Last night the MTA held a Town Hall on service improvements and service cuts. As you can see this scarcely attended meeting was made up of mostly MTA employees. The funny part was that one was able to enter the school, go up to the second floor where the meeting was, but one had to stop and have a metal detecting wand moved over your body before entering the auditorium.
Andy Byford the new Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Transit Authority explained that the system has to be upgraded, and streamlined for better service to its riders. He went over the current system, and explained how new changes would improve service on buses and subways. There will be changes to some bus routes which may include moving buses to different streets to speed up service, cutting down a few stops that are clustered block after block, and new subway signaling.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz was on hand and spoke for a few minutes praising the MTA, hoping what Mr. Byford was saying helps the riding public. Afterwards a question and answer period was done with several MTA executives including Mr. Byford. Questions that were written down were asked and answered, but it seemed two different men interjected after questions were answered. When a woman tried to interject she was told she could not. At that point one could see the two men were MTA employees, and the woman was not.
I spoke to Tim Minton who said he was the Communications Director for the MTA, and asked him two questions. The first was how was the MTA going to stop the governor, state legislature, or even the mayor from taking any monies currently going to the MTA and moving said monies elsewhere in the budget once congestion pricing begins. I used the example of the lottery where monies that use to for education were moved elsewhere once lottery money went to education. I could not get an answer that the MTA would keep the same current funding streams from the state and city.
My second question which also could not be answered was how was the MTA going to offset the lack of revenue from the Henry Hudson Bridge since it was going to be a free bridge to get Assemblyman Dinowitz to go along with congestion pricing. I said that I was told bus routes in the Bronx would be cut or eliminated to make up the loss in revenue. Again there was no answer.
Above - Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz speaks at the meeting about how the new changes will improve service, and there will no longer be a toll on the Henry Hudson Bridge.
Below - The panel with Andy Buford answered questions read by the moderator on the left. Certain MTA employees interjected after answers while the public was told they could not.