Glimpse: NYC Harbor

“Glimpse” is a new PYC series for on-the-go readers interested in concise, image-laden posts…

Water is NYC’s 6th borough. Our water defines our social, economic, political, environmental, and physical infrastructures. Think about it: NYC would definitely not be NYC without our islands of density and diversity, interconnected by world famous structures, and interconnected to the world by one of the world’s largest natural harbors.

Vision 2020, NYC’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, seeks to improve our 6th borough:




And now… 

… Here’s some waterfront for you: 


Upper New York Bay

Lower Manhattan

Lower Manhattan and the Hudson River

Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River

Brooklyn Bridge

Statue of Liberty

Jamaica Bay

Breezy Point

Sea Gate

Coney Island

Western Queens and East River

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Lower Manhattan and East River

Midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge

Upper New York Bay and Brooklyn Bridge

Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge

Jamaica Bay and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park

(All photographs taken by Rayn Riel)


Courtesy of JORDAN FRAADE at NextCity:

For a city built on islands, where getting stuck on a bridge or in a tunnel is a routine part of life, New York’s ferry system is skeletal at best. The city’s two major operators have a combined daily ridership of about 100,000. Ferry schedules and fares are not integrated with the train and bus systems that provide service for the vast majority of the city’s commuters. And huge portions of the city’s 520 miles of waterfront remain ignored by water transit.

Naturally, transportation planners see an untapped market. In February, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed the creation of a ferry system serving all five boroughs, promising fast service and relatively low upfront capital costs, with rides costing the same as subway or bus fare. The main transportation networks are chronicallyunderfunded and overcrowded, and the city wouldn’t have to spend money to acquire any expensive rights-of-way for the boats. Plus, anecdotal evidence suggests people really love being on boats.

The question experts seem to be asking isn’t “Are ferries a good idea?” but rather “How can ferries fit into the city’s overall transit network?” Joan Byron of the Pratt Center for Community Development believes that in light of the rapid rezoning and development that New York’s waterfront has seen in the last 20 years, waterborne transit is more needed than ever. Pointing to recently released data showing that “some of the subway stations that have shown the biggest percent increases in ridership are … the first station the train hits when it comes out of the East River tunnel,” she holds up ferries as a way to relieve the subways’ space crunch.

Byron talked about those stats last week as part of a panel on ferry transit at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s 2015 “floating conference.” Her co-panelist, Douglas Adams of the MWA, filled in some of the essential numbers of the ferry plan: Five routes and 24 stations, rolled out over 2017 and 2018, with an estimated 4.5 million annual riders once the system is complete. A major administration talking point is the system’s low cost: $55 million to construct landings, and $10 million to $20 million to operate the ferries annually. Calling this a “rounding error” when compared to the city’s other transportation costs, Adams said that the ferry system would require a smaller subsidy per passenger than both the Staten Island Ferry and the Long Island Rail Road.

While traditional ferry services have taken New Yorkers on point-to-point trips for decades, Roberta Weisbrod, of the Worldwide Ferry Safety Organization, pointed out the shift with this relatively new approach. “Over the last decade or so,” Weisbrod said, “ferries are becoming linear urban ferries,” with multiple stops along a fixed route. They don’t replace bridges so much as they complement existing transportation structures.

De Blasio’s plan largely follows this model with a few exceptions, the most notable of which is the Rockaway Ferry. That ferry served as a crucial transit link between Manhattan and the Queens beach community of the Rockaways, which was especially hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy in November 2012. Direct subway access between the Rockaways and the rest of the city was suspended for seven months after the storm, and last fall the de Blasio administration announced it would end the ferry service, which incurred a per-ride public subsidy of $25-30. The Mayor was heavily criticized for the decision, but under his current ferry proposal, the route would be reinstated and its high cost offset by greater system-wide revenue.

