Tag Archives: MetroCard

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Clear in the morning, then overcast. High of 77. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the South in the afternoon. Monday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 68. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

EVENT of the DAY: Korean Theatre Festival in New York

The 3rd annual Korean Theatre Festival in New York, presented by Korus Players Co., an international theatre company based in both New York City and Seoul, South Korea, in association with K-R Dreams Inc., kicks off today. Ending September 23, the festival will feature four plays performed at the The Secret Theater in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Repeated flooding in Glendale prompts meeting between lawmaker and DEP

The latest flood devastation in Glendale has left residents with a deluge of anger and the Department of Environmental Protection is taking notice. Read more: New York Daily News

Suspect behind 13 Queens fires is arraigned

A man accused of setting 13 fires across Queens was arraigned Sunday. Thien Dinh, 43, was arraigned this morning following his arrest on Friday on charges of arson, reckless endangerment and burglary. Read more: NY1

Police find loaded gun on man sleeping on the subway

A man sprawled out on a row of seats on a subway in Queens got a rude awakening early Saturday when cops pulled him from the train and found a loaded gun in his bag, police said. Read more: New York Daily News

Search for missing diver in Queens suspended

The Coast Guard has suspended a search for a missing diver who was last seen spear fishing in the waters off New York City. The 29-year-old man went missing at about 7 a.m. Friday near Breezy Point Surf Club in Queens. Read more: ABC New York/AP

MTA is rai$ing havoc

Straphangers could face even larger subway fare hikes than already planned because of a potential $100 million hole in the MTA’s budget. Read more: New York Post

1 year on, Occupy is in disarray; spirit lives on

Occupy Wall Street began to disintegrate in rapid fashion last winter, when the weekly meetings in New York City devolved into a spectacle of fistfights and vicious arguments. Read more: AP

 

MTA may cut MetroCard discounts


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said today that the MTA could do away with MetroCard discounts in an effort to raise the agency’s revenues, reported Crain’s New York Business.

“We have enormous discounts in the system. And I think we need to look at those discounts, and we need to have, on the entire fare issue, a public debate,” Lhota said at breakfast forum sponsored by the publication Wednesday.

Cutting the discounts is just one of several options that is under consideration, said an MTA spokesperson.

Currently, subway riders receive a 7 percent bonus when they put $10 or more on their MetroCards.

But even if the discounts are cut, there could still be a fare hike, Lhota stressed. The MTA plans on raising fares by 7.5 percent in March 2013.

 

Pol fights against ‘unfair’ MTA fee


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

One local politician is worried the MTA’s green fee will put his constituents in the red.

Assemblymember Ed Braunstein said the MTA’s proposed green fee unfairly affects riders in his district.

The MTA recently proposed adding a $1 charge to each new MetroCard purchased; riders who refill their card will not be charged.

Many residents in northeast Queens use the area’s Long Island Railroad stations to purchase MetroCards where refilling is not an option, forcing folks to fork over $1 each time they need a new card.

The assemblymember said he does not believe the green fee should be abolished, just that at machines where refilling is not an option the dollar charge should be waived.

“If [residents] are incapable of refilling the card, which is the whole purpose of the green fee, then you shouldn’t be paying a dollar. I think it’s pretty clear,” said Braunstein.

The assemblymember said his constituents will be paying roughly $50 a year if the plan goes through as is.

“If my constituents are paying $50 and everybody else in the city is paying $3, I’m going to object to that as unfair,” he said.

The MTA is looking at addressing this situation, said spokesperson Kevin Ortiz, though he could not say how it would be handled. Ortiz added that customers can purchase cards at out of system vendors, where the green fee will be waived.

Q, 7 rated top subway lines, N, R worst in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

DSC_0519

The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign released its fifteenth annual “State of the Subways” Report Card today, and several Queens subway were rated the best in the city.

The report, which profiled 20 subway lines and rated 19, was based on how often they run and breakdown, seat availability, cleanliness and announcements.

