It’s a new year, but the main mission of the MTA remains the same: to move New York forward with safe, reliable and profitable service. Each of these points is of equal importance.
I’ll start with safety, which is the number one concern for current and returning riders according to our latest customer survey. Safety must be a priority if we are to continue to rebuild ridership after COVID, and we are working closely with Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell to address concerns among New Yorkers.
All three refreshingly understand that perception is reality when it comes to the subway. Last week, they joined with MTA officials in framing a public safety strategy that rightly focuses on outreach and service for our most vulnerable New Yorkers and the visibility of the NYPD on platforms. and trains on board.
These efforts are especially important as we continue to tackle crime and the growing problem of unauthorized people on our trail. These episodes often end in tragic ways for those affected, many of whom struggle with mental illness and homelessness.
There is also a significant impact on the service to consider here. In December alone, there were 116 incidents of unauthorized persons on the tracks, resulting in more than 2,000 delays for customers. This cannot continue, which is why I set up a working group within the MTA focused on preventing track intrusions. With state and city support, we’ll do better for New Yorkers.
The second piece of the puzzle is reliability. It’s no secret that service was put to the test during the Omicron wave, like every other agency and business in the region. With many of our frontline workforce ill, we have had to deal with staff shortages that have resulted in longer wait times and line suspensions.
But thanks to the strategic thinking of our operations planning team, we set a realistic schedule every day. It’s not perfect in every way, but each of our 472 metro stations is serviced, with buses holding on at every 16,000 stops on the streets, leaving no commuters stranded. As more employees recover from the virus and new hires complete their training, the situation will only get better. All the while, we keep looking for ways to increase speeds and improve efficiency.
The last element of our main mission is profitability. To help passengers get the best deal possible, MTA is launching its first-ever fare cap pilot for customers using OMNY next month. Plus, we’re making it easier than ever to apply for the discounted MetroCard by submitting requests online, while working with the city to expand its Fair Fares program for low-income New Yorkers.
Commuter train customers can look forward to a deal with a new 20-trip ticket option coming in February, as well as reduced fares for monthly passes and the extension of our flat-rate City Ticket on weekends to all off-peak trains on weekdays.
In short, a better MTA is on the way in 2022. We look forward to welcoming you on board.
Janno Lieber is MTA Interim Chairman and CEO
Editor’s Note: MTA and amNewYork Metro relaunch their Ask the MTA series!
Each month, the MTA will answer your questions about everything related to New York City subways, buses, commuter trains, and bridges and tunnels.
Send your questions now to [email protected], and they could be included in our next column, which takes place on Sunday, January 16.