Technology for such a system exists. Weisbrod pointed to GTFS, a comprehensive system for coordinating public-transit schedules that’s already used in cities around the world. The MTA’s schedules for trains and buses are synced with Google Maps; adding ferries would be relatively easy. Sam Schwartz, the traffic engineer behind the Move NY plan, said that another key to integrating ferries with a citywide transit system would be to place a Citi Bike dock at every terminal. (Adams responded that 16 of 21 new ferry landings would be served by the city’s bike-share system.)

Notes of caution were sounded, of course, with alarm bells related to system-wide upkeep as well as gentrification.

Gene Russianoff, of advocacy group Straphangers Campaign, admitted that at first, “I and some other groups in the transportation community reacted a little sourly” to the ferry proposal, suspecting that a shiny new fleet of boats would take attention off maintenance for subways and buses. “Performance measures and metrics are really critical to evaluating projects,” Russianoff said.

Joan Byron pointed out that many of the city’s waterfront neighborhoods became fully gentrified as a result of Bloomberg-era rezonings. Working to preserve equitable access to the waterfront needs to be a priority if such changes will benefit everyone.

Still, the one elected official on the panel didn’t need convincing. With the Manhattan skyline shimmering in the background as the conference floated along the water, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, hoisted a flag of fancy. The chair of the council’s transportation committee proposed an additional West Side ferry network, with service from Battery Park to his home district of Inwood, and suggested that farmers from the Hudson Valley could use ferries to come sell their produce in his Upper Manhattan district. “With the Mayor saying the cost of getting on the ferry should be the same as using a Metrocard,” Rodriguez said, “we as a city have to get on board.”


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27 Comments on “Glimpse: NYC Harbor”

  1. Alex August 2, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

    NYC Subway is the 6th Borough.

    Owner City of New York

    Locale New York City
    Transit type Rapid transit

    Number of lines 34 lines[note 1]
    (1 under construction)
    24 services
    (1 planned)[note 2]

    Number of stations 469[1] (MTA total count)[note 3][note 4]
    422[note 4][1] (when compared tointernational standards)
    4 under construction[note 5]
    14 planned[note 3]

    Daily ridership 5,650,610 (weekdays, 2015)[1]
    3,309,731 (Saturdays, 2015)[1]
    2,663,418 (Sundays, 2015)[1]

    Annual ridership 1,762,565,419 (2015)[1]


    Began operation October 27, 1904
    (first underground section)
    July 3, 1868
    (first elevated, rapid transit operation)
    October 9, 1863
    (first railroad operation)[note 6]

    Operator(s) New York City Transit Authority(NYCTA)

    Number of vehicles 6,407[1]

    Peak hours: 2–5 minutes[5]
    Off-peak: 10–20 minutes[5]

    System length 233.5 mi (375.8 km)[6][7]
      (route length)
    660 mi (1,060 km)[8][9]
      (track length, revenue)
    846 mi (1,362 km)[8]
      (track length, total)
    Track gauge
    4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)standard gauge[8]

    625V (DC) third rail[8] (600V third rail for some lines)
    Average speed 17 mph (27 km/h)[10]

    Top speed 55 mph (89 km/h)[10]


  2. Alex August 3, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    • The letters O and I are too easily confused with the digits 0 and 1, respectively.[288][289]
    • The letter K was used until the late 1980s to denote services on the IND Eighth Avenue Line, and earlier on the BMT Jamaica Line, and thus is not preferred. H was the Rockaway Park Shuttle’s internal route designator.[288]
    • The letters P, U and Y are more easily confused with common words.[289]

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) provides local and express bus, subway, and regional rail service in Greater New York, and operates multiple toll bridges and tunnels in New York City.
    Locale New York City
    Long Island
    Lower Hudson Valley
    Coastal Connecticut
    Transit type Commuter rail, local and express bus, subway, bus rapid transit
    Number of lines
    16 commuter rail routes
    5 Metro-North routes
    11 LIRR routes
    25 rapid transit routes
    24 subway routes
    1 Staten Island Railway route
    310 bus routes
    238 local routes
    62 express routes
    10 Select Bus Service routes
    Daily ridership
    8,658,764 (weekday; all modes)

