by Hector Boyce

“The Next Stop On This Train is a 1 hour delay, we will be moving shortly” . These are some the words that I have heard countless times and I think most New York commuters can relate to. Sort of an eerie and annoying feeling one gets similar to when that shiver runs up one’s back. Guess what? It doesn’t seem to be getting better.

Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that an improval to New York’s City’s transit system was coming. I had to ask for myself , when’s it coming De Blasio? This past August, a public service announcement was made that a hault and a shutdown to the L train line was set in motion starting April 2019.

Considering the fact that the L train is one of the most popular and criticized lines (linking Brooklyn to Manhattan) used in the city, it is ironically going to be missed by many travel goers. As one unnamed person put it “It breaks down plenty, it’s always packed, The A.C is broken in half the cars, and if you don’t hang on for dear life you’ll be sent flying into the nearest group of angry teens”. I mean how more New York can you get ? Am I right. This closure will affect over 225,000 commuters.

For many of us New Yorkers, we know the “toll” of traveling around the city through MTA public transportation but bigger problems are emerging. Starting later this March 2019, the MTA is considering two plans to raise fares for both subways and buses.Both these plans would raise Metrocard base fares from $2.75 to $3.00 flat , express bus fares from $ 6.50 to either $7.00 or $7.25; and even bridges will see a toll increase, for example The Verrazano Bridge will see an increase from $17 to $19. So I have to ask.. is it really worth it ? Well for us that don’t have the luxury of driving back and forth to work or school , the MTA is the only option.

Consider some of the recent events that have made the MTA seem more of a sustainability to now a liability. This past week, we had a shooting right on the 7 train platform in Elmhurst Queens, leaving one dead all stemming from gang activity. Another woman was left in critical condition in the Bronx, after being struck by an oncoming bus. Both of these two incidents were completely isolated, yet raised a lot of alarms when regarding to how much safety is there when riding the city’s transit system. Danielle Furfaro of the NY Post claimed, that more MTA employees are being targeted and assaulted by customers directly because riders are fed up with delays. Since May of 2018, there have been minimally 6 assaults on transit workers and the number has since gone up. So I ask, whose safe ? if the person in charge of safely reaching your destination isn’t either. As Crystal Young (chair of the Transit Workers Union’s conductor and tower division) put it “it’s happening more because there are so many delays and the riders take it out on whose in front them”.     

If it were up to me, I would walk to school but even that comes out to be expensive in today’s economy. For others, getting driven or driving to their destination isn’t an option rather the only solution. In reality, what isn’t being acknowledged by the MTA is how this affects their own product. MTA tells commuters to pay the increased fare for better service; yet in every borough you look there are still old train cars being used in service as though we’re watching reruns of the 1979 hit movie “The Warriors”. Yes train delays are inevitable, and at times weather and faulty lines will be things that fall out of the hands of MTA but as taxpayers to this city we deserve better. I shouldn’t have to wait 15 more minutes for an oncoming train or bus, even after the countdown clock told me 2 more minutes. One thing is certain though, whether it’s the good, the bad, or the ugly the MTA will be here to stay and for most of us.. we’ll just have to deal with it.

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