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2013 Transit Year In Review: Derailments, Sandy Recovery Mark Difficult Year For MTA

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TWC News: 2013 Transit Year In Review: Derailments, Sandy Recovery Mark Difficult Year For MTA
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It was a year of challenges for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, from dealing with heavy damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to a deadly commuter train derailment. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

It was the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's deadliest day in more than 20 years, with four killed and dozens injured when a speeding Metro-North train went off the tracks in the Bronx.

The December 1 derailment capped a rough 2013 at the commuter railroad, which faces heavy scrutiny to boost safety after a garbage train derailed in July on the same stretch of tracks.

It's the latest challenge for the MTA, where riders continue to feel the sting of Hurricane Sandy.

Damage from the storm knocked out the R train tube connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan from August until next October, and the G train tube linking Brooklyn to Queens was shut down for 14 weekends.

"I want to be clear about something. Our efforts to fully recover from Sandy are far from over," said MTA Vice Chairman Fernando Ferrer.

The A train to the Rockaways returned in late May, seven months after the storm knocked out the line's link to the rest of the city.

"This was an all-out, seven-month, day-and-night effort to rebuild three-and-a-half miles of the A train service coming across Jamaica Bay," said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast.

The old South Ferry station was pressed back into service in April for 1 train riders, but the new one flooded by 14-and-a-half million gallons of Hurricane Sandy's saltwater remains out of commission through at least 2016.

The price of subway and bus rides went up to $2.50 in March.

More hikes await in 2015 and 2017, but the MTA announced in November that its improved finances will make the increases less than projected.

That improved outlook led the MTA to announce $18 million in service restorations to several bus lines, while extending service on the M and G trains.

Speedier Select Bus Service expanded, adding a second line in the Bronx and the first in Brooklyn.

In October, Manhattan got Bus Time, letting riders track every bus in the borough by text or smartphone.

Technology spread to the subways, too, with wireless service now available at more than 30 stations in Manhattan, and coming to more next year.

What else awaits in 2014? The overdue opening of the Fulton Center and the 7 train extension to the West Side.

Got A Transit Tip?

Do you have a news tip or story idea about the city's transit systems? Send an email to NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez.

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