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MTA Takes Heat for Surge in Subway Delays;  Cuomo & DeBlasio Remain Mum  

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at the opening of the Second Avenue subway

According to the New York Times, there has been a surge in subway delays and problems and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been increasing its efforts to fix the problem.

In recent years, subway delays have increased with now more than 70,000 delays every month—up from 28,000 per month in 2012, reports the Times.

Overcrowding, which keeps the trains stuck in their stations, and ancient infrastructure that is failing, are the two chief guilty components for being the main source of the delays, says the Times.

Just in March, overcrowding was to blame for nearly 30,000 subway delays, which is about 38 percent of all delays; also the failing infrastructure, specifically the signal system which dates back to the 1930s, could take half a century and $20 billion to upgrade, reports the Times.

According to the Times, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo controls the subway, as opposed to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who many people believe is responsible for the failing system. Although the ‘state-run’ MTA oversees the city’s subways, buses and commuter railroads, Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio have stayed fairly quiet about the worsened service, reports the Times.

“Governor Cuomo shows up to open the Second Avenue subway, but he’s missing in action for the day-to-day disaster that transit riders are experiencing,” said John Raskin, the executive director of Riders Alliance, an advocacy group.

The Times reports that the MTA recently announced a six-point plan to put into place instant repairs on the Eight Avenue lines, which if proven to be successful will be implemented into the rest of the system. Some aspects of the plan include increasing the number of rapid response teams to fix track problems and assigning EMTs at five stations to respond to passengers in need of medical assistance, says the Times.

In terms of a long-term plan, the MTA is working on increasing the capacity of subway cars by buying new subway cars which are designed to fit 10 percent more passengers, and they are also hoping to extend the Second Avenue Subway line to 125th Street in Harlem, reports the Times.

The MTA has also raised the fares of a subway pass every two years, in order to keep up with the rising costs of the failing system, says the Times. Many advocacy groups and even elected officials have called on Mayor de Blasio to seek out a program for reduced fares for low-income New Yorkers, reports the Times.

“The M.T.A. keeps fares as low as possible while providing safe, reliable service,” said Beth DeFalco, a spokeswoman for the MTA, who cited how the agency subsidizes fares for students and people 65 and older, says the Times.

By: Gene Wilkenson

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