Meeting Minutes Oct 23, 2014




A meeting of the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) was convened at 12 noon on October 23, 2014 in the 5th Floor Board room at MTA Headquarters, 347 Madison Avenue, New York City.

The following members were present:

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

The following member was absent:

Marisol Halpern                    Trudy L. Mason

In addition, the following persons were present:

Ellyn Shannon                     -Associate Director
Angela Bellisio                     -Transportation Planner
Bradley Brashears               -Assistant Transportation Planner
Karyl Berger                          -Research Associate
Mike Salvato                         -MTA
Deborah Hall-Moore            -NYCT
Phyllis Silvestri                     -Lindenwood Alliance
Leslie Fordjour                     -NYMTC
Miranda Newbaue               -Capital NY
Rebecca Harshbarber         -NY Post
Joah Sapphire                      -Columbia University

Approval of Agenda and Minutes

The agenda for Thursday, October 23, 2014 meeting was approved. The minutes of the October 2, 2014 meeting were approved as amended.

Amendments/ corrections to the October meeting minutes:

  • Stuart Goldstein is listed as present, but he did not attend,
  • The masthead, regarding Marisol Halpern is incorrect.
  • The NY Post reporter’s name is spelled incorrectly.
  • A correction needs to be made to the second paragraph of page 7 regarding the discussion of the proposed capital plan.

Mr. Sinansky stated that he didn’t ask for a letter, rather he asked for staff to prepare an analysis of state and city funding for the past 20 years from the Giuliani and Pataki administrations. Mr. Sinansky stated that he would like letters sent regarding the decline in these contributions to Mayor DiBlasio and Governor Cuomo.

Chair’s Report

The Chair’s report is attached to the minutes.

Chair’s Report

Andrew Albert wished Bill Henderson the best. Chris Grief asked about the status of passes to 2 Broadway, which are continue to be worked on.

Mr. Albert summarized an Eno Transportation Foundation event where Tom Prendergast spoke, but while describing the composition of the MTA Board did not mention the three commuter council non-voting members. Bill Henderson wrote a letter to Mr. Prendergast citing the PCAC’s disappointment. (The letter was copied and then distributed to the members.)

Mr. Albert also introduced the NYCTRC next project: Freedom Ticket. Mr. Brashears stated he is working on a proposal for the Freedom Ticket which would expand the Citi Ticket into the Freedom Ticket by allowing passengers to ride during the weekday with free transfers to connections. Mr. Albert said that we would keep the members posted on progress on the project.

Old Business

Chris Grief stated that he and NYCTRC member Edith Prentiss went to see the new bus lift flaps on a test bus. Ms. Prentiss said the new lifts would make a big difference in getting a wheelchair off the bus and onto the street because the new flap has a mechanical option and is easier to operate. NYCTRC is also doing a special training on kneeling the bus. The new flaps are faster, easier, have less weight and have a power assist for opening.

Stuart Goldstein said he saw a sign for the first time giving the height standard for children in the subway. Ms. Prentiss noted that the debate was about changing the metric to age from height.

Mr. Goldstein stated we should be cognizant of the revenue loss from express buses with the introduction of Freedom Ticket and we should do an analysis of the revenue loss. Mr. Albert said the idea was that railroads would carry people because they have a greater capacity than buses.

Mike Sinansky said that in June the PCAC adopted a code of conduct based on the NYCTC code of conduct. He suggested the NYCTRC adopt a similar code in accordance with what was adopted by the PCAC. He said the PCAC code now includes remedies and improves some of the language and has a better introduction.

Mr., Sinansky said the other two councils do not already have codes of conduct, but since the TRC has one it should be consistent with the PCAC’s. Burton Strauss asked to be refreshed on the difference and Ellyn Shannon distributed copies of both the NYCTRC and PCAC versions for comparison.

Sharon King Hoge brought up the fact that when you get off the subway at the AirTrain there are people there asking for unexpired monthly and weekly passes and that there is no law enforcement. Ms. Prentiss asked if it was against the law to hand a card to someone else and Mr. Albert responded that yes, they are nontransferable. Mr. Grief stated this was also happening in Brooklyn. Ms. King Hoge said the policy should be posted. Mr. Albert responded that this was LIRR jurisdiction but we would notify them.

Ken Stewart asked for a progress report on performers on platforms and the code of performer conduct. Mr. Albert responded that we have submitted the request to police, but have not heard back. Mr. Stewart asked for a copy of what had been submitted and Mr. Albert said he would get one. Ms. Prentiss said she knew of a wheelchair user who could not get off the train at 59th Street/Columbus Circle because there was a drumset blocking her.

Ms. Prentiss asked if there were updates on South Ferry, and Mr. Albert responded that there may be after Monday. Mr. Albert also said there is a disconnect between the signs and the On-the-Go kiosks and a fix is being worked on.

In reference to the code of conduct, Mr. Goldstein said the last paragraph includes remedies and that the TRC should add a clause about speaking with the accused party. Mr. Goldstein said that we should also add something about the power of the NYCTRC Executive Committee’s authority to investigate and corroborate and speak with the individuals who stated the behavior was improper in order to corroborate the facts. It is important that the Chair and NYCTRC has the power to investigate and review all aspects of the allegation. Mr. Goldstein said that you don’t have an obligation to tell the individual about the investigation, but you have an obligation to investigate the allegation.

Mr. Guild suggested the wording to be “which may include an investigation, oral or written or other actions deemed…”

Mr. Goldstein also pointed out that the subject of inquiry might want to present their view of the facts to ensure balance. Mr. Albert summed up saying we would redraw the NYCTRC code of conduct so that the Council could vote on it next month.