    MTA Long Island Rail Road
    MTA Metro-North Railroad
    MTA New York City Subway
    MTA Regional Bus Operations
    MTA Bus
    MTA New York City Bus
    MTA Staten Island Railway
    Chief executive Thomas F. Prendergast (CEO & Chairman)[1]
    Headquarters 347 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
    Began operation 1965
    Number of vehicles 2,352 commuter rail cars
    6,344 subway cars
    63 SIR cars
    5,777 buses

    Example of regional rail — Metro-North and NJT operate same tracks!

    Suffern is a train station in Suffern, New York, United States, controlled by New Jersey Transit[4] and also used by the Metro-North Railroad. Metro-North’s Port Jervis Line joins New Jersey Transit’s Main Line at this station. These two lines offer service (usually one-seat) from Port Jervis to Hoboken, New Jersey and New York City via Secaucus Junction. Most trains arriving from Port Jervis and headed to New York/Hoboken during rush-hour do not make any stops between Suffern and Secaucus, though a few also stop at Ramsey Route 17 and Ridgewood on the way. The same is true of trains coming back in the evening rush-hour.

    The current station was built in 1941 by the Erie Railroad and replaced an older station near the site of the current New York State Thruway overpass. That older station, built in 1887, was demolished in 1941 when the new station was built. A Wells Fargo Express Mail depot built in 1908 occupies the site and is now a museum.[5]

    Suffern is the only station used by New Jersey Transit in New York that does not have Metro North-styled signage trackside, instead employing NJT’s black and white signs.


  3. Alex August 3, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Owner Metropolitan Transportation Authority (bus)
    City of New York (subway)
    Locale New York City
    Transit type Subways, Buses and BRT
    Number of lines 230 bus
    24 subway
    Chief executive Veronique Hakim
    Headquarters 130 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
    Began operation 1953
    Operator(s) NYCT Department of Buses (bus)
    NYCT Department of Subways (subway)
    SIRTOA (Staten Island Railway)
    Number of vehicles 4,525 buses
    6,344 subway cars
    63 SIR cars


  4. Alex August 3, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    Chartered by the New York State Legislature in 1965 as the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (MCTA) it was initially created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to purchase and operate the bankrupt Long Island Rail Road. The MCTA dropped the word “Commuter” from its name and became the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in 1968 when it took over operations of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) (now MTA New York City Transit (NYCT)) and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) (now MTA Bridges and Tunnels (B&T)).[2]

    The agency also entered into a long-term lease of the Penn Central Transportation’s Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven commuter rail lines,[2] contracting their subsidized operation to Penn Central, until that company’s operations were folded into Conrail in 1976. The MTA took over full operations in 1983, as the Metro-North Commuter Railroad.[2] Governor Rockefeller appointed his top aide, Dr. William J. Ronan, as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Ronan served in this post until 1974.

    (NYCT Bus)
    (NYCT Bus in Regional Bus Operations)


  5. Alex August 3, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system that serves four of the five boroughs of New York City, New York: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.[1] Its operator is the New York City Transit Authority, which is itself controlled by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York. In 2015, an average of 5.65 million passengers used the system daily, making it the busiest rapid transit system in the United States and the seventh busiest in the world.[2][3]

    The present New York City Subway system is composed of three formerly separate systems that merged in 1940: the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), the Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT), and the Independent Subway System (IND). The privately held IRT, founded in 1902, constructed and operated the first underground railway line in New York City.[4] The opening of the first line on October 27, 1904 is commonly cited as the opening of the modern New York City Subway, although some elevated lines of the IRT and BMT that were initially incorporated into the New York City Subway system but then demolished predate this. The oldest sections of elevated lines still in operation were built in 1885. The BMT, founded in 1923 and also privately held, was formed from the bankruptcy of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company. The IND was created by the City of New York in 1921 to be a municipally owned competitor of the two private companies. Unification in June 1940 by the New York City Board of Transportation brought the three systems under one operator. The New York City Transit Authority, created in 1953 to be a public benefit corporation that acquired the rapid transit and surface line (buses and streetcars) infrastructure of the Board of Transportation, remains the operator of the New York City Subway today.