The Q, which connects Astoria to midtown Manhattan, was given the highest “MetroCard Rating,” $1.60. Tied for second were the 7 and J/Z lines at $1.55.

It was the first time since 2001 that the Q train topped the list. During rush hour it was rated at or above the system’s average in every category except for how often it runs.

No Queens lines were at the bottom of the list. The lowest rated lines in the borough were the N and R, tied in seventh place with a rating of $1.20. Only 36 percent of N passengers were likely to get a seat during rush hour, compared to 44 percent system wide. The R line’s worse rating was for how many times it broke down.

For the fourth year in a row, the C line, which runs from Washington Heights to East New York, near the Brooklyn/Queens border was dead last at 85 cents.

Overall, the New York City subway system had some slight improvements. Car announcements were up at 3.4 percent and breakdowns improved 1.5 percent. Cleanliness, however, dropped 4 percent.

 

Take an online MTA survey and win a free MetroCard or rail ticket


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) wants to know what its regular subway, bus, railroad riders, and bridge and tunnel users think about their service, and is looking for people to complete online surveys three to five times a year.

Those who register for the surveys will be eligible to win a MetroCard or 10-trip ticket on the MTA railroad of their choice each time an online survey is conducted.

Typically the MTA gathers this kind of information through on-board surveys, telephone surveys and focus groups. It will continue to survey people using tho se methods, the online surveys will allow the MTA to target surveys to particular geographic areas within the system.

Customers who are interested in participating should go to http://mta.info/survey and fill out a short registration form. Once a survey is conducted, the MTA will send participants an email message with a link to the online survey.

 

 

 

MetroCard credit and debit transactions go down


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

At about 9 a.m., MetroCard credit and debit card transactions stopped working throughout the whole system, said a spokesman for the MTA. The spokesman did not know what caused the problem, but as of around 10 a.m. said the MTA is working on fixing it, and it will be solved in the next few minutes.

 

 

Survey sees ‘good,’ ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ of subways


| brennison@queenscourier.com

For those heading into the subway, a can of paint and a light bulb may be of more use than a MetroCard.

In its inaugural “State of the Station Platforms” survey, the Straphangers Campaign found subway stations with peeling paint, graffiti and cracked floors — but the findings were not all negative.

“We found the good, the bad and the ugly,” said Jason Chin-Fatt, the Straphanger Campaign organizer who oversaw the survey.

The non-profit surveyed 12 platform conditions, including the presence of garbage cans (the good); rats (the bad); and broken light fixtures (the ugly).

Among the good were garbage cans at every station and none were found to be overflowing. Only six percent of platforms contained large garbage bags.

Many seasoned straphangers may be more familiar with the bad and ugly, however.

Rats have long been associated with entering the depths of the subways, and the rodents were found during the survey, but at just 11 percent of stations. This still landed it in the bad category, which was any condition found at between 10 and 50 percent of stations. More bad included graffiti at 20 percent of stations, exposed wiring at 28 percent and cracked floors on a third of platforms.

The ugly — conditions found at more than 50 percent of platforms — consisted of broken lights seen at half the stations assessed, substantial water damage at 53 percent of stations and the most frequently observed condition, substantial peeling paint at 79 percent of stations.

The MTA stated that improving the appearance and cleanliness of the system’s stations is among its top priorities.

“We have deployed more personnel and resources to remove trash from stations in a timely manner while we continue the station component program, which targets specific repairs and improvements at more stations around the system,” said an MTA spokesperson.

The non-profit’s survey was based on observations at 120 randomly-selected subway stations — including 17 in Queens — between July 11 and September 24, 2011.

 

Pols, parents push for increased school bus service


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

A member of an influential city panel is concerned about perilous pathways getting between kids and their education.

Dmytro Fedkowskyj, the Queens representative for the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), is rallying parents across the borough to support a proposal that will eliminate ambiguity from the process of determining which children with dangerous intersections on their way to school will be provided with yellow bus service.

“I’m introducing something citywide that would create a committee formed by both the Department of Education (DOE) and Community Education Council (CEC) that would review what qualifies for hazard variance and approve applications for hazard variance,” said Fedkowskyj. “This would make the review process more transparent.”

