Here's the transit union's plan to rescue the MTA
With the transit system in a state of emergency, the workers who know it best have come up with a rescue plan of their own. NY1Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has the story.
When it comes to the ailing subway system, there are promises aplenty.
"Change and improvement must come, and it must come now,"
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said June 29.
"I'm going to focus on this more," Mayor Bill de Blasip said June 15.
But Friday, Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 gave NY1 its plan for fixing the subways. It calls for undoing cuts to signal inspections and car maintenance in hopes of cutting into delays.
"The chickens come home to roost every time you defer maintenance cycles," TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said. "The day-to-day reliability of the system is suffering right now because of those maintenance deferrals."
The TWU's "10 Point Work Boots on the Ground Plan" says signals should be inspected once a month as they were two decades ago, rather than once every 90 days as they are today.
"Because if you have a sticking signal or there's a broken signal, there's a possibility that you can have trains running into each other," TWU Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips said.
And with an aging fleet whose oldest cars date to the mid-1960s, the union said major parts and systems maintenance should be scheduled every six years instead of seven.
The union's plan can be seen as self-serving: it would require more jobs.
Still, transit watchdog Gene Russianoff said the TWU has a point when it comes to the MTA's upkeep of subway cars that have run years longer than projected.
"Clearly, they're running some of them far too frequently and not inspecting at the same level of frequency that they should," said Russianoff, the staff attorney of the Straphangers Campaign.
The plan isn't limited to the subways, though; it also calls for improving bus service that could help relieve pressure on the rails.
And the union, which is close to the governor, said the city should reimburse the MTA the $500 million that the agency spends each year on discounted fares for seniors and students. That would free up an equal amount of money for maintenance and repairs.
"If Mayor de Blasio stepped up, reimbursed the money that the MTA is spending right now every week providing these services, the money could be used directly for maintenance and providing day-to-day reliability improvements," Samuelsen said.
But neither City Hall nor the MTA responded to requests for comment on the union's plan.