    The official count of stations is 469; however, this tabulation classifies some transfer stations as two or more stations, which are called “station complexes” within the nomenclature of the New York City Subway. If station complexes are counted as one station each, the number of stations is 422. 32 such station complexes exist. The reason for the higher count generally lies in the history of the New York City Subway: IRT, BMT and IND stations are usually counted separately, particularly if their lines are not parallel and are adjacent to or on another level to each other. Regardless of how stations are counted, the New York City Subway has the largest number of rapid transit stations in the world.

    Included in the station counts is one station that is temporarily closed: Cortlandt Street on the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line. The station closed when it was destroyed during the September 11, 2001 attacks. There are numerous other New York City Subway stations that are closed, many of which stem from the demolition of elevated lines once operated by the IRT and the BMT that were made largely but not completely redundant to underground lines subsequently constructed. The newest New York City Subway station is 34th Street – Hudson Yards, which opened on September 13, 2015.

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is currently building three new New York City Subway stations as part of the Second Avenue Subway, a long-deferred project intended to relieve congestion on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 5 6 trains), the busiest rapid transit corridor in the United States. The stations will be located on Second Avenue at 72nd, 86th and 96th streets.

    Stations that share identical street names are disambiguated by the line name and/or the cross street each is associated with. For example, “125th Street station” can refer to four separate stations: 125th Street on the IND Eighth Avenue Line (A B C D trains), the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line (1 train), the IRT Lenox Avenue Line (2 3 trains), and the IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 5 6 trains).[5] This situation occurs numerous times.


  6. Albert August 8, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Moving to NY is hard!
    Finding an apartment, dealing with the roaches… learning how to take subway, all about the boroughs…

    train changes and BOOM. uptown, downtown, swiping metrocard, letting people off train first, bodegas, the grid…


    • Sammy August 22, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

      capacity can be increased with fewer seats, fewer poles for holding on, wider doors that only reopen locally if it is held so no one holds doors elsewhere (local recycle! very important!), slimmer people, no strollers or bags…lol! also, get rid of delays with no derailments, armed passengers, suicidal people, vandalism, disorderly people, signal problems… improving communications, power, lighting, ventilation, depots, inventory for maintenance, long-term trends, data data data, solutions to improve maintenance/operations…


  7. tinker August 20, 2016 at 11:41 pm #

    tourists call it the ‘green line’ instead of 4 5 6 or irt lexington. Hah! and they don’t understand boroughs, boro presidents, or that the subway is 24/7, how to swipe… but, nyc so great! bars open till 4am, subways open till forever… the city of the world!


  8. Kalino August 24, 2016 at 1:17 pm #


    No wonder Russia is not even colder… what a big country… stretches from Norway to North Korea!


  9. Solaris August 29, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

    According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’â„¢s 2008 Annual Report, over 68,000 employees work for the network, which is North America’â„¢s largest public transportation organisation. Employees are allocated in seven different branches: New York City Transit (49,009), Long Island Rail Road (6,806), Long Island Bus (1,117), Metro-North Railroad (5,917), Bridges and Tunnels (1,775), Capital Construction (129) and Bus Company (3,322).

    with all of these employees, the system surely could be so much BETTER! as an example – the benches are so disgusting. easily can repaint, make them nice and artistic…


  10. Nexus September 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    We need more pools! Floating pools… aquaponics…


    • Rex September 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

      Like the other stations on the original IRT subway, it was initially built for trains shorter in length than the standard eight to ten cars used by the subway. Eventually, all of the other stations were either lengthened or closed, leaving 145th Street as one of only two original IRT stations that still cannot accommodate ten-car trains (the other being the South Ferry loop station). Directly north of the station is a diamond crossover for the approach to the northern terminal of the 3 train at Harlem – 148th Street. Directly south of the station is the 142nd Street Junction with the IRT White Plains Road Line. The proximity of the switches in either direction is the reason why the station was not lengthened, although it would be inexpensive to move the switch immediately to the north of the station.


