Letter to the MTA (Unit 3 Redo)

Dear Pat Foye,

I’d like to discuss the issue of train delays. As a everyday passenger who has to rely on the MTA subway system I would expect delays to happen every once in awhile but this is sadly not the case. I would assume since we are in 2019, why do we still have this issue of signal delays? Why are we using equipment from 80 years ago as put by Dan Rivoli in Daily News article. Dan also mentioned that the way trains are track are by people keeping track of a black board with lights that represent each train stop. This sounds so outdated. We have unmanned drones but we still have people looking at a blackboard telling other train conductors whether there is a train ahead of them or not. This would mean that that if one train has an issue it would also affect the other trains behind it, it would cause the trains to move slower so that an accident is prevented. Dan also discusses solutions that you are probably discussing now, He brings up trying to modernize the subway by implementing a new technology called communication based train control. This technology would be installed on the tracks and is less of a hassle to maintain unlike the outdated mechanical switches that have to be manually done. In the article “Meet the Century-Old Technology That Is Causing Your Subway Delays” by Aaron Gordon, he talks about the advantages of the new communication based train control. He mentions that it is the ideal solution for the 21st century and that this train control system is able to automatically correct a trains speed. This would mean that this technology can eliminate human error and lead to a safer commute.

The issue I see with trying to implement this new train control technology would be time and cost. In the article by Dan Rivoli he said “The report estimated it will take the MTA 50 years to fully overhaul its 19th-century-style signal system, if it sticks with updating four miles of track a year”. This would mean that process will take a very long time and definitely inconvenience riders. It’d be a little quicker if the whole subway system was closed to make these changes but these changes would take months or years and people need to go to work. The other issue would be funding. In an article by Jake Offenhartz he said “As for the MTA’s $29.5 billion 2015-2019 Capital Program, Cuomo has so far appropriated around $5.4 billion of a promised $8 billion, while the city has committed $2.5 billion—an unprecedented amount, but $700 million less than the governor originally demanded. Part of the money from that plan will go toward the creation of new signaling systems, while money from the MTA’s general fund is used to maintain existing infrastructure. Earlier this year, the governor slashed the state’s contribution to the MTA operating budget by $65 million—a 21 percent cut, down to $244 million from $309 million last year”. This would mean that not all the funds can be spent solely on upgrading the subway system. Also there seems to be a budget cut to the MTA, why is that the case? This just keeps the MTA system from getting improved.

If I may, I’d like to recommend the time from 11:30am-5:30am you can have workings implementing the new CBTC system. This may put some riders in a predicament of traveling but that time are odd hours where there are not a lot of riders. They will have to deal with those changes so that the future of the subway may be improved for the rest of the riders who take it in New York City.


Erik yan, a concerned rider




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