Meeting Minutes December 22, 2016



A meeting of the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) was convened at 12:00 noon on December 22, 2016 in the 5th Floor Board Room at 347 Madison Avenue, New York City.

The following members were present:

Andrew Albert
Sharon King Hoge
Stuart Goldstein
Trudy Mason
Christopher Greif
Scott R. Nicholls
William K. Guild
Edith Prentiss
Burton M. Strauss, Jr.

The following members were absent:

Marisol Halpern

In addition, the following persons were present:

William Henderson -PCAC Executive Director
Ellyn Shannon -PCAC Associate Director
Angela Bellisio -PCAC Planning Manager
Bradley Brashears -PCAC Transportation Planner
Karyl Berger -PCAC Research Associate
Bill Wall -NYCT
James Harris -NYCT
William Allcot -NYCT
Jacqueline Carter -NYCT
Troy Odenphil -USDOT
Alan Flacks -NY County Democratic Comm
Judy Richheimer -CRDC
Eric Wollman -Outdoors Club Inc.
Ken Steward -Concerned citizen
William Stanford, Jr. -Concerned citizen
Yonne Morrow -Concerned citizen
Alan Minor -Concerned citizen
Jason A. Pinero -Concerned citizen

Approval of Agenda and Minutes

The agenda for the December 22, 2016 meeting was approved. The minutes of the November 17, 2016 meeting were approved as amended with corrections.

Chair’s Report (The Chair’s Report is attached to these minutes.)


Second Avenue Subway: Report from Council Member Trudy Mason.
Ms. Mason stated that she has been involved with Second Avenue Subway (SAS) for the last thirty years and reminisced about the Bocce ball courts and a Wine Cellar as some of the concepts on how to use the completed section of tunnel.

Congresswoman Maloney has secured funding for Preliminary Engineering work for Phase 2. Ms. Mason also discussed the benefits of SAS, the route to the west side – 200K riders expected on SAS Phase 1. More than Boston or Washington. She stated that she was going to 96th Street station ribbon cutting as well as the other stations that will occur before January 1.

At Monday’s event, the Governor spoke about public art and all of the large public works being constructed.

Substantial overtime has been required to complete the project on time for the January 1st opening. It is still to be determined where the funds will be coming from.

Ms. Mason shared memories of Bob Olmsted’s effort to resurrect the SAS proposal and get it moving again. It was a great day when he was able to attend the ground breaking for phase 1, but unfortunately passed away before completion. Much of what is happening on SAS is due to Mr. Olmsted’s persistence on advocating for completion and his knowledge of what had been done on the existing tunnel segments.

Ms. Mason stated that the new subway maps with the Q route are going up and that the hand out maps will be ready January 1.

Edith Prentiss wanted to know when the large print maps would be available, and expressed concern that they were not produced at the same time.

Chris Greif stated that he understood they would be completed by March/April.

Ken Stewart wanted to know where the line will run.

Andrew Albert outlined route

Jason Pinero commented that he was very doubtful that the new line and stations would open. He was concerned that there will not be WiFi or cell.

Ms. Mason stated that the stations are state of the art.

Mr. Albert stated that Transit wireless is providing service in all underground stations by the end of the year.

Ms. King Hoge stated that the On the Go monitors are not accurate in their arrival time.

Mr. Albert commented that timetable information is used. It is confusing. He said he will say something about this.

Board Report

There are new subway maps out, but it is difficult to see the Q as it goes up the eastside.

Fare Hearings
Mr. Albert went to four public hearings. They were scheduled later in the year than usual due to elections. The biggest reasons for the low turnout include:

• There are no service cuts
• It is the lowest fare hike since 2009
• Frustration due to idea that minds are made up

The largest turnout was in Staten Island.
There were a lot of heartbreak stories. Stories of fare evasion in Brooklyn.
And an organized effort for the social fare, asking for MTA to ask the City to fund.

Mr. Albert – Back to Board Report – Brooklyn Borough President office spoke about Freedom Ticket, others spoke at other hearings.

Increase in Homeless on Subways
Ms. King Hoge stated that there are lots of people sleeping in cars on the E train.
Mr. Albert stated that this is monitored and workers try to get the homeless to go to shelters, but they do not feel safe there. Mr. Greif stated he also has seen this on the R, M, B and D trains. He has seen nothing done about it on any train line. Ms. King Hoge commented that it is disturbing, because it is the E train where tourists come from JFK. Mr. Albert suggested that the council should get BRC to come to a meeting to talk about homeless services. Mr. Greif pointed out that the homeless individuals are messing up the elevators and suggested that more cleaning and enforcement is needed. Ms. Prentiss stated that the backs of benches at 207th Street have been cut off. It has not reduced the number of homeless, but they have not fixed the benches. Disrespectful of Inwood community. 175th, 125th do not have this. Mr. Albert said he will find out what are the plans for the benches. Mr. Pinero stated that there are homeless in wheelchairs begging car to car.

