Today’s Headlines

  • Your Commute Sucks Because the MTA Was Designed to Shield Pols From Accountability (Voice)
  • Post: Where Has Cuomo Been for the Past Six Years?
  • Spiraling Debt Alarms MTA Board Members (Gothamist), But Not Chair Fernando Ferrer (DNA)
  • Signal Problems Shut the C Train for Hours Yesterday (NBC)
  • Amtrak Big Explains Pending Penn Station Work (News, GothamistNY1, WNYC)
  • Christie’s NJ Transit Preemptively Blames Amtrak for Delays (Politico)
  • Brooklyn Residents and Developers Are Drifting Away From the L Line (NYT 1, 2)
  • DNA Surveys the Sad State of MTA Elevators
  • Bike Snob: Bronx CB 8 Joins Cranks in Rejecting Broadway Improvements in Riverdale (TransAlt)
  • Hit-and-Run Driver David Dinkins Settles Suit With Cyclist (Post)
  • This DNA Piece on Curb Dysfunction at LICH Demolition Site Will Make Your Head Hurt
  • Official Briefs Cities Today on How DOT Is Developing Freight Policy

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    Suddenly debt is a problem. And many of those who benefitted from the policies that led
    to $38 billion in debt are no longer around. They cashed in and are gone, suckers.

    I’d like to take you back several years, and a decade, to a time when my point of view was not so popular around here. Not to say I told you so, but to fully understand the unchangeable reality we now face, those under 55, and those who care about those under 55.

    If congestion pricing were enacted and bonded, as many wanted, we would still be in the exact same situation. But the next 25 to 30 years of those additional toll revenues would have already been spent, and would not be available to invest in or operate mass transit.

    What would have been true of congestion pricing is already true of much of the MTA’s current revenues.

    Generation Greed has done everything it could to shift costs to the future and suck away revenues from the future. And not just at the MTA. They have shifted burdens to generations that will earn about 20 percent less over their lifetimes, and many not live as
    long.

    The generations to follow let it happen. They let it not even be talked about. And here we are. The longer it is swept under the rug, along as the nasty politics obscures this reality, the longer the painful adjustments can be postponed, and Generation Greed can exempt itself from them.

    It was obvious what was coming in 2004. That’s why I left New York City Transit and ran against the local hack state legislator. I had exhausted other options and ideas.
    Had no impact. No one wanted to be bothered.

  • Larry Littlefield

    As for LICH, there was a massively subsidized parking garage built for a hospital that is no longer open. I assume that garage is still operating, is it not? That ought to be a boon to anyone who has a car in the neighborhood, provided they are willing to pay for parking.

  • Kevin Love

    Pay for parking! That is for suckers who don’t know how to buy a fraudulent placard.

  • Joe R.

    The elevator (and escalator) situation is exactly why the next time it comes up any talk of platform doors should be DOA. The MTA won’t maintain those properly, either. The result here will be more than a mere inconvenience. Instead, it will mean delays to trains, plus people unable to board or leave trains.

    In almost every other system escalators and elevators rarely break down. Why is it seeming rocket science for the MTA to maintain these things? Ditto for the NYCHA’s inability to maintain functioning elevators in housing projects.

  • Joe R.

    Well, at least we’re starting to question things. It needs to be said loud and often that fares are at inflation-adjusted record highs and ridership is close to record levels. That should mean the system is awash in money except for the fact it isn’t. Time for people to start asking where the f all this money is going given that it obviously isn’t being spent running and expanding the system.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here’s another question, on behalf of the serfs.

    Mr. Ferrer, what is your income? And how much did you pay in New York State and New York City income taxes on that income?

    We actually don’t need to know the first to answer the second.

    So why not shove off costs until now?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Platform doors are DOA because the MTA changes the door position with every car order.

    If it didn’t, it could put in fixed walls everywhere the doors were not, cutting the area from which people could fall or be pushed to the tracks by 75 percent-plus with no moving parts to maintain.

  • HamTech87

    That freight article was interesting, but I didn’t see any mention of bicycle delivery.
    http://www.techspot.com/news/67340-ups-piloting-delivery-electric-bike-portland.html

  • Andrew

    Why do you keep making this claim? Do you actually believe it to be true?

    On the A Division, the door positions last changed (and not by much) in the 1999 R142 order, in order to address growing dwell times that were jeopardizing line capacity. The subsequent R188 door spacing is identical to that on the R142.

    On the B Division, the door positions last changed in the 2001 R143 order – by necessity, as the R143’s were slated to run on the L but the previous R68 and R46 and R44 orders were all for 75-foot cars, which can’t fit on the L. The subsequent R160 and R179 door spacing is identical to that on the R143, and I believe the R211 order won’t be changing it, either.

    In other words, all A Division cars built since 1988 and all B Division cars built since 1990 have identical door spacing.

    There are several very good reasons to not install platform doors, but “the MTA changes the door position with every car order” is not on the list.