According to Fedkowskyj, many children had hazard variances allowing them bus service to and from school, but the DOE rescinded numerous cases over the last 18 months.

“These kids that had these variances that are traveling on these dangerous intersections had the opportunity to take yellow buses two years ago,” he said. “But over the last 18 months the DOE reviewed their situation and deemed them not qualified because they were too close. But they didn’t tell anyone how they came to this conclusion.”

The city provides yellow bus service or MetroCards for kindergartners to second graders who live more than half a mile from their school, according to the DOE’s web site. Children in grades three through six can receive bus service or MetroCards if they live more than a mile from school.

Roughly 3,700 students currently receive city busing to schools under variances – with roughly 500 in Queens – according to DOE spokesperson Marge Feinberg.

“Parents may request individual variances for their children,” Feinberg said. “These requests are reviewed by our Office of Pupil Transportation. The Queens Borough President’s Panel representative proposed a resolution making certain recommendations about the variance process. Several Panel members expressed a desire to learn more about the process, and DOE will be discussing it with them.”

Fedkowskyj’s proposal, called the Safety Hazard Advisory Review Program (SHARP), would create a committee in each of the city’s 32 school districts. To be approved, the policy will have to receive votes from seven of the 13 members of PEP, who are appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and each borough president. The voting will occur at a public hearing on February 9 at Brooklyn Tech High School.

Fedkowskyj says all seven CECs in Queens have expressed support for the proposal – including CEC District 24, which passed a resolution.

Nick Comaianni, president of CEC24, believes children who attend P.S. 229 and live in the Big Six Towers in Woodside should receive yellow bus service due to the traffic conditions at the intersection of Laurel Hill Boulevard and 61st Street – a nine-lane street near the off ramp for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

“I think the condition is definitely hazardous,” said Comaianni, who claims Big Six had the most variances rejected from one particular location in the city. “When you look at that, you always have to ask yourself whether a 9 year old has enough sense to make that walk alone, and the answer is no.”

Parents from the Big Six, which is located roughly eight-tenths of a mile from P.S. 229, have expressed outrage that their children are expected to put their lives in danger to get school – particularly when nearly empty school buses visit the building complex each day.

“Our unique situation is that the bus we are discussing still comes to Big Six in the morning and afternoon for kindergarten through grade two, and the bus is about a third full,” said Thomas Haggerty, who pays for private busing for his son, a fourth grader at P.S. 229. “So we are talking about a virtually empty bus, and the older kids at P.S. 229 were put out in the cold and told their intersection was deemed safe.”

Other parents have witnessed the danger and destruction at the intersection firsthand.

“I was in a terrible accident in the exact spot where they want my kids to cross,” said Doris Stroman, who son is a first grader at P.S. 229. “The fear is beyond words. [The DOE] is justifying this by saying parents have to teach their kids how to cross safely. I’m an adult, but I couldn’t prevent getting into an accident when an 18-wheeler blew a red light. If the driver couldn’t see me, how can they see a kid? They are waiting for a tragedy to happen. I don’t know if they are waiting for someone to die.”

Oh, the hypocrisy


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

So Senator Charles Schumer wants a “Bill of Rights” for Long Island Rail Road commuters. Great sound bite!

How about a taxpayers’ “Bill of Rights” for voters? Hold Schumer and colleagues accountable for doing their job and passing the federal budget on time. Dock them all one day’s pay for each day the budget is late. By the way, just how did Schumer arrive in Mineola for his press conference announcing his “Bill of Rights?” Did he ride the Long Island Rail Road? Does he own a MetroCard to ride the subway from his expensive condo in trendy Park Slope, Brooklyn to work in his midtown office? Has anyone ever seen him take a MetroCard out of his wallet and use mass transit like millions of his constituents do on a daily basis? Perhaps he prefers his staff member to drive him around town rather than soil himself by using public transportation.

 

 

 

Larry Penner

Great Neck