New transit plan in the works to help commuters get to work on time

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A lot has changed in the months following the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mass transit experienced a dramatic drop in ridership. Revenue is down, and service has also dropped. Now that people are beginning to go back to their jobs, a new plan is in the works to help commuters get there on time.

"What we want is getting people back, taking public transport instead of cars and car service," said Rachel Weinstein.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer outlined a multi-point plan on Sunday, beginning with increasing service.

"The MTA needs to step up. There's no excuse. All buses and high ridership buses should arrive at six minutes throughout the day, seven days per week," said Stringer.

New York City is not a 9-5 town, it's a city that never sleeps, which means workers have to get to their shifts at all hours of the day and night.

Stringer is calling on larger companies to give workers free MetroCards or bike passes.

He is also looking for billions in federal funding, and he wants to increase local gas tax and redirect it to public transportation instead of roads and bridges.
"Buy your MetroCard, serve the public, do your job as a citizen," said Robert Williams.

As of September, subway ridership is still down by about half, because of COVID - that's for weekdays. Weekends are a little busier, at 65% of pre-pandemic numbers.



Before the city can really get back to normal, riders have to feel safe getting on the subway again, and that's a problem, given the rise in violent crime.

The MTA released a statement from spokesperson Aaron Donovan:
"We welcome the comptroller's focus on transit challenges and recommendation for new dedicated funding streams. The MTA has increased service in recent months on both commuter railroads and New York City Transit has continued to run more than 90 percent of subway and bus service for roughly 55 percent of pre-pandemic customers. The historic 2020-2024 Capital Plan, to be supported by congestion pricing, adds new commuter railroad stations in the Bronx to reduce travel times for essential workers and improved accessibility across the system. Penn Station Access and East Side Access will both create new options for riders. We recognize the critical role the MTA plays in recovery of the region's economy and have announced exploration of new fare options while continually providing better service with resources available."

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