New Yorkers are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to address subway issues after a Tuesday derailment injured at least 39 passengers and caused massive disruptions along seven different lines.
The derailment was caused by “an improperly secured piece of replacement rail that was stored on the tracks,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority wrote in a statement, adding that the cause “appears to be human error, not a track defect.”
The derailment, however, highlights how an ageing infrastructure is contributing to a massive decline in the overall quality of New York’s subway system.
New York is one of few cities that allows its subway to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That convenience means the subway suffers more wear-and-tear than those that operate for a set number of hours.
In May, the MTA said “decades of underinvestment” in maintaining the overall subway infrastructure was leading to delays and disruptions. To address the issue, the MTA said it would begin a “system-wide initiative” to tackle track and signal issues, equipment failures, and other problems contributing to delays.
That initiative directs $US14 billion over five years toward improving the subway system. Cuomo has also said he will give $US1 million “Genius” grants to the three people with the best solutions for the subway system’s problems.
The first phase of the initiative is taking place along the 8th Avenue corridor from 125th Street to Fulton Street. The train that derailed Tuesday was an A subway entering 125th street station along that corridor.
MTA did not say whether or not the “improperly secured” track replacement was stored on the tracks as part of the first phase of the initiative.
But what appears to be an attempt to improve the quality of service after decades of neglect ultimately resulted in a frightening scenario that injured nearly 40 people — and many are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to channel more resources into fixing the subway system.
As a state agency, Cuomo ultimately controls the MTA’s funding. He is responsible for appointing six out of 14 MTA board members, giving him a plurality of votes.
Cuomo did not visit the derailment site because he was travelling in Albany, his press office told Business Insider. Joseph Lhota, who Cuomo appointed as MTA chairman last Wednesday, was on the scene.
Cuomo did not make any kind of public statement on the derailment. His press office released the following statement upon request to Business Insider:
“While the investigation is ongoing, this morning’s subway derailment is an unacceptable manifestation of the system’s current state. New Yorkers deserve better. We are grateful to the first responders for their able assistance. It is my expectation that with new leadership brought by Joe Lhota, the MTA will address the fundamental issues plaguing the transit system and overhaul the organizational structure of the MTA. As I have told Joe, any support the MTA needs to get through this crisis, will be provided.”
The number of subway delays has more than doubled, to 70,000 a month, from about 28,000 a month in 2012, The New York Times reported in February.
Although these disruptions have inconvenienced passengers, more dangerous scenarios have taken place as of late.
Earlier this month, a power outage caused an F train to get stuck between stations for almost an hour. Passengers stuck in a subway car without air conditioning attempted to claw their way out.
As Cuomo prepares to channel funding toward major projects like a train to LaGuardia, New Yorkers are putting pressure on the Governor’s office to prevent more fiascos on the existing subway system.
Cool. Do you mind working on the NYC Subway a little? Thanks…
ALL OF US
— Atticus Mulkey (@amulkey5) June 27, 2017
FIX THE SUBWAY. You won’t be able to hear my voice because I’m stuck underground on a delayed MTA train.
— Ryan P. Joyce (@ryanjoyce88) June 27, 2017
When are you going to acknowledge the derailment?
When are you going to fix the subways that are ruining our lives?
— Travis R. Eby (@travis_robert) June 27, 2017
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