Mr. Sinansky supported Mr. Guild in the notion of using language that allows latitude, and does not tie the council down to a script.

Ellyn Shannon said that the staff would come up with a draft with Bill, Mike and Stuart.

New Business

Ms. Prentiss asked to discuss the new commercial area in Columbus Circle and if it was going to be accessible.

Ken Stewart clarified the location of the concourse to be under 8th Ave south of Columbus Circle.

Mr. Albert said there would be 11 stores and that the A/C would vent to the street. It would be completed in mid-2015.

Mr. Greif brought up two incidents on MTA buses regarding customer safety and the lack of Transit Bureau police in stations.

Ms. King Hoge mentioned the increase in people sleeping on trains and asked if the council can check with the police to see if they’ve changed policies.

Mr. Greif asked if Mr. Fox could come back. Mr. Albert said he would get everyone the district commander’s email so they can document incidents.

Scott Nicholls said that on the Staten Island Railway there are cops at the terminal but not on the trains. Mr. Strauss said he would like to know the numbers. Ms. Prentiss said that a lot of stuff is not getting reported; there is a bad record keeping and bad statistics.

Mr. Albert said the council could get the chief back, but in the meantime would get some email addresses.

Mr. Grief brought up the fact that south of Prospect Park there is no signage about the shuttle bus for a recent service diversion and that bus signage was different than the signage on the website.

Ms. Prentiss said the M100 was being rerouted in Washington Heights running under the elevated tracks at certain points and that it was not stopping at the curb. That it appeared to be a permanent reroute.

Introduction of Michael Salvato, MTA Director and Program Executive of Enterprise Information, Asset Management and Strategic Innovation to Discuss the Use of Information Technology to Increase the Performance of NYC Transit’s Physical Assets while Reducing Cost and Risk to the System

Mr. Albert introduced Mr. Salvato

Mr. Salvato has been working on Enterprise Asset Management at the MTA for the past few years. Tom Prendergast developed a mandate for it in 2011. Asset management gives the MTA the ability to demonstrate that it is responsible for funding and that the MTA is managing finances properly.

The MTA is asset intensive. It would cost 1 trillion dollars to rebuild the system. It creates value for NYC and the region. Without the transit system the economy stops and the competiveness is enabled by this infrastructure. It gives New York access to a broad, diverse labor force. Asset management is being able to understand conditions of assets and manage work and maintenance, and make informed investment decisions. It is about managing risks and having contingency plans. Long range planning is taking in factors like climate change.

State of good repair was revolutionary in the 1980s, but now the MTA needs to look beyond that to whole life management. Over the past 10 years there has been a codification of what good asset management looks like culminating in an international standard. It took 36 countries 3 years to write and it is about the optimal and sustainable management of physical assets using metrics of performance, risk, and cost. Asset management means realizing value from assets. MTA is putting the emphasis on the business case.

Other railroads have been able to improve reliability, utilization and cost.

The MTA needs this because of global changes, federal requirements and agency challenges.

The MTA is making progress on state of good repair, but there is still more work to be done. The need is to make decisions around the marginal dollar to get more bang for the buck. Tom Prendergast’s mandate puts into place the whole life process to demonstrate efficiencies of using resources. Tom issued a policy around goals for whole life investment management, utilization and around information and technology, empowering staff to improve work conditions, improve business strategies, process, capabilities and technologies.

With EAM information is a key enabler of processes. This changes the organization. Currently the organization is inefficient because it is silo-ed. Everything needs to be modernized, and movement to the BSC and MTA shows a commitment to that modernization. The MTA wants to have the ability to control its fate given the circumstances. EAM will effect culture, how the MTA works with unions, and relationships with middle managers. Now there is a quiet revolution and all operating agencies have directors of asset management.

The MTA has a 7 million dollar grant in buses to move to reliability-based maintenance.

EAM is an MTA-wide program, using international standards and the MTA is doing it one department at a time. Adoption of asset management is one person at a time. It is all about change. MTA needs to manage its risks and has to change to do that. The benchmark is that by 2018 is there will be substantial compliance.

Ms. King Hoge asked how the unions were reacting.

Mr. Salvato responded that they are bringing the unions along with them. They are talking with union leadership and people in the field. They are finding that an inclusive process is easier to digest.

Mr. Strauss asked if there were examples of successes.

Mr. Salvato responded Metro-North Railroad’s performance was above and beyond. London Underground has had great success. In the US, the larger properties are on this journey: BART, Washington, and Chicago. They are doing a session at RB in January.

Mr. Greif asked for a copy of the presentation.

Mr. Salvato said this is all part of a cultural change. Asset management provides a common mental map to talk among peers and other industries because they are able to talk in a common language.

Mr. Sinansky asked about the state of good repair and backlog. After 9-11 there a was a great deal of emphasis on ventilation, but the chart Mr. Salvato showed, ventilation has the longest backlog.

Mr. Salvato responded asking if investing in ventilation is a good place to spend money. Asset management asks you to determine choices to see if suboptimal investments are better decisions.

Ken Stewart asked about taking money out of assets through real estate transactions, rentals etc.

Mr. Salvato responded that the top level is realizing the value of assets and that you need to be able to enumerate two types of value: the ensure that you are acting efficiently and effectively and that eliminating waste frees up money to be more productive. The second part is unlocking value of an asset. What is the value of that wall space in a station? What is the value of the air rights over our tracks? This enables us to frame the questions differently. It may take a while to realize the value.

Mr. Stewart asked specifically about the West Fourth mezzanine. Mr. Salvato responded that they are doing some work on that area.

Mr. Albert concluded the country doesn’t treat New York as it ought to be treated.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:06 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Ellyn Shannon

Associate Director