How the MTA can transition into the new normal: Getting Riders Back On-Board: While the MTA has taken numerous steps to address rider safety, and studies have shown that transit in and of itself does not cause the virus to spread, many riders still fear getting back on-board. A new white paper released by the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC) includes recommended measures the MTA should take to increase rider confidence. Based on research into best practices currently being used in transit systems nationally and globally, the goal is to encourage riders to return to subways, buses, and commuter rail by making them feel safe and comfortable while riding. Doing so will maintain equitable public transit options and allow the MTA — and the economy — to rebound.
Read the full report here: Getting Riders Back On-Board
100 Days & 100 Nights: From Astoria to Lower Manhattan and Back PDF : The New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) report, 100 Days and 100 Nights, documents a daily commute from Astoria to Lower Manhattan to better understand the true rider experience. For more than 200 AM and PM peak hour trips, our rider recorded many of the same frustrations seen every day throughout the system – delays caused by signal problems and slow track speeds, and overcrowding on trains, platforms and stairwells.
Visit the report website: pcac100daysandnights.org
Freedom Ticket: Atlantic Branch Analysis (2017) PDF : Freedom Ticket is a three-phased program that will reduce the city commuter rail fare and provide a free transfer to NYC Transit subways and buses. In Phase 1, Freedom Ticket would allow South East Queens and Brooklyn riders to use the LIRR for a reduced rate and provide a free transfer to NYC transit subways and buses. One-way travel times could be reduced from two hours to only 32 minutes.
Freedom Ticket: Southeast Queens Proof of Concept (2015) PDF : The New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) is concerned with the speed and cost of commuting to and from Southeast Queens. SE Queens commuters can get to Manhattan and Brooklyn quickly on the LIRR, but the cost of the commuter ticket is unaffordable for many. Our Freedom Ticket: Southeast Queens Proof of Concept proposal to the MTA can be implemented quickly in 2017 at minimal cost, enabling the LIRR to fill current empty seats. The project can then be expanded to other city commuter rail stations that are distant from subway stations.
Keeping NY on Track (2015) PDF : A follow up to The Economic Benefit of the MTA Capital Program: A Call to Show the Full Impact, produced in 2012, Keeping NY on Track, is a study of the economic value of the MTA’s Capital Program. It aims to increase awareness of the importance of the Capital Program in maintaining the broad range of benefits that the MTA transit network brings to our region. However, new challenges, including climate change and shifting ridership patterns, expose our transit network and region to new risks. A renewed commitment from New York State leaders to craft a long-term MTA investment strategy is now more critical than ever.
The Road Back (2012) and Addendum (2014) PDF : The Road Back describes the difficult process of rebuilding the largest public transportation provider in the western hemisphere through the creation of a Capital Program. The review highlights the political, financial, and infrastructure challenges that have comprised the last thirty years’ struggle to resurrect the region’s most important transportation asset. Issues featured are the amount of funds that were needed; where the money went; how the funds were raised; and, most importantly, the benefits to the riders that resulted. Also discussed is the watchdog role that the PCAC has played throughout this period. The report concludes with cautionary remarks and recommendations as the MTA continues its efforts to restore and expand this vital system.
The purpose of the addendum is to update the facts and figures reported in the PCAC’s The Road Back: A Historic Review of the MTA Capital Program released in May 2012.
Every Which Way But Direct! (2014) PDF : A review of NYCT subway service diversion communication.
MTA in the Age of Big Data (2013) PDF : The PCAC examines the MTA’s current data issues by looking at the need for new technologies and the value new data visualization tools can bring to the MTA’s ability to better communicate its performance to stakeholders. The PCAC argues that by providing the right visual tools, the MTA can make its data more transparent and easier to understand.
The Economic Benefit of the MTA Capital Program: A Call to Show the Full Impact (2012) PDF : A white paper that highlights key studies that view the economic value of public transportation across many facets. It is also an appeal to the MTA to seek research partners who can provide the kind of analyses that better capture the true worth of this extraordinary system, thus adding further support for continued capital investment.
Bridging the Gap (2013) PDF : The NYCTRC’s analysis examines how accessible New York City Transit’s accessible subway platforms are for wheelchair users and assesses four issues that undermine the efforts of wheelchair users to successfully use New York City’s subways. The NYCTRC hopes that by highlighting these issues and recommendations, NYC Transit will improve the accessibility of the subway system and instill confidence in wheelchair users that the subway system is a safe and efficient way to travel.
