In the past week, I have addressed some serious concerns regarding our transit system.
I wrote Chairman Walder on Monday urging him to reverse his decision to eliminate station agents from 99 subway stations across the City, and today I released audit findings that show the MTA must do a better job of maintaining stations.
NYC Transit spends close to $144 million dollars a year and has roughly 1,000 employees who are responsible for maintaining the stations – and that does not include Capital improvements.
Of the $144 million dollars, the City kicks in approximately $81 million.
Amazingly — despite all that money — we found that the agency has consistently failed to identify, report or fix many hazardous conditions located in the commuter areas of subway stations; failed to keep adequate and reliable records that document which repairs have been made; and failed to implement a modern computer system to track the problems or even the workers assigned to fix them.
After observing 50 randomly selected stations over the last year, my auditors found:
· That about two-thirds of the hazardous defects they observed were not reported to maintenance shops for follow-up by supervisors who are supposed to regularly inspect their assigned stations and report problematic conditions;
· That about 15 percent of the reported defects were not repaired after well over two months;
· And of real concern, that NYC Transit’s database showed that some hazardous conditions had been listed as being fixed – but were actually not.
All of this puts riders at risk.
Some examples we found include:
· Flaking paint, and loose and cracked concrete on the platform ceiling at the Q line at the Cortelyou Road station in Brooklyn. Conditions which — at the time of our review — had not even been reported as in need of repair. Remarkably, NYC Transit’s rationale for not fixing the problem quickly is that they assume that the paint that is falling onto our heads contains lead.
· A hole on the elevated platform through which the street was visible at the Elder Avenue station in The Bronx,
· dangerously uneven expansion plates on the platforms at the 111th Street station in Queens,
It’s unconscionable that commuters must be exposed to these unsafe conditions and potential hazards — for possibly many years — until NYC Transit decides to take action and make the necessary repairs.
I have made 16 recommendations to both protect the public and bring down the costs associated with maintenance and repairs.
The MTA and New York City Transit need to get back on track with a renewed commitment to keeping its riders safe – both at stations and by keeping station agents.
Riders deserve better.