  • Vooch

    can we just have a plan to rationalize the power among the subway lines & maybe even commuter rail

    insane idea I know 🙂

  • ahwr

    Adjusted for inflation how did average fares in the 70s and 80s compare to those earlier in the system’s history? Either from 1913 or 1904 if you have a good estimate of inflation in the ten years before the federal reserve.

  • bolwerk

    Until those bikes are automated, I doubt anything will make it viable. It’s subject to the same economic realities that make cars more expensive to deliver goods with than trucks, only moreso. One labor-hour of truck driver time is going to make far more deliveries over a far longer distance than a car on average because the car needs to reload more foten, and that’s not counting that a bike is much slower than a truck.

    It’d just be better to focus on getting more people riding bikes generally or, if you want to be go out on a limb, commute by bike.

  • bolwerk
  • Larry Littlefield

    Because I read in the newspaper that the MTA is once again changing the door position with the next new car order, the R211.

    After I thought it had settled on a position and that would be that.

  • Andrew

    Which newspaper was that? Do you have a link to an article?

    If not, I suspect you’re thinking back several years, when 75-foot cars were still being considered for the R211 order. There would have been some advantages to 75-foot cars – total cost probably being the most significant – but of course the door spacing would have turned out different. In the end, the decision was to stick with 60-foot cars.

    In any case, even if the door positions were to change with R211 order, they didn’t change with the R160 or R179 or R188 orders. Your claim that “the MTA changes the door position with every car order” is nonsense.

  • Andrew

    Nice table, but the figures should be adjusted to incorporate MetroCard bonuses, which have only existed (to varying degrees) since 1998. Otherwise the table overstates (to varying degrees) all of the effective fares since 1998.

    The table also masks the impact of occasional changes in the transfer policy, generally to the rider’s benefit – most recently the addition of free bus-subway transfers in 1997, which slashed the effective fare in half for any ride including both bus and subway.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Right, so I used fare revenue per unlinked trip as reported to the FTA, adjusted for inflation. Huge drop 1996 to 2007.

    https://larrylittlefield.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/chart6lt.jpg

  • Larry Littlefield

    I am thinking back several years. Best I can come up with through search engines is an article on the report recommending going back to asymmetric doors.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/nyregion/subway-riders-quirks-studied.html

    “The report did suggest a remedy for crowding near car exits: asymmetric doors, which do not face each other precisely, and thus would stagger the crowds that tend to form near them.”

    “Visually,” the report said, “asymmetrical arrangements make car interiors look a little more open, and perhaps more inviting.”

    There was another report that led to asymmetric doors decades ago. Then they switched back to directly offset doors. And in response to this, they were talking about asymmetric doors again.

    If they want platform doors someday, they need to pick a door position and door width and stick with it. If all the car models were the same, they could take those steel fences they have around the fare controlled area on the IND and bolt them from the floor the ceiling near the platform edge everywhere the doors are not.

    The only downside is if a mother stuck a stroller into a closing door to hold the train, as they often do, and the door sensor failed to register it, the stroller would be crushed against he gave as the train pulled out. But it would less likely that people would fall or be pushed the tracks.

  • bolwerk

    I could adjust for that first problem easily if anyone has the average effective fare every year since MC came out. I just don’t know where to get that information. I’ve seen occasional reported numbers, but haven’t seen an annual compilation.

    The second problem is a lot harder to account for without unlinked trip information. Larry got that, but it only goes back to 1991 on NTD. IMHO this is less of an issue because it’s quite similar to other events that similarly benefited riders. Examples: new lines opening with free transfers, inter-division transfers after consolidation.

    * Anyone got the consolidated financial statements of the IND, IRT, and BMT handy? 😀

  • Andrew

    Thanks. I’m curious what happened on SIR from 2006 to 2007.

  • Andrew

    I am thinking back several years. Best I can come up with through search engines is an article on the report recommending going back to asymmetric doors.

    That was a research paper produced for a major conference by three NYCT employees and one Metro-North employee regarding optimal car layout based on seating and standing behaviors. It didn’t consider any other factors that might enter into the decision of car layout. And, more importantly, “Opinions expressed are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect official policy or positions of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority or any of its constituent operating agencies.”

    There was another report that led to asymmetric doors decades ago. Then they switched back to directly offset doors. And in response to this, they were talking about asymmetric doors again.

    The R142’s had staggered doors in order to better cope with heavy crowding and to keep dwell times down.

    The R143’s did not have staggered doors. I don’t know why they didn’t, but since R143’s are B Division cars a foot wider than the A Division cars, there is no possibility whatsoever that R142’s and R143’s will run in passenger service on the same line. This is plainly irrelevant to the question of platform doors.

    All A Division cars built since 1990 have had staggered doors. No B Division cars built since 1971 have had staggered doors. There has been 100% consistency in door spacing on A Division cars since the R142 and on B Division cars since the R143.

    Are you ready to retract your claim yet that “the MTA changes the door position with every car order”?

    If they want platform doors someday

    Which, as I’ve pointed out, is not the core mission of the MTA. There are plenty of reasons not to implement platform doors independent of the door positions on the cars. If there is a good reason to change door spacing, then door spacing should be changed, even if it means that platform doors can’t happen for a while longer. (Not that this has happened in over two decades.)

