Another Own Goal From the MTA
July 30, 2018 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Take one typo and leave one schedule supplement and wind up with the latest cock-up from New York City Transit. Or, why an unexpected wall appeared on the express tracks in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, this morning.
posted by dame (26 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm just amazed that anything ever works at all.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:46 PM on July 30, 2018 [14 favorites]

Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?

I got the impression that he tried his best in Toronto, but fixing the TTC's problems is far beyond the ability of any one non-omnipotent person to achieve. Dude doesn't shy away from a challenge, I'll give him that.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:47 PM on July 30, 2018

phew its a good job millions of people don't rely on the subway for their work or lives
posted by lalochezia at 2:00 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Things I don't miss having moved from NYC.

The subway
Shoveling snow
The subway
The subway
posted by Splunge at 2:03 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

I mean, I think the subway still beats car commuting any day.

I also think this is actually a fascinating system mistake, especially in the case where being on top of the schedule actually meant notification didn't happen.
posted by dame at 2:18 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

Are we sure the MTA doesn’t just feed off of sheer human misery?
posted by Sangermaine at 2:20 PM on July 30, 2018

Clearly this means that the MTA's funding should be cut in half and that we should use this as an anecdote for the next 20 years about how all public sector workers are lazy and incompetent.
posted by dilaudid at 2:21 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

I mean, I think the subway still beats car commuting any day.

I got to ride the Berlin U-bahn last week for the first time ion my life and it was pretty cool.

Well, not cool in the sense that it was about 35 C in the cars since it's not air conditioned.

That was not so enjoyable.
posted by GuyZero at 2:24 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I should add that I think subway commuting beats car commuting most days, but not 100% of days.
posted by GuyZero at 2:28 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

This New Yorker article about Andy Byford is fascinating.
posted by Mavri at 3:21 PM on July 30, 2018

I live off this line. It is a near-constant shitstorm. I literally bought a bike just to avoid the fucking train as much as possible.
posted by nevercalm at 3:21 PM on July 30, 2018

I was just in NYC over the weekend and we went everywhere either by walking or ride-hailing, whichever was quicker. None of my friends, all frequent NYC visitors, wanted to deal with the subway. I was going to challenge them on this, since it's still cheaper and in general more efficient, but then I recalled that the last time I visited, I was stuck on the subway in a tunnel with no explanations and was an hour late to a dinner reservation. So yeah...
posted by numaner at 3:41 PM on July 30, 2018

I swear to god if someone wants to build anything larger then a backyard shed in this city they should have to just hand over bags of money to the MTA. That goes for oreexisting large buildings too.

Also, bring back home rule.

Also, actuslly enforce landlord and labor laws to grab the millions in on collected fees and fines.
posted by The Whelk at 3:45 PM on July 30, 2018 [9 favorites]

According to internal documents provided to the Voice, the cause was actually a mistake in the project’s work order, which identified the wrong signal as the end point of the track work: F4-466 instead of F4-468.
Now I'm wondering what kind of photocopiers that office uses.
posted by flabdablet at 3:56 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was just in NYC over the weekend

weekend subway hell is horrifying but, and i feel somewhat traitorous for saying this, for the most part i have very few problems with it during the week. idk if it's just that the 3 is the most reliable train or something but weekday issues are so rare that i actually feel bad about it.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:35 PM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

You are lucky. The Q is routinely very late and unreliable during the week, both in the morning and at night. The 4/5 is a coin toss during the week. Maybe the 3 is just particularly (relatively) functional.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:49 PM on July 30, 2018

yeah, when I moved back to NYC in 2017 I got a place on the Q because I remembered it being a fast and reliable line for getting from South Brooklyn to Midtown. The experience of rush-hour commuting on the current-day Q rapidly disabused me of that notion.

Anyway, I recommend the newsletter Signal Problems (by Aaron Gordon, the author of this article) to anyone else currently dwelling in MTA purgatory or just interested in transit/infrastructure/urban planning clusterfucks in general.
posted by karayel at 7:26 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

(also every issue of Signal Problems ends with a reader-submitted photo of a Dog in a Bag, or sometimes Not in a Bag, on the subway—in case you need some cheering up after reading the rest of it)
posted by karayel at 7:30 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I find the fact that the wall is blue to be fascinating. Could have been a different color, but they went with blue.
posted by hippybear at 8:34 PM on July 30, 2018

I'm trying to read the Fast Forward plan, but I can only find this 75 page PDF full of big fonts and photographs. Is that really the full plan? I was expecting something more detailed, with citations and numbers know, thought. I mean, this PDF is clearly the product of thought, but I want to know how they got there.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 9:17 PM on July 30, 2018

The MTA does an amazing job, given what it has to contend with. It inherited a tangle of competing private railroads, it has been underfunded for decades, and it is hamstrung by bureaucratic bullshit thrust upon it by the state. Despite all that, it basically works.

I don't begrudge the victims of this snafu their frustration, but I wish I heard more appreciation of what the MTA does the 99+% of the time that it does what it's supposed to.
posted by andrewpcone at 12:08 AM on July 31, 2018 [7 favorites]

I’m about to start a job that will include being the person who checks to make sure certain documents don’t have typos and other errors in them, to avoid errors similar to this. This article was terrifying to me.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:34 AM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

Which train lines aren’t garbage now?

The A/C has been pretty good IMO (even on weekends, relatively), but I am anticipating that to go to shit as soon as the L’apocalypse starts.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:23 AM on July 31, 2018

That New Yorker article. Boy, that New Yorker article.

His last stop before New York was Toronto, where, by nearly all accounts, he turned around a troubled transit system with spectacular results.

I want to know whose goddamned accounts, because that is one hell of a lie. The transit system is still troubled, and if anything it gets worse with every passing year. No one knows what these "spectacular results" are supposed to be and as far as anyone knows they don't exist. How much of that is actually Byford's fault is questionable—decades of political bullshit and funding woes are probably much more responsible, and let's not talk about the TTC's general penchant for dismal line management and the complete and utter incompetence of Bombardier being unable to ever deliver streetcars on anything resembling a schedule, let alone ones that don't need to be recalled for major welding fixes—but let's not sit here and pretend he actually turned around a failing transit system. He didn't. Don't give him credit for a job that hasn't been done.

That award the TTC won for "best transit system in North America?" Torontonians laugh derisively every time someone mentions it, because it is so at odds with the general public perception of the system as to be completely unmoored from reality. And I say this as someone who supports transit and wants more money directed to fund it.
posted by chrominance at 8:46 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

idk if it's just that the 3 is the most reliable train or something but weekday issues are so rare that i actually feel bad about it.

i have the same experience here in DC, i live off the green/yellow line of the metro, and it's one of the more reliable ones. i hear many complaints about all the other lines, and i feel bad that most of the time i have no problems with the metro. but last week though WMATA shut down two stations on the red line for a 45-days maintenance and things have gone to shit. i feel for y'all up there.
posted by numaner at 12:48 PM on July 31, 2018

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