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Op-ed | New York City Transit ready to spring ahead

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Interim MTA New York City Transit President Craig Cipriano
Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

Spring is finally on the horizon, and I am hopeful with spring comes the return of baseball and my beloved Yankees. But I am not only hoping that the new season brings a new and invigorated team— I am optimistic it will be the start of a new chapter for New York City Transit and the city at large.

After a challenging two years, culminated this winter where we were frequently tested by Omicron, crew shortages and falling ridership, indicators are once again positive and trending strong.

Weekday subway ridership surpassed 3 million on several days this month for the first time since early December. That’s an increase of almost 50% over the lowest point of the COVID surge. Buses are regularly carrying 1.3 million customers a day, with more than 20,000 daily trips on Paratransit.

At the same time, service delivery has shot up to 92.2% on the subways, which puts us back on the upward trajectory that started last fall. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, Additional Train Time (due to delays en route) was 20 seconds less and Additional Platform Time (waiting for trains to arrive) was just two seconds longer than in February 2020.

Satisfaction with service doesn’t come without a strong focus on safety. The Governor’s and Mayor’s announcement on Friday is a great step forward and we have already started to see an increased NYPD presence in the subway. To support these efforts, we continue to deploy private security officers and MTA Police at certain stations. Security cameras, thousands of which are now visible across all stations, add another layer of security. Transit has processed thousands of downloads since the cameras went live, helping police make arrests on crimes ranging from vandalism to armed robbery, arson, and even more serious violations.

We’re doing everything we can to make the system as appealing as possible as the city moves into the next phase of recovery. Starting next week, subway and local bus customers using OMNY will be able to take advantage of fare-capping for the very first time— eliminating the decision of whether to pre-purchase an unlimited ride plan at the start of the week vs. paying per ride. You’ll automatically get the best deal based on how often you use the system in a given week.

Bus customers can also look forward to the promise of new bus lanes. Mayor Adams has pledged to build 150 miles of new lanes over the next four years. When added to the existing 140 miles of lanes, it will create one of the largest such networks in the world, and we thank the mayor for his commitment to faster buses.

That complements new and improved bus routes NYC Transit is rolling out in the Bronx this June. Our team has been hard at work redrawing the service map as part of our Borough-by-Borough Bus Network Redesigns. New signage is going up across the system this week with details. It’s been incredibly gratifying to work with the community on this proposal, which aims to decrease wait times, increase speeds, and improve reliability for our valued customers.

We can’t wait for you to experience all these improvements and look forward to seeing you soon. Spring is right around the corner.

Craig Cipriano is MTA New York City Transit President.

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