  11. Poe September 17, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    Everything these days runs on oil, electricity… Our parks, our trees, to be maintained need fertilizer, based on petro products for nitrogen runoff… Water water water… need to conserve it. Water barrels for rooftop collection


  12. Gor September 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

    The IRT built their tunnels narrower, probably it was cheaper, but BMT built them wider, to fit more passengers. Now, B Division can’t fit in the A Division, and A Division doesn’t go into B Division for revenue service since the gap at platforms would be too wide.


    The Anatomy of a New York Subway Tunnel
    By Hannah Frishberg MARCH 12, 2014

    Being below the water table, the subway requires more than 700 pumps to remove an average of 13 million gallons of water a day out of the underground. It is estimated that if maintenance ceased for a mere 36 hours, the tunnels would fill with water. 150 more years of neglect and the subway would be transformed into a labyrinth of fast flowing streams, the station ceilings collapsing with the ubiquitous platform columns which also support the streets above. As New York’s underground disintegrated, it would take the aboveground down with it.

    As it is, not just constant maintenance but a massive amount of electricity is required to keep the trains up and running. Both alternating and direct current are used in tandem to operate signals, lighting, auxiliary equipment, ventilation, and the trains themselves. 2,500 miles of cable pass under 7,651 manholes throughout the city, distributing nearly 500,000 kilowatts through the system during peak hours. In a given year, the subway uses 1.8 billion kilowatt hours — that’s 18 bolts of lightning.

    This power is supplied to the trains via overhead wires or the electrified third rail; a wheel, brush, or sliding shoe carries the power from the rail to the train’s electric motor. The third rail carries 625 volts of electricity, enough to fry anyone who so much as pisses on it, let alone touches it.

    The rolling stock (the subway cars themselves) vary in size based on whether they were originally built by the privately owned Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) or the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT).

    An extensive signal system uses colored lights, infrared sensors, and short-circuits created by the cars’ wheels to prevent crashes. In the original system, train conductors needed a key to reset stop signals in order to proceed (hence the phrase keying by). It is thus that the longest lines with the oldest signal systems are the most often delayed.

    So despite every strap-hanger claiming that their local line is the worst, it is in fact F train riders who take the cake — signal delays and malfunctions made the orange line the most delayed of 2013.

    Finally, there are the rails themselves. Made from 39-foot lengths of carbon steel, each rail is 5.5 inches high and 2.5 inches wide. Rolling stock weighing up to 400 tons run them all day, every day, in temperatures ranging from 24 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, with some sections exposed to the elements year round.

    In order to monitor their condition, “geometry trains” travel along the tracks using mounted lasers on their front undersides to take measurements and allow employees to order repairs of any section of track more than 1.25 inches out of alignment.

    The New York City subway is undeniably a feat of engineering, requiring double the annual income of riders’ fares to run. It is the crux of this city, a frequent subject of unbridled obsession, and a subject on which the detail to be studied often feels crushingly infinite.

    Yet many, if not most, of us are blissfully happy to ride it without any idea of its functioning. The anatomy of the subway is an electric secret, fully understood only by those who dare walk its tracks and feel its current.


