NYC Council members to ride subway for 2 days to explore issues

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Tim Fleischer has the details on the subway tour. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Riding the city's many subway lines for two full days this week, city and state lawmakers will get a chance to talk with riders and experience the issues that are being faced as the MTA begins its aggressive subway action plan.

"Making stops in all five boroughs to hear directly from riders about the challenges they are facing underground," said Ydanis Rodriguez, City Council Member.

The tour also gives these lawmakers a chance to learn how recent track fires, a derailment and other issues cause delays and greatly impacted riders.

"We should have been dealing with this all along, but people are sick and tired," said Assem. Jeffrey Dinowitz, (D) Bronx. "I think by going on the subways throughout the city, we are going to get a lot of input from people."

On Thursday the group will ride lines in Manhattan and the Bronx starting at 7 a.m., riding the number 1 train in the Bronx. They will end at 7 p.m. in Times Square.

Also, at 7 a.m. on Friday they hit the Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island lines beginning with N, W and 7 trains at Queensboro Plaza, and ending at 7 p.m. in Union Square.

"Understanding what everybody deals with is an important part of solving the problem," a rider said.

"We need better service, basically," another rider said.

"Just quicker trains," a subway rider said. "Maybe save those delays for like 3 a.m. and not 9 a.m. when everyone is taking the subway."

Riders are also getting a better idea of what to expect when repair work begins, as revealed by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota speaking on a roundtable this weekend.

"We are seeing more of the shut downs late at night from 11 O'clock at night until 5 in the morning, so we can get a lot of the intense work done," Lhota said. "You are going to see more of that going on."

Also still in question, is how the state and the city will divvy up payment for the $836-million cost of the phase one repair work.

The MTA pushing fifty-fifty. The mayor is balking.

Rider advocates are also pushing for a dedicated funding source.

"The MTA's short term plan is a great start," said Rebecca Bailin, Riders Alliance. "But I agree with the assembly member, when he said that we need a long term plan with real sustainable progress funding sources."

With MetroCards in hand, these lawmakers now prepare for a ride on the subway lines like no other.

The MTA released a statement saying, "We understand rider frustration with the century-old New York City subway - that's why Chairman Lhota has laid out an aggressive and comprehensive plan to stabilize and modernize the system. We appreciate the support of elected officials who are stepping forward to help improve the system we all share and rely upon - and as elected officials, businesses and civic leaders already have, we need City Hall to be a partner with us in this plan."
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trafficsubwaynew york city councilmtaNew York City
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