MTA subway riders call for end to endless delays and dysfunction

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Josh Einiger talks to straphangers about the subway delays.

It's been almost a month now since Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York City subways, and this week, the MTA is expected to announce its plan to fix the problems.

The battle now is over who will cover the cost, the city or the state, because neither wants to pay more.

Amid the overheated crowds and the jam packed trains, and the orderly chaos of a transit system that limps along like a cockroach in the dirt, Monday night things actually weren't that bad.

"We struggle each day with consistency," straphanger Varcian Virgo said. "It's something you can never predict to be reliable."

That an uneventful commute is in any way remarkable is exactly the problem.

Months of derailments and fires and power failures have crippled a system that delivers six million people to their destinations each day.

With delays up nearly threefold, commuters are caught in the switches of an epic political feud.

"I don't care about your fight, I just want it fixed," Virgo said.

On one side is Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"It's the state's responsibility," he said. "It's been the state's responsibility for decades."

He's been making a show of using the subway lately, as he fights with Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota over who should foot the bill.

"They own it," Lhota said. "It's their responsibility to fund it."

This week Lhota will announce his plan for how to fix the rickety system, but the city and state will still have to agree on who pays.

"It doesn't matter what the governor and the mayor say, at the end of the day their actions speak louder than words," said Jaqi Cohen, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.

Transportation advocates say one of the problems is that the solution is inherently unglamorous.

Likely, a massive investment to replace world war two-era switching equipment invisible to straphangers, instead of flashy things like Wi-Fi and digital signs.

"There needs to be real leadership and that needs to come from the city and state level, and the mayor and the governor need to be able to work together to find a common solution," Cohen said.

But when it comes to MTA dysfunction, there may never been an end of the line. And commuter Joan Alexis-Jarvis has gotten over getting upset.

"There's so many things going on in this world, yes, we can put emphasis on the trains being not on schedule," she said. "And it gets really bad, but it's how we get around. It's New York City."

Related Topics:
mtasubwaybill de blasioandrew cuomoNew York City
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