  13. Alexis October 11, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    The harbor made NY the biggest city in the US. One of the largest natural harbors in the world. And the Hudson River brought the city to the Erie Canal and the Midwest and South. Now the city has lost some of its industry but it remains an economic powerhouse. The US cannot compete for low wage manufacturing anymore. We are too expensive, and China has been opened for decades. In the 50s, Europe was devastated, Asia was closed, Africa had no infrastructure and was unstable… There is a lot more competition now


  14. Jimbo October 20, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    rush hour, weekend, evening, late night, midday, subway is there for us. it’s the railroad of nyc and it even has former long distance railroads in it. the lirr rockaway branch, the dyre avenue line (westchester railroad), all the coney island railroads… so much history humming on our railroad.


  15. Kim October 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

    FASTRACK is complicated. All the labor agreements, union contracts, service changes and notices, schedule… A lot of coordination needed to keep everything maintained… To keep the harbor from coming into the tracks. lol

    And, the W is back soon! Will need to also, change all the schedules, rolling stock directives, signage, policies, announcements, maps, etc etc.

    Coordination between agencies, I’m sure is difficult. But we’ve got a new SBS to LGA, which involved coordination between DOT, PA, railroads, NYCT…

    We got stations built on NYCHA property…

    And we connect subway and commuter railroad hubs…

    Keep it up!


  16. Fredddd November 3, 2016 at 9:37 am #



  17. Ambassador November 14, 2016 at 5:50 am #

    You can thank the harbor for Hurricane Sandy!

    The M and L riders are gonna have a tough time soon… M, will be shut down in phases to repair viaducts. First phase, they won’t run service at all, since it will disconnect the M from a switch to turn it around, second phase, they can run shuttle to the yard and bi-directional since it won’t go back to mainline. But they will need eminent domain, maybe, to get some people out of their homes for repairs to the viaduct.

    Once that’s done, the L can be started. Tube reconstruction, more L service, the limit is apparently the power supply so they’re redoing some electrical substations. But I think they should also run the L in manhattan as a shuttle, if it needs to be repaired, just repair them on the tracks like the U55 in Berlin. I guess in Berlin, they can take the trains out of service with a crane and they don’t want a train to get stuck on the L… plus, I guess they are making station improvements? I don’t know. Would be faster to improve with no service, no flagging, no adjacent track flagging, etc. No rolling stock, probationary issues, turnover issues, train registers, supplements, complexity, delays, extra costs and crews and trainings and headways and schedules and all that complexity… probably complex union rules…


    • Jlo November 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

      Sandy really wreaked havoc on the subway. The r32s would have been retired by now, but they need it because they don’t have enough trains; at rush hour, yards are emptied except for defect trains! Some tunnels, some stations (downtown), worse than others. L tunnel needs to be completely closed, for instance, whereas the 4/5 and A/C can just be shut down on weekends. So all of these service disruptions are very confusing, probably decreasing ridership, even though ATS on the A Division makes it a bit easier since the countdown clocks show accurate information regardless, announce to stand back and mind the gap when trains enter, etc. Luckily, the subway is so flexible, so many switches and tracks and options for service reroute. But, I think that maybe they can just shut down the trains on nights, so workers can get more done, stop getting paid to stand around and flag while trains pass, will have fewer financial constraints. But, I guess nyc never sleeps, and just like fare increases not being distance-based or peak fare based, it is hard for it to shut down, since it is so complicated, since there is no physical way to close stations or check that no one is still there, etc.

      Subway is so inelastic, but fares kept low due to politics. Commuter railroads have peak fares, because it is a lot more pronounced, but subways… maybe the metrocard can’t even be programmed for that.

      L train will hopefully be better once the tunnels are reopened, with new entrances and power substations so capacity can be increased. (The second avenue subway substations are in those ventilation buildings… they should sell the air rights for those things.)


      • Jlo November 21, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

        Also, the L can’t be kept running in manhattan while tubes are closed because there won’t be access to a yard. Car equipment is not going to be able to maintain them without shop access. Also, the L uses newer cars for cbtc, requiring computers and heavy equipment. They can’t bring older, simpler trains on those tracks because they got rid of the signals on the track since it is now cbtc. If they can’t keep the escalators and gap fillers running, imagine how they’d maintain a train without a yard! Or platform doors, common elsewhere, which would reduce track trash, improve safety, probably reduce dwells, etc. (They could put ads on the platform doors to help pay for it. The stations are clean, I find, but the tracks are dirty and the over all condition – leaky tiles, chipped paint – is what makes the system look bad.)

