The MTA is redesigning subway cars — adding wider doors, flip-up seats and a more open layout, to ease overcrowding in the transit system. NY1's Jose Martinez has more.
For a self-proclaimed "car guy" Governor Cuomo keeps finding ways to talk about the subway system.
"Because there is a new emphasis on the MTA," Cuomo said.
On Monday, he was at it again, joining transit officials to tout improvements riders will see over the next several years, including redesigned cars to ease overcrowding in a system strained by close to six million riders a day.
"Crowding, you hear about it all the time," Cuomo said. "My daughters were home for the weekend, they came up to Westchester and I got the lecture about the MTA. I keep telling them, 'Call Tom, call Tom, leave Dad alone."
The next generation of subway cars will feature 58-inch wide door openings an increase of eight inches, or 16%.
"One of the things that this provides is the opportunity for people to move in and out of the cars much more freely," said President of New York City Transit said Ronnie Hakim.
It's hardly the agency's only initiative to boost capacity.
With subway ridership at its highest level in decades, officials say the need to make use of every inch of space on subway cars is a must.
The new cars will also include "flip seats" that can go up when no one is sitting there.
And as many as 750 of the more than 1,000 cars being ordered will replace the doors between cars with an open, gangway-style design, similar to the accordion-like space on the longest city buses.
"Much like an articulated bus now, you can just walk from one side to the other," Cuomo said. "So people can have much more movement among the cars themselves."
As part of the MTA's new Capital Program, 31 stations will be overhauled. But in a first, the stations will be closed for six months at a time, which Cuomo says will save time and money.
"Rather than patching and patching and patching and these little construction jobs wherever you go, close the station for a period of time, rebuild it," Cuomo said.
The first three stations renovated will be Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street and Bay Ridge Avenue, all on the R line in Brooklyn.
They'll get covered entrances, street-level announcements and glass instead of iron bars in the station.
"These are things that our customers want, and we want to provide them for them," NYCT President Hakim said.
What riders may not want is six months of having to walk to the next-closest stop.