NYC Subway promises and delivers

Today’s guest post is by Peppercommer, and co-host of RepTV, Paul Merchan.

f-train-derailment-queensAs my wife and I navigate the NY City subway system with our two-year old, a stroller and a bag full of toddler necessities, we often complain about this sole means of transportation for most New Yorkers. Subway stations date back to the early 20th century and then there are the delays…

But I do think it’s about time I gave our unheralded train system it’s props.

Last Friday, an F train careened off a set of broken tracks and caused the closure of the entire express line running along Queens Boulevard and caused massive delays into and out of Manhattan.

The derailment happened at an off-peak time, thankfully. There were only 19 injuries; it could have been much worse. And of course the damage to the system was tremendous.

Even though the NY MTA promised to have regular service by the Monday morning rush hour, I thought there was no way that could happen. We’re talking about broken tracks, and that’s about as major a problem you could ask for.

Lo and behold, Monday morning came, and not only were express trains running, but it was a relatively smooth ride. Trains ran slower at the damage point, as to be expected, but it turns out work crews DID fix the problem over the weekend. And that was just in time for us regular Joes to avoid a first-world problem – getting to work late.

In my book, that earns the MTA a gold star. Even the way they handled the accident on Friday was on point. The MTA chairman gave a brief but informative interview session just above ground from where the derailment took place. He answered reporter’s questions, was fair and honest, didn’t seem defensive when they questioned the safety of the system, and subsequently issued a promise that he kept.

When it comes to reputation, that’s pretty textbook to me. And when it comes to making it in the city that never sleeps, I think we have a winner.

17 thoughts on “NYC Subway promises and delivers

  1. Thank you for pointing this out. I grew up with the subway in the bad old days of NYC, and everything is worlds better.

    MTA has a lot of inherent problems, particularly with cost and infrastructure, but I’m impressed with the job they’ve been doing in recent years.

  2. Yep, I remember those days clearly, Peter. That was back when you were safer on the streets than in the subway. We’ve really come a long way. The MTA is trying to stay on top of safety, innovation and technology and that’s helped a ton.

  3. I love this Paul! I also think, overall, the MTA does a great job. They certainly have their issues, but when you get down to brass tacks, they do their best. I also think that no matter what way you slice it, you can’t beat the subway as a mode of transportation. There hasn’t been a year I’ve moved here where I haven’t done the cost analysis of my commute to work vs. a non-NYC living friend and don’t come out way, way ahead.

  4. Well said Lia, I agree that versus driving in other places, the subway is much more cost effective. I admit there are days when I have to lug that stroller up three flights of stairs when I wish there was a better way – or at least elevators in every station that don’t reek of urine. But overall, when you manage the largest and most intricate urban commuter train system in the world, I can appreciate how overwhelming this must be.

  5. The subway and buses are pretty much unbeatable in this town. The only cheaper, faster alternative is a bicycle, whick I often use with a toddler in back — something the helicopter parents around us think is totally daft. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone calls Child Protection on me. But that didn’t work out so well this past winter.

  6. You’re a brave man, Peter! I’d be scared out of my wits to bike in Midtown with my daughter in the back. When we’ve really had it with public transportation, we just hail down a cab. The green cabs in the outer boroughs have made it worlds easier.

  7. I now think children have a calming influence on drivers, which is either brave or stupid on my part. Our only mishap was when I braked over a slick sewer grate in Chinatown. It sent me flying and a little bloody. The little one freaked but she was OK. We took the subway from there.

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