        Dwells are a big concern, I feel maybe if the stations were better designed, dwells would be reduced. It is not just about if it is a 4 car, 8 car, 10 car… it’s about the columns, entrances/exits, even lighting.

        there are 2 million jobs in the CBD, and add hotels, hospitals, universities, with 4/5 commuters taking transit, there’s around 5.5 million trips each weekday! so we need to get dwells under control.


      • Trashtalk November 28, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

        For many moons, I have wondered why the NYC subway is so dirty. The stations themselves are alright, but the condition is poor — leaky tiles, chipped paint — and all that water on the tracks catches garbage and makes it hard for it to get removed.

        Unlike European systems, which shut down for cleaning and often use contractors, paid by incentives for cleanliness, the NYC Subway is open 24/7, and governed by union rules. New Yorkers “snack”, and “politely” discard their trash along columns or benches, if there isn’t a can nearby, and there often aren’t enough cans because the stations get so crowded, I guess it would impede flow.

        So the wind from trains blows trash onto tracks, and paper catchers sometimes catch it, if it is not a wet track where it gets stuck, or it blows into the tunnel. The vacuum trains don’t go slow enough to pick up trash since they cause delays, and even subway employees throw their garbage out, especially at terminal stations where car equipment cleans stations. And they also throw out urine bottles, lol.

        The station cleaners don’t care if the track is dirty, and track people don’t care if the station is dirty. Station cleaners power wash the stations and all the muck goes on the tracks. Even the subway yards are dirty, why? Employees litter too.

        Maybe they need trash compactors, like they have in business improvement districts, which save money because the trash is not collected as often, and it alerts the BID when it is full. (Though sanitation dept still has to remove the bags due to unions/politics.) They should also throw out the homeless people.

        The PATH train has the same customers, 24/7, the same types of track beds that are relatively easy to clean, but it is a lot cleaner. Why? They ban food and drinks. Maybe we should do that for the subway too? I dont know.


  18. stupidmta December 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

    Planned work is so poorly managed. Conductors make wrong announcements, platform signs are often wrong or missing, station agents do not help, no one informs anyone… service is so bad yet the unions want even more money — from YOUR fares!

    The MTA is not an accountable place. The culture is toxic. Back when they were private companies, the city forced them to extend out into farmland. There were no highways back then. Trains decongested Manhattan. Now, the political will is gone, there are no incentives, everything is bureaucratic and lethargic. Does anyone there even focus on improving things, or just trying to make their lives easier with big pensions and fat checks? Get platform screen doors, cbtc signaling, new trains with wider doors and open-gangways, change the schedules and reduce all the rules – from flagging to construction rules – to get things faster, stop bowing down to the unions, stop making signal changes, and get going now! Cut costs, solve problems.

    Yes, they have made some progress… some new connections between stations, like Court Square… but the building boom there will soon be too much for the trains to handle!

    Honestly, it’s all been tried before… BMT used to have open-gangways!


    • also December 3, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

      they should have more announcements on platforms, or if no train is running, tape it off!

      no wonder weekend ridership is declining… people will use the trains to go to work, there’s around 4 million jobs in NYC, so weekday ridership (swipes) around 6 million…

      meanwhile, cost of living keeps rising, and cost of construction for keeping up with demand is also rising… the new subway station (hudson yards) probably requires a lot more people to maintain it than most stations, it is not sustainable. employee count probably back up to pre-recession levels, with worse service!

      Cross platform transfers are relatively common in NYC Subway, which is quite unique. But, so are so many merges, and delays from it. The longer the line, the more opportunities for delays. Schedules are supposed to adjust for merges, but something often happens to screw it up.


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