Select Bus Service
Burt Strauss wanted to know where the next SBS buses are.
Mr. Albert stated that 23rd Street has been completed. The M79 is coming next.
Yvonne Morrow pointed out a complaint on the M23 SBS. She stated that they had to eliminate 5th Avenue stop because of insufficient space, but this makes it inconvenient. Mr. Albert stated that he will ask, because it is just west of 5th Avenue. Judy Richheimer said that elimination of stops at 5th and Lexington on 23rd Street is a problem. Also, location of local/SBS on M15 is a problem. If you give up an SBS, you have already paid.

Mr. Albert noted that a receipt can be used on the local buses and use ticket for two hours. Also, there were several speakers at the fare hearings who asked for an extension of transfers when there is delay. Some asked for a three hour window.

Mr. Stewart wanted to know if the council had passed along suggestions on accessibility of SBS fare machines.

Mr. Albert responded yes, but there has been no response.

Old Business

Fare Hearings
Ms. Prentiss stated concerns about the location of the Bronx hearings. She stated there were lack of directions for accessible transit. She asked that council request for the hearings to be closer to accessible transit. They also should be at more accessible location in the building. Mr. Albert stated that he will.

William Stanford pointed out that he had to use the stairs rather than the ramp at the Bronx hearing. He stated that people were let in late to the public hearings registration.

Short Turned Bus Study
Ms. Prentiss also asked about the study of short turned buses. Such as the (4, 5 – 135th – half hour wait.).

Second Avenue Subway
SAS – Provided diagram of how it should be built. There are only twelve accessible stations in my borough. Had a problem getting into meeting.
Key Stations List
Ms. Prentiss stated one hundred key station list has 12 stations left. She has asked for new list of stations, and said the time to engage in conversation is now by identifying where communities have grown since 1980’s where there are no accessible stations. She requested a list of what cannot be done. Ellyn Shannon stated that she will set up working meeting.

Introduction of Bill Wall and James Harris of NYC Transit Department of
Subways – Rapid Transit Operations and William Allcot of NYC Transit
Department of Subways – Division of Car Equipment to discuss the
operation and maintenance of the vintage subway car fleet that is in service during the holidays and for special events

Mr. Harris and Mr. Wall will talk about Operations, Mr. Allcot will talk about the program.

William Wall stated that he will explain what they did. Museum trains go back to Rockefeller era and 1964-65 World’s Fair. That’s where they came up with the idea of renovating old cars and providing them for rides. They started out with two trains.

In 1976, TA (Don Harold) came up with temporary exhibition in Hoyt Street station. Exhibit opened in 1976, currently continues as the Transit Museum. Transit museum continued to operate nostalgic train – In 2004, museum trains used for 100th anniversary subway. The trips were such a hit that it triggered a scheduled service. There are other regularly scheduled nostalgia trains. Such as to Yankee Stadium on the first day. To the City Field Mets opening day. They are used for commercial promotions.

There are Museum trips to Woodlawn Cemetery trip that sells out in one day.
Other promotions, include the Rockettes and Halloween trains. They are averaging over 100,000 people on weekend holiday trains.

Ms. King Hoge wanted to know what the economics are.
Mr. Wall stated that they do have costs, but in terms of tourism promotions and building a positive image for MTA, there is a major return.

Ms. Richheimer wanted to know if people ever comment on features they would like from the post. Mr. Wall stated soft seats is the major one. People notice the similarities between trains. People say cars seem more spacious, but this is because of no A/C equipment in them.

Ms. Prentiss said she hated the holiday train because she cannot get on, because of the baby carriages. She wanted to know if they could have more trains.

Eric Wollman stated that there were some maintenance problems for a few weeks. Mr. Wollman asked if they would talk about maintenance.

Mr. Wall stated that this is the first year they have had maintenance problems. Mr. Strauss wanted to know how many cars they operated. Mr. Wall stated 8, working on 9, total in museum fleet is 80 cars. Mr. Strauss wanted to know if schedules are printed. Mr. Wall stated that they will be put out by Corporate Communications.

Mr. Greif commented that the children love going on the first day of summer train. Many people who have disabilities love these trains. Some people want to work for the MTA because of these trains. He said he has appreciated this for the last twelve years. Mr. Allcot stated that they consider themselves the train set for the Rockefeller Plaza Tree.

Mr. Wall remarked that they have the only train where people smile!

Alan Flacks mentioned he had difficulty getting schedule for the train. Mr. Pinero suggested there should be platform controllers for holiday train. The train is very crowded at Queens Plaza.

Mr. Wall stated that the problem with the train is popularity. The headway is 1 ½ hour. At Second Avenue, people are looking at the train. At Queens Plaza they load in two minutes and get out.

Mr. Stewart wanted to know if they use straps.
Mr. Wall answered yes.

We have children of all ages, people in vintage clothing. (Video)
Mr. Wall stated that many other systems want to run similar operations. He said they are talking to Chicago now. Mr. Allcot showed photos of 1917 A-B (BMT standard) restoration. The crew does everything they can including spending their own time working on the trains and have museum volunteers who work on cars. He then explained various points rebuilding process. If there are no parts available, we fabricate them.

In Second Avenue, there was a problem with height, so they had to measure height, and adjust. Parts are a problem. Sometimes they find parts in transit properties. The fleet is not static, old cars go away, new ones enter the fleet

Mr. Flacks said it is difficult to find schedules for holiday train.

New Business

No new business.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellyn Shannon