MTA is improving—but at a cost to you


To the editor:

There are ongoing and future efforts to deal with complaints by various riders and transit advocacy groups concerning problems with MTA NYCT & MTA bus services. [See The Press article] “MTA holds out hope for more buses,” Lisa Herndon, Jan. 26.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit has already awarded contracts for $200 million to purchase and install a new bus radio system along with $150 million for purchase and installation of a new East New York Brooklyn bus command center.  Both the bus radio system and command bus center supports operations of over 6,000 buses providing service in all five boroughs, including Riverdale and the Bronx.   

MTA NYCT as part of the $27 billion 2015-2019 five year capital plan are also in the process of spending $1 billion for purchasing over 1,000 new buses. MTA Bus has programmed $300 million to buy over 400 new buses. Some of these buses will be assigned to routes serving Riverdale and other Bronx neighborhoods.  

There are other projects and plans outlined in both the MTA 2015-2019 Five Year Capital Plan and MTA 2014-2034 Twenty Year Capital Needs Assessment Plan for even more investments to support both the NYCT and MTA bus systems.  All of the above will benefit Riverdale riders who use the Bx1, Bx7, Bx10, Bx 20 local along with BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18 express bus routes. 

What continues to be missing is potential new service options for residents of Riverdale and other communities served by the Metro-North Hudson line to Penn Station.  This could be provided via the Metro-North Hudson line using existing Amtrak Empire Hudson line connections into Penn Station.

In the end, quality and frequency of service is dependent upon secure revenue streams. We all have to contribute—be it at the fare box or tax revenues generated by different levels of government redistributed back to the MTA. 

TANSTAFFL or “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” or in this case a free ride.

Larry Penner 

Larry Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.