prevost in Plattsburgh plus an additional 15 jobs at Prevost sub-assembly provider in the state of New York during the build of these contracts. It also allows Prevost to double its production of buses at its American factory. These buses will replace the older MCI Commuter Coach Buses.
“This is great news for Prevost to obtain these new contracts from the North America’s largest transportation network, which will continue to reinforce Prevost’s leadership position in the North American coach market. We initially opened our assembly line in Plattsburgh in 2014 after we received our first commuter bus contract from MTA. We are very proud as the buses for MTA will be built just a few hours drive from New York City. Our presence in this state is very important for Prevost and our talented employees in Plattsburgh are eager to demonstrate their skills once again to MTA”, added François Tremblay, Vice President and General Manager at Prevost.
“We are sincerely proud and grateful for the continued trust that MTA is putting in the Volvo team by awarding Prevost the largest order ever in the history of the company. We continue to serve our customers with a strong focus on uptime, reliability and service support. MTA has the largest bus and coach fleet in North America and we want to make a difference for the citizens of New York,” said Håkan Agnevall, President of Volvo Buses.
"This well-earned, record-breaking contract for Prevost to build new buses for the MTA is a win-win-win for the company, for the North Country economy, which will receive a critical shot in the arm from this manufacturing work in the form of 40 good-paying jobs, and for commuters in New York who will soon have access to a smooth ride on 330 brand new, top-of-the-line buses. The MTA's bus service is a lifeline for countless residents of New York and I'm so glad to see that it recognizes that Prevost's world-class Plattsburgh workforce produces a superior product for commuters in our state," said Senator Schumer.
This is exciting news for Prevost and for North Country residents”, said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I am glad their new contract, the largest one in company history, will provide increased access to transportation for those who utilize it. This will bring significant economic activity to the Plattsburgh area, and I am proud to continue to be an outspoken advocate for business initiatives that will have positive impacts, much like this one.”


-The (7) Line is 100% CBTC
-Reopening of the New South Ferry Station and WTC-Cortland
-<F> Express Service in Brooklyn
-The R211 Mock-Up Showcasing
-The Opening of the 34th Street-Hudson Yards station
-(A)(C) and (J)(Z) Summer Fleet Swap
-The completed delivery of the R179s and the retirement of the R42s