    If all the car models were the same, they could take those steel fences they have around the fare controlled area on the IND and bolt them from the floor the ceiling near the platform edge everywhere the doors are not.

    Drags occasionally happen. This sounds like an excellent way to significantly increase the likelihood of a drag resulting in severe injury.

    It also sounds like an excellent way to slow service, as trains have to carefully stop at exactly the right position at each station to line up with the gaps in the fences, which might also have an impact on signal capacity.

    And it won’t have any impact on suicides or on track fires!

  • Andrew

    The base fares and bonuses are all listed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MetroCard_(New_York_City)#History

    So you can calculate the effective fare by year.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Good question. The policy changes I know of took place before that. It could just be an error, or the correction of a prior error, such as a change in the share of the fare for combined trips that was attributed to the LIRR.

    I want to know about the $1 billion increase in reported NYC subway operating costs from 2012 to 2013, including a doubling of general administrative costs.

    https://larrylittlefield.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/chart1alt.jpg

  • Greg

    That garage is not operating. It’s currently in the process of demolition.

  • Lincoln

    The MTA has taken to changing door patterns within each car order!

    R142 A cars have opposite doors. R142 B cars have staggered doors.
    While all R160s have opposite doors, the B cars have a different door placement than the A cars, which are different based on direction the door is facing. As a result, an 8 car train will have different door positioning than a 10 car train, regardless of how you platform the 8 car train. Considering the substantial overlap between 8 and 10 car trains in the system any platform door system would need to be able to deal with the differing door layouts of an R160 B car, a north facing R160 A car, and a south facing R160 A car.

    (As R142s and R188s always have the same configuration in each location they run you could fairly easily standardize their layouts. )

  • Andrew

    Good point! Do you know how badly misaligned the doors are? Would a wide platform door be able to include both the A-car and B-car layouts, or are they too far off for that to be feasible?

  • Lincoln

    The real issue is the A cars. an A car with the cab facing left and an A car with the cab facing right is the greatest separation on the B division NTT trains. B cars are somewhere between, so any solution that works for A cars in both directions should also work for B cars.

    My suspicion is that getting B cars to work with either direction of A cars is probably easy, but that the A cars would be harder to pull off. (I have no idea how practical it would be. If it is impossible to platform A cars in opposite directions in the same location, I suppose you could center 8 car trains wherever you place platform doors, but the inconvenience of that would be another strike against them.)

  • bolwerk

    What I would want is the average revenue per linked trip, adjusted for unlimiteds and metrocard bonuses alike. That’s what I just can’t find. I guess I could tease it out with information on the number of out-of-system transfers and subway-bus transfers (I think they’re treated the same way?).

    But here’s what you wanted. It might be more accurate than what I had, but it’s more of the floor rather than the ceiling. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b0ff4a78832d723a4223321d5242b263fabb4554c055a1da30344058d618924a.png

  • bolwerk
  • Andrew

    Could the train alignment be tweaked just slightly, to line up the doors (rather than the cars themselves) on the opposing A cars? What would that do to the door alignment elsewhere?

  • Lincoln

    I’LL have to plot that one out. Certainly seems like it should be possible.

  • Lincoln

    In thinking about it a bit, this is obviously possible, as there is no reason you would ever have more than one car length of platform that would have A cars in both directions stopping there.

    Centered 8 car trains never have A cars facing the opposite direction as a 10 car train, so we don’t have to worry about them.

    So lets consider a front justified train (rear justified is the same of course, just different car numbers.)
    L= A car with left facing cab
    R= A car with right facing cab
    B= B car.
    10 car = LBBBRLBBBR
    08 car = LBBRLBBR
    So it is really the fifth car that is the issue.
    I think you would minimize difference in door spacing by shifting the whole train by half the greatest distance between any specific B and A car door. Any further, and you are creating a bigger problem in the 4th 6th and 8th cars than the one you are solving in the 5th.
    In theory, I suspect you can build doors with these tolerances. The bigger issue I see now is that you are shifting both trains AWAY from the center. You would be pushing the 600 foot train back, outside of the current back end of the 600 foot platforming area, and you are pushing the 480 foot train forwards, also outside of the current front end of the 600 foot platforming area.
    Going off the platform is less of an issue when you have platform screen doors where the train stops at the same place every time, but are there locations that this would end up fouling a switch on either end?
    I suppose in any such location without enough room the obvious solution would be to center the train, regardless of any desire to front or rear justify the 480 foot train.

  • Andrew

    Are there any stations with switches at both ends that are both so close to the platform that there aren’t even a few feet of wiggle room? There aren’t many stations with switches at both ends in the first place, and there’s typically some wiggle room already.

  • Lincoln

    I highly doubt it. Looking at the big picture, I would be surprised if the door spacing was off by more than 3 feet, so we’d be dealing with 1.5 feet at most.

    Maybe you’d have to tweak a few signals.