The Road Back (2012) PDF : This research report describes the difficult process of rebuilding the largest public transportation provider in the western hemisphere through the creation of a Capital Program. The review highlights the political, financial, and infrastructure challenges that have comprised the last thirty years’ struggle to resurrect the region’s most important transportation asset. Issues featured are the amount of funds that were needed; where the money went; how the funds were raised; and, most importantly, the benefits to the riders that resulted. Also discussed is the watchdog role that the PCAC has played throughout this period. The report concludes with cautionary remarks and recommendations as the MTA continues its efforts to restore and expand this vital system.
Minutes Matter (2011) PDF : This investigation looks into the performance metrics presented by the operating agencies and makes recommendations for improvement or adjustment with an eye to better capturing the impact on riders. From its research, the PCAC finds that the MTA and its Operating Agencies provide some of the most transparent and detailed operational metrics among U.S. transit agencies; however, a true passenger-based OTP is still missing.
False Alarm (2010) PDF : The NYCTRC monitored locations in the subways with access gates to gauge the degree of improper use of emergency exit gates in the system in the summer of 2010.
Don’t Count on It (2010) PDF : In order to test the perception that weekend subway service affected by system maintenance, repair, and construction projects is significantly less frequent and more variable than schedules and service advisories indicate, in the fall of 2009 the NYCTRC conducted a limited survey of service on lines where NYC Transit was implementing temporary weekend service changes.
Going the Distance (2009) PDF : A PCAC investigation stemming from a concern about the slow advancement of the MTA’s smart card initiative — Smartcard Demonstration Project Phase I — and the desire for a status report on fare integration and connecting transit service across the region.
Welcome Aboard (2008) PDF : This investigation looked at how each agency — Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), Metro-North Railroad (MNR) and New York City Transit (NYCT) — handles ADA issues and the level of compliance achieved since the enactment of the 1990 legislation. It is clear from this study that the complex nature of these regulations, along with physical and financial constraints, has been a significant challenge to implementation. Most severely tested has been NYC Transit with its 100-year old subway system and its nearly 5,000 buses.
Unwelcome Mats: New York’s Subway Stations in Disrepair (2008) PDF : The NYCTRC first conducted its own survey of subway station conditions in 1994. A second survey was done in 2004. This report is the result of the most recent survey done in 2007 and 2008. The Council survey serves as an independent assessment of station conditions and incorporates rating definitions and criteria not included in the surveys done by NYCT.
Long Day’s Journey into Work (2007) PDF : In this report, the PCAC examines four distinct geographic areas that are traditionally identified as having few convenient public transportation options. However, our research suggests that the perceived need for additional service is often more complex than it first appears and that coordination between various service providers, governmental entities, and stakeholders is crucial. The disconnect between physical distance and travel time is in part due to the existing transportation infrastructure not being used as efficiently as it could be. This shortfall in public transportation service must be addressed if the New York region is to maintain an effective overall transportation system.
Waiting and Watching (2007) PDF : Results of the New York City Transit Riders Council Bus Service and Destination Signage Survey. In this project, the NYCTRC addressed the problems of bus bunching and unacceptable waiting times between buses. In this survey, the Council members collected arrival and departure times for each bus observed at a survey point. This information allowed us to calculate headways for most of the bus runs observed and to make comparisons between actual and scheduled headways, which was used as an indicator of correct spacing of buses.
Where is the MTA on TOD? (2006) PDF : The PCAC examined New York State, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s (NYMTC), and MTA policies and actions related to Transit Oriented Development. We found a number of promising initial steps moving toward TOD and several successful initiatives, but also a need to focus and coordinate efforts to link land use patterns and transportation. Based on our examination of conditions within the MTA service area and TOD in areas throughout the United States, the PCAC developed general recommendations for actions to be undertaken by the State of New York, NYMTC, and the MTA and its operating agencies.
Just a Friendly Reminder: Be Courteous While on the LIRR (2006) PDF : Results of the 2006 Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council Customer Courtesy Survey.
Ladies and Gentlemen: This Is Not a Drill….(2005) PDF : A Study of Internal and External Emergency Communication Policies at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and New York City Transit. This report discusses provisions for emergency communication within the MTA and the
Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and the NYC Transit Subways and presents conclusions about each agency’s preparation for internal and external communication before, during, and after an emergency.
What’s Happening? Where Are We? When Do We Get There? (2005) PDF : Results of the 2005 Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council Customer Communication Survey.
In Your Pocket: Using Smart Cards for Seamless Travel (2004) PDF : Smart cards can streamline fare payment, reduce customer service, administrative and maintenance costs, increase throughput, and decrease bus dwell times for transit operators. Non-transit applications of smart cards may also generate income for transit operators.
