Sunday, March 29, 2020

MTA Makes Essential Service Changes Offering Free Bus Rides + MTA Subway Conductor Passed Away Due To COVID-19 Complications; Hero MTA Motorman Dies In Subway Fire Saving Others

ORIGINAL POST FOR 03/26/2020

NEW YORK, NY- During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, the MTA this week had decided to make all bus rides citywide free. NICE (Nassau Inter-County Express) has also offer free rides to riders heading to Long Island and Queens and all of Nassau. Starting Monday, bus riders on local and Select Bus Service routes must enter and exit through rear doors. The front door is only available for wheelchair-bound customers. Riders on Select Bus Service routes, however, still must pay at curbside fareboxes that give riders a receipt that gets checked periodically. Express bus riders will also board as normal, but the first three rows will be off limits, to protect drivers.


"Rear-door boarding will help ensure a safe social distance," Sarah Feinberg, interim NYC Transit president overseeing subways and buses, said in a statement. "The safety of our employees and customers is priority one." "This is the right move," said Tony Utano, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100. "It will better protect our bus operators, give them some peace of mind, and demonstrate that their concerns have been heard." Buses ran on less frequencies. The (B), (W), and (Z) Lines are suspended while other subway lines provide alternate service. Segments along certain lines that normally runs express operates local and segments along certain lines that are cancelled now covered by other lines.

The free rides were put in place to help essential New Yorkers in New York City to get to/from their workplace. The subway system is for essential use only. The agency along with other transit agencies nationwide asking for funding as much as up to $4B or more to service running. Word of advice: If you don’t have to ride the subways, then don’t ride it. Flatten the curve, stop the spread and we’ll have our sense of normalcy back.

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NEW YORK, NY- This past week, two longtime NYCT veterans succumb to complications of COVID-19.  The two NYCT workers are subway conductor Peter Petrassi, and a bus operator, Oliver Cyrus. Petrassi, 49, served 21 years at the MTA as a conductor and most recently in subway operations at a Long Island City office, where 30 employees were told to self-quarantine last week after a colleague tested positive for the disease.
Cyrus, 61, spent 21 years on the job, and was based at the Manhattanville Bus Depot in Harlem. Transport Workers Union Local 100 vice president Richard Davis called him a “quiet, humble man. He was well-liked by all his co-workers. The workers at Manhattanville are all very upset. There’s a somber mood at the depot.” The deaths are likely to spark even more worry among frontline transit workers, who for weeks have raised concerns about a lack of equipment like face masks to protect them from the highly contagious virus.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 president Tony Utano said the transit workers are among the public employees who "have put themselves in harm’s way for the greater good of our City and our society." Hundreds of workers across the MTA have called in sick or been directed to self-quarantine in recent weeks, requiring agency officials to scramble to find enough people to run mass transit service. Officials slashed service this week due to the worker shortage.

At least two transit workers have been hospitalized this week in critical condition with cases of coronavirus, according to several people with knowledge of the outbreak’s impact on the MTA. A bus dispatcher who works at the Fresh Pond Road depot in Ridgewood, Queens, where at least three workers have tested positive for COVID-19, was on a ventilator in St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx this past Thursday. Another train conductor who usually works on the D line was also on a ventilator in Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. The MTA has not released data on the number of coronavirus cases in its workforce since Tuesday, when it said 52 workers were sickened. The TA are in the process of memorial services for the two fallen NYCT veterans.

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MANHATTAN, NY- An MTA worker died and 16 others were injured after flames erupted inside a subway train in Harlem Friday morning. The NYPD previously said it believed the incident to be arson, and detectives are now investigating whether it may be connected to other fires in the transit system. Fire also broke out at 86th and 96th Streets. The fire broke out at 3:18 a.m. Friday at the 110th Street Subway Station at Lenox Avenue.

Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy fire inside the subway station coming from the subway cars. Heavy smoke and high heat confronted firefighters and the fire quickly went to a second alarm. MTA motorman Garrett Goble, 36, was pronounced dead at St Luke's Hospital. Four others were in serious condition. Another 12 people were treated for minor injuries, including five firefighters. A person of interest was questioned Friday but released by the NYPD.

The fire began inside a northbound 2 train as it was entering the 110th Street station, authorities said. The motorman was found dead on the tracks, apparently after evacuating the train that was on fire. Chief Rodney Harrison on Twitter: "The @NYPDnews is asking for the public's assistance identifying the person(s) responsible for setting a fire and causing the death of a MTA motorman.

