MTA Subway Action Plan Funded, Boosting Car Overhaul Rate

The busiest U.S. transit agency will be fully staffing its two car overhaul shops 24/7 and will now fully rehabilitate more than 1,300 cars per year.

MTA, the busiest transit agency that serves New York City, will be fully staffing its two car overhaul shops 24/7 and will now fully rehabilitate more than 1,300 cars per year in them, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota announced April 6. They said full funding of the $836 million Subway Action Plan has been secured in the FY 2019 state budget, allowing for more hiring and a plan to rehab nearly 40 percent more subway cars in the shops than in previous years.

"The subway system is the lifeblood of New York City, and the newly fully funded Subway Action Plan is essential to deliver a mass transit system of the caliber that New York's economy and people require and deserve," Cuomo said. "Enhancing the reliability of subway cars leads to fewer delays and better performance for riders, and we are determined to further modernize the system quicker than had ever previously been thought possible."

The car rehabilitation efforts include a focus on subway car doors - the most problematic element of the cars and which are the most likely to lead to delays. New York City Subway car doors open and close 7 million times a day across the system; increased staffing will allow New York City Transit to continue to focus on repair, replacement, and testing of key door components to prevent car-related delays. The shops also are using increased staffing to ramp up HVAC repairs.

"The MTA's new leadership team was challenged with stabilizing a system that had dealt with decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, and with the full funding of the Subway Action Plan, we will be able to accomplish that mission," Lhota said.

"This is part of the system the public never sees: the car barns and overhaul shops where thousands of transit workers spend their working lives. The work that goes on behind the scenes is absolutely critical to restoring reliability," Transport Workers Union International President John Samuelsen said. "Gov. Cuomo took ownership of the problem and what needed to be done. He showed true leadership where others tried to duck and run."

Tony Utano, president of TWU Local 100, said, "Subway trains carry so many riders, and travel so many miles in service, they really take a beating. We will now have more workers doing more inspections and repairs. The trains will be more reliable. It's fairly simple but also hugely important. Gov. Cuomo deserves a lot of credit for not only providing half the funding, but also for ensuring the city met its responsibility."

MTA will begin receiving the funding in April and will receive the full funding by the end of 2018. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is North America's largest transportation network, serving a population of 15.3 million people in the 5,000-square-mile area fanning out from New York City through Long Island, southeastern New York State, and Connecticut. The agency's subways, buses, and railroads provide 2.73 billion trips each year.