Hit or Miss (2004) PDF : A Survey of New York City’s subway stations. While it is doubtful that bus and subway customers would rate NYC Transit facilities as highly as NYC Transit does, it is clear that Transit’s critical eye has been sharpened when evaluating itself. When the Council’s stations survey was first undertaken in 1994, Transit Passenger Environment Survey (PES) scores, as reported, were too good to be true. Nearly half of the 27 indicators (49%) scored 98, 99 or 100%. In the most recent PES (fourth quarter 2003), only 4 (20%) indicators scored 98%.
Best Foot Forward (2003) PDF : Training Front Line Personnel to Provide Quality Customer Service. Effective communication and excellent customer service are paramount to running a successful transportation system. In fact, a recent report by the Public Agenda found that forty-six percent of people interviewed had walked out of a business in the past year due to bad customer service. Bad customer service results in lost business. This can translate into lost ridership in the transportation industry.
LIRR Report Card Rider Survey (2003) PDF : Results of the annual, independent rider survey conducted by the Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council.
You’ve Got Connections! (2002) PDF : Increasing Shuttle Bus Services to the MTA Railroads. Metro-North Railroad (MNR) and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) riders have difficulty finding parking at many stations. Commuters typically arrive earlier and walk farther to find a parking space, while discretionary riders are left with few spaces remaining after the daily commuter rush. The lack of available parking is one of the greatest constraints to increasing ridership on the railroads, yet building more parking spaces is not a priority for communities for many reasons.
LIRR Report Card Rider Survey (2002) PDF : Results of the annual, independent rider survey conducted by the Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council.
Troubling Signs PDF : A Signage Survey of the New York City Subway System. The objective of the 2002 New York City Transit Riders Council survey was to determine whether New York City Transit is doing a poor, adequate or excellent job in communicating all service, transfers, and hours of service through their signage program. The study also compared the condition of subway station signage in 2002 to that of 1997 to identify where improvements have been made and where they are needed.
LIRR Report Card Rider Survey (2001) PDF : Results of the annual, independent rider survey conducted by the Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council.
Reopening Closed Subway Entrances (2001) PDF : The NYTRC performed a survey of subway entrance to determine which could be reopened with high entry/ exit turnstiles.
Right of Passage (2001) PDF : Reducing Barriers to the Use of Public Transportation in the MTA Region. The PCAC examined potential ways to reduce barriers to public transportation usage in the New York region. We looked to provide the MTA with recommendations for attracting even more passengers, without major capital expenditure. Such an approach will help to improve regional mobility and livability, enhance our city’s core, and reduce our dependence on the private automobile.
LIRR Report Card Rider Survey (2000) PDF : Results of the annual, independent rider survey conducted by the Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council.
Timing is Everything (2000) PDF : Although ridership stands at a 30-year high, service levels do not. As more riders compete for limited space, the Transit Riders Council is concerned that unacceptable gaps in scheduled service may be on the rise. Therefore, we decided to perform a new service reliability study for 2000.
Mixed Signals (2000) PDF : To assess the MTA’s overall provision of customer information in today’s climate of burgeoning ridership, the PCAC undertook a study of the communications departments at each agency. In particular, comprehensive information was gathered on MTA agency telephone and correspondence units and on the provision of information over the Internet via the MTA website. For purposes of comparison, supplementary information was also collected from other transit providers including New Jersey Transit and London Transport.
Analysis of Alternative Fuel Technologies for NYCT Buses (2000) PDF : Based on these considerations, the Transit Riders Council recommends that NYCT not adopt an all-CNG policy. The agency, though, can improve its bus program in some respects. The Council shares the concerns of environmental advocates about the large diesel bus component of the upcoming capital plan.
LIRR Report Card Rider Survey (1999) PDF : Results of the annual, independent rider survey conducted by the Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council.
Not Going Your Way (1999): A study of New York City Transit’s service diversion notices.
Privatizing MTA Services: Cost Savings or Buzzword? (1999) PDF : This paper explores three types of privatization for public transportation agencies.
Destination Unknown: Bus Stop Signage Survey (1998) PDF : In response to numerous errors identified on the new signs by TRC members and staff, and complaints received by the TRC from members of the public, the Council undertook a random survey of 286 of these signs. The survey found widespread inaccuracies, some of which are statistically significant, in destination information, Guide-A-Ride listings, and panel color-coding for Limited routes. The study also found a total lack of Hours-of-Operation information for NYC Transit Express bus routes, and several instances of incorrectly sited signposts.
A Comparative Study of Financing for the MTA (1997) PDF : Increasing operating and capital subsidies is critical if the MTA is to be able to continue to provide the level of service appropriate in downstate New York. The New York metropolitan area is the core of the state’s economy and a world-class region. In 1994, New York City generated more than forty percent of the personal income in the state and produced nearly a third of the retail sales in the state.