First opened in 1904, the New York City Subway is one of the largest public transit systems in the world. Its busy and bustling stations hold six million passengers a day which is 70 percent of all subway riders in the US. But this huge surge of growth comes with many challenges. As ridership has soared, changes to its infrastructure have not been able to keep up. This has led to increasing pressure on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to accommodate with the growing demand and continue to be the economic gateway to the rest of the city. The transit chairman has vowed to present a new modernisation plan to overhaul the organisation and identify the strategies for short-term and long-term transformational change. Many passengers will be relieved to hear the news after the recent subway derailment which left 34 injured.
"It is our responsibility to transport people as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible, and the current state of the subway system is unacceptable."
Last week, two subway cars were derailed from its track. Caused by human error, the misplaced equipment caused an A train to derail last Tuesday morning. Passengers were left stranded on the smoke-filled carriages as they waited for emergency services to arrive at the scene. What was first believed to be a train defect turned out to be caused by an unsecured piece of rail line that was left on the tracks.
MTA ( @MTA ) Chairman Joseph Lhota announced that he will present a modernisation plan in 60 days to provide the updates the subway needs. The MTA will work alongside transit experts and consultants to deliver a comprehensive audit to investigate the failing areas across the network as well as long-term transformational change. Key focuses will be: changing and training personnel, improving customer communication and implementing new technologies.
"Millions of New Yorkers depend on the MTA every day, and we must rebuild confidence in the authority with a complete overhaul of the system – identifying the root causes of our problems and taking immediate and decisive action to fix them. It is our responsibility to transport people as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible, and the current state of the subway system is unacceptable. In tandem with the Genius competition proposals, we will deploy a multi-faceted plan to restore confidence to the MTA and prove that we can deliver for our customers."
The MTA understand the benefit of these decisions which will span over 472 stations, 655 miles of tracks in a 24/7 service that has enabled New York to thrive for over a century.
Furthermore, the transit agency also announced the Genius Transit Challenge, an international competition seeking innovative solutions to modernise and improve the reliability of the New York City subway system. The competition will award a “genius” prize of up to $1 million for the best idea in three categories.
The first will be to improve signalling technologies to offer a more reliable service. Secondly, update subway cars which run more efficiently along the tracks to prevent breakdowns and reduce delays. Then the final area will aim to improve communication systems by controlling technologies in the subway systems.
After the judging process has been completed a panel will select the winners by the end of 2017.
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