Here is the Instagram post showcasing the aftermath of the train car and the station (Credit: nyctnostaligia via Instagram):



03/27/2020: An absolutely horrendous fire at Central Park North-110th St this morning. “A 36-year-old MTA worker was killed and at least 16 other people hurt after a fire erupted Friday morning in a subway train in Harlem, according officials and reports. Firefighters responded about 3:20 a.m. for a fire inside a northbound ➋ train at the 110th Street Central Park North station. The train operator, whose identity has not been released, was declared dead at Mount Sinai Hospital, according to WABC. At least three other people were taken to St. Luke’s Hospital. Their conditions were unavailable but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. This is being investigated as a potential arson, due to a string additional fires at 96th St and 86th St on the 7th Avenue Line. ... 📸Credits: nypost.com, Pictures from @vincent.jpeg #R142 #Redbird #1Train #2Train #3Train #IRT #fire #arson #newyorkcitysubway #newyorkcity #nyctnostalgia ...
A post shared by Sean Cade (@nyctnostalgia) on


MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye released a statement saying:


"It is with great sorrow that we share news of the tragic loss of one of our brave colleagues, a New York City Transit train operator who died in the line of duty this morning after a significant fire that occurred on board a train he was operating. Our colleague was a young man who had served the people of New York City at Transit for many years. The entire MTA family mourns his death alongside a grateful city. Our hearts break for his family, loved ones and all those who knew him. The NYPD is actively investigating the incident for criminality. In addition to $2,500 offered by Crime Stoppers and the Police Foundation, the MTA is offering up to $50,000 for information that leads to the arrest, indictment and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this terrible tragedy."

I feel genuinely sorry for this man's family and what they have to go through. It has been a horrible week for the NYCT family. 3 deaths in one week. Its tragic; truly tragic. The station will have to be closed and rebuilt; the R142 cars that got burnt in this incident will have to be scrapped. And to the person that committed this heinous act you won't get away with this mess and you'll regret this. 

Lets get this discussion started; what do you guys think about the stories mentioned above? Please comment down below.











Thursday, March 19, 2020

MTA Suffers Low Ridership During COVID-19 Requesting $4B In Federal Funds + MTA Employees Infected With The Coronavirus

*ORIGINAL POST FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES; REPOSTED BY THE TRANSPORTATION HUB

New York City’s public transportation system, the largest in North America, is seeking a $4 billion federal bailout as the coronavirus pandemic has triggered an extraordinary free fall in ridership and left transit officials facing what is likely to be the worst economic crisis in decades. In a letter on Tuesday to New York’s Congressional delegation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority — which runs the subway, buses and two commuter rails — said ridership had plunged 60 percent on the subway and 49 percent on buses on Monday compared with the same day last year.

Similar steep drops have taken place on other parts of the system: 90 percent on Metro-North Railroad, which serves communities north of New York City; and 67 percent on the Long Island Rail Road during the Tuesday morning rush hour compared to the same day last year. The plea from the public transit system, which is the lifeblood for the region’s economy, could forecast a coming crisis for public transportation agencies nationwide, many of which are also reeling from plummeting ridership and crippling finances just a few weeks into the outbreak in the United States. “The stark reality is that as more people stay home following the advice of medical experts, the M.T.A. is now facing financial calamity,” Patrick J. Foye, chairman of the transit authority, said in the letter.
The authority projects revenue losses of roughly $3.7 billion if ridership trends continue for the next several months, and expects coronavirus-specific expenses, like disinfecting subway cars and stations, to reach around $300 million. “The M.T.A. has already committed to finding $2.8 billion in savings over the next several years,” Mr. Foye said. “No agency of our size can find additional billions in savings equivalent to the damages we have and will sustain as a result of this pandemic.” Responding to the letter Tuesday evening, congressional leaders said they recognized how crucial public transit is to New York and were working to secure federal relief for the agency.

“New York’s subways, trains, and buses are our very lifeblood,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the Senate minority leader. “Senate Democrats are leading the charge to include substantial support for the whole system in any package Congress will next consider to keep our vital public institutions stable and operating.”

State and city officials have said they are not planning to reduce service on the region’s vast transit system, which typically serves around eight million passengers every weekday. They have emphasized that it is important to keep the system operating so health care workers can get to work. But the M.T.A. is particularly vulnerable to the sudden and precipitous economic downturn since it relies on a mix of funding from federal, state and city government all of which are grappling with their own challenges to operate and maintain its system.

