May 15, 2017
MTA ANNOUNCES 6-POINT PLAN TO RESTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT OF THE MTA, IMPROVE SYSTEM RELIABILITY AND SERVICE
MTA To Reorganize Senior Management Team; Seek to Advance Legislation to Separate Chairman and CEO Positions
New Improvement Plan Will Expedite Delivery of 750 New Subway Cars, Target Most Frequent Causes of Delays Plaguing More Than 100 Year-Old Transit System
First Phase of Initiative Begins with 8th Avenue Line and at Key South Bronx Bottlenecks
Plan Complements Long-Term Capital Investment
The MTA today is announcing a comprehensive plan to address the top causes of subway delays in order to reduce the disruptions that impact service reliability for customers. The agency will also work to advance legislation this session to separate the Chairman and CEO positions into two, to further strengthen the MTA’s leadership team and leadership structure.
Decades of underinvestment in the century-old New York City subway has led to a system that is excessively vulnerable to failures. While the Capital Program provides critical funding to renew, enhance and expand the system by replacing and upgrading infrastructure for the long-term, this new initiative is a comprehensive and focused plan targeting short-term, achievable service improvements. Additionally, the bifurcating of the Chairman and CEO positions builds on the recent appointments of Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber and Chief Operating Officer Phil Eng, and will create an executive leadership team that is capable of executing the largest Capital Plan in history and implementing a comprehensive plan to improve system reliability and service.
Together, the agency’s leadership will modernize New York’s Transit System for the 21st Century. The MTA Search Committee will direct the recruitment for the Chair and CEO roles.
“Increasing delays are simply unacceptable which is why we have to commit to addressing the immediate problems with all the tools at our disposal. We are implementing long-term capital improvements. But we also need a comprehensive approach that focuses on reducing the system's failures while our capital investment is underway,” said the MTA’s Interim Director Ronnie Hakim. “We know riders are frustrated – we are too – which is why we are embracing this new plan. Attacking the five key causes of subway delays enables New York City Transit to take a targeted approach that can produce results."
The improvement plan targets the key causes of subway system delays, including track and signal issues; sick passengers and police activity; subway car equipment failures; loading and unloading in stations; and bottlenecks that occur at critical points in the system where lines merge. This plan will implement new technologies and programmatic changes based on best practices from around the world.
The first phase of this system-wide initiative will begin immediately on the 8th Avenue corridor from 125th Street to Fulton Street, a total of 19 stations on the A,C,E lines; and at two key hubs in the South Bronx, 149th Street-Grand Concourse and 3rd Avenue-138th Street. There are an average of seven major incidents per month - which delay 50 trains or more - on the 8th Avenue corridor.
This plan will roll out in phases across the 8th Avenue line over the next 6 months, with the MTA introducing individual aspects of the plan on other lines following their debut on the 8th Avenue corridor.
This plan compliments the significant upgrades that are included in the MTA’s record $29.5 billion Capital Plan. The MTA’s Capital Plan includes more than $14 billion for New York City Transit and will create long-term solutions after decades of disinvestment.
MTA IMPROVEMENT PLAN
Building on the recent restructuring of management at the agency, including the appointments of Lieber and Eng, the MTA will work seek to advance legislation this session to separate the Chairman and CEO positions. Splitting the positions allows for strengthening the overall leadership team in order to effectively implement the MTA’s Capital Plan and achieve needed operational improvements.
The MTA has 837 track miles, over 1,600 mainline switches, and 13,000 signals. The system is built to be fail-safe, which means that when a sensor is tripped, all lights go red and everything stops. It keeps people safe, but it also causes delays. In order to limit switch failures, signal failures, and rail defects that cause outages, the MTA is taking four steps: a new and intense preventive maintenance program that aggressively targets components that are most prone to failure, a new initiative to decrease response time when problems do occur; an accelerated move to the use of longer rails with fewer joints that therefore have fewer points of potential failure; and more effective track clearing to reduce track fires.
The MTA is also launching a public awareness campaign, including on-train and in-station announcements and posters to encourage use of EMTs in stations so passengers can get the help they need, as fast as possible without disrupting train service. This element of the program is slated to launch in the fall.
Allowing customers to board and unload trains in a streamlined manner is key to reducing “dwell” time (the amount of time a train needs to stay in a station). The MTA is testing a number of different strategies that will allow staff to better communicate to passengers the location of less crowded areas within stations and on arriving trains. The MTA will improve wayfinding on the platform and train cars themselves to distribute passengers more evenly. The MTA is also introducing new training procedures and protocols for platform controllers. Platform controllers will be more visible to customers, provided with new technology, and be trained to better inform passengers about station conditions.
The subway system has numerous points where lines merge and diverge, making the system remarkably flexible and providing customers with many options to get to their destinations. However, as ridership has grown and the MTA has increased the number of trains in the system, these merge points can present bottlenecks, delaying trains and slowing trip times. This program includes more active management of these merge points, utilizing experienced, dedicated service managers and better technology to ensure trains move quickly through hub merge points to avoid delays.