“They are a barometer of the regional economy, a much more immediate barometer for things to come,” said Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research group. Revenues from fares and tolls, which contribute around half of the M.T.A.’s operating budget, and dedicated taxes, which provide another third of that budget, are already taking a hit as ridership falls and the pandemic sets off sweeping layoffs and business failures across the city. Officials have urged those who can to avoid subways and buses and enacted sweeping regulations, like closing schools, Broadway theaters, museums, movie houses, bars and allowing restaurants to remain open only for takeout and deliveries, that have all but shut down New York. The draconian measures are meant to curb the spread of the virus in New York City, where the number of confirmed cases climbed to over 1,000 on Tuesday.

Still, the dual need to keep riders away from public transportation to protect the public health, while also keeping the system running to ensure essential workers can get to work has thrust transit agencies like the M.T.A. into a precarious position. “They are performing a social good, but that costs them a lot of money,” Ms. Gelinas said. “They are in a very unique situation in that they cannot and should not cut back in service in response to the shock, so they are stuck with a huge financial burden.”

While it is still too early to say what the long term consequences might be, past financial crises have resulted in significant service cuts and fare hikes. After the 2008 financial crisis, M.T.A. officials slashed bus service, eliminated two subway lines and imposed a 23 percent increase in fares and tolls on bridges and tunnels. In the 1970s, a severe financial slump that brought the city to the brink of bankruptcy led the authority to close two subway lines in Manhattan and the Bronx and reduce service across four lines in Brooklyn and Queens. Last week, M.T.A. officials said they would only consider cutting service if health officials advised it or ridership continued to drop.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

IND Culver Line Weekend Shutdown For Signal Modernization; MTA Rewards Novabus For A Contract Of Manufacturing Up To 500 Buses




BROOKLYN, NY- If you are a rider on the IND Culver (F) Line between Kensington-Church Avenue and Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue during the weekends, then get ready, because your ride is about get interrupted.

Starting March 20th to December 2020 (and even 2021), there will be no (F) train service between Church Avenue and Coney Island. The last stop on all weekend southbound (F) trains will be Church Avenue. Crew members on March 20 will begin installing a communications-based train control (CBTC) system on the F subway line between Church Avenue and Coney Island stations in Brooklyn.
The $253 million project is part of the agency’s Culver Line signal modernization project to replace the 70-year-old block signaling system on the line. CBTC enables continuous updates on train positions and speeds, which will allow for faster and more efficient operations compared with the old system, NYCT officials said in a press release. Work also will include construction of three signal facilities at Ditmas Avenue, Bay Parkway and Avenue X stations.

Crews will build a new relay room to house the new signaling equipment, reconfigure and replace two old interlockings at Avenue X and Ditmas Avenue stations, and add two interlockings south of Church Avenue Station. Work on the F Line will continue into 2021. The Culver Line, along with 8th Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Crosstown, and Queens Boulevard will be CBTC (Communications-Based Train Control) in the first 5 years, as per the NYCT System Modernization Plan.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The MTA now cleans heavily surfaces twice a day at the very least. Major sports events and activities as well as attractions have been either cancelled and/or postponed. SUNY and CUNY have cancelled classes for the remainder of this week.


Friday, March 6, 2020

MTA Cleans Up System To Stop Coronavirus Spread; Water Main Break Near The (L) Line In Brooklyn

*This post is originally for 03/05/2020.

MTA Cleans Up System To Stop Coronavirus Spread

NEW YORK, NY-The MTA has gone full lengths to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The agency dispatched its entire workforce cleaning and disinfecting trains, buses and stations around the clock to stop the deadly coronavirus from spreading, according to a public health expert. But the transit agency’s plan to clean frequently used surfaces in stations once per day and trains and buses every 72 hours is likely the “best they can do” under the circumstances, said Anthony Santella, an associate professor of Public Health at Hofstra University.

As of noon Tuesday, the MTA said transit workers had disinfected 420 subway stations, 1,905 subway cars, 1,974 buses, 300 Long Island Rail Road train cars, 60 percent of Metro-North’s rolling stock and 64 of its 124 stations, Chairman Pat Foye told reporters at a press conference in lower Manhattan. Penn Station and Jamaica; key stops on the LIRR; were also cleaned Monday night, and cleaning is underway at the railroad’s remaining 120 stations, Foye said. The agency is also transmitting a public service announcement across its properties advising riders to wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.

The MTA’s new cleaning regimen comes as two coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the New York City region; a woman who recently traveled to Iran, but did not take public transit since returning, and a Westchester lawyer who commutes into the city. The agency said it does not know if the second confirmed COVID-19 patient or his relatives had taken public transit since contracting the virus. My advice to all my fellow New Yorkers out there is that if you’re sick, please stay home, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly (at least 20 seconds), utilize hand sanitizer, and use your arm as your shield to cover your mouth.