Tag Archives: transit

MetroCard facing extinction after 20 years


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

The MetroCard just turned 20 years old and it looks like it’s time for it to retire, according to the MTA.

By 2019, the transit agency is looking to fully replace the MetroCard with an account based, contactless card system, in an effort to save money.

Since the MetroCard was introduced two decades ago, it has been a “tremendous success,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. According to him, the new technology has contributed to increased ridership, going from 1 billion to 1.6 billion in the last 20 years.

But, “the MetroCard and its technology is nearing its end of its useful life,” he said.

The MTA spends about $6 million a year printing MetroCards, plus the cost of maintaining the MetroCard machines, according to Ortiz. The older technology is also costly to maintain because it can only be provided by one vendor, he added.

In March 2013, along with fare hikes, the transit agency introduced a “New Card Fee,” where riders need to pay $1 each time they buy a new MetroCard at a machine or station booth.

A new system could also allow riders to use the same ticketing method across more than just city subways and buses, including the MTA’s regional rails, and even New Jersey Transit and other local transportation systems, according to Ortiz.

Other major cities in the country have already adapted this type of ticketing system, as well cards that use contactless readers, and can automatically deduct money from a person’s bank account or credit card.

“We want to expand customer choice [and] customer convenience through technology,” Ortiz said.

The MTA is also thinking of offering a way riders can pay using their smartphones.

For customers who might not have a bank account or credit card, Ortiz said the MTA “would develop a system that would accommodate those customers.”

 

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Little girl left on bus; driver charged


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony DelMundo

Police parked a private bus driver in prison after she left her vehicle unattended — with a toddler still aboard.

Officers from the 110th Precinct responded to Christie Avenue and 99th Street in Corona at 9 a.m. on April 12 after receiving a 9-1-1 call from a Con Edison worker who spotted a child in the driver’s seat of a parked bus. Upon arrival at the scene, cops discovered two-year-old Samantha Bustamante abandoned inside the unattended private vehicle, which is operated by Anita Bus Company.

The police proceeded to break a window and remove the toddler, who they believe was left alone for roughly 15 minutes. Bustamante was taken back to the 110th Precinct, where she was reunited with her mother. EMS also responded to the precinct to evaluate the girl and determined she was in good physical condition.

“I was scared – terrified,” said mom Sandra Ramos, 24. “I started crying on the phone, but the police were telling me she was fine. I was terrified for my baby.”

Bustamante was picked up from her Elmhurst home at 7:20 a.m. by the Anita Bus and was supposed to be dropped off at Kathy’s Day Care, located at 97-30 57th Avenue in Corona, at roughly 8:30 a.m. with four other children. However, police say the driver, 62-year-old Ana Garcia, missed the girl while checking the vehicle after the other children departed.

Garcia was arrested by police after she returned to the bus and has been charged with failure to exercise control of a minor. She is also legally forbidden from coming near Bustamante. The NYPD says the Corona resident went home after parking the bus.

Attempts to contact Garcia were unsuccessful as of press time, and Anita Bus’ phone was not accepting incoming calls. Ramos says she paid for Anita Bus through Kathy’s Day Care, but a representative from the center would not comment as to whether they referred the bus service.

When Ramos received a call from the day care center informing her that her daughter had not been dropped off, she immediately called Garcia’s cell phone, but found police on the other end of the line. She initially suspected she was the victim of a practical joke, but her calm quickly turned to panic when the cops’ description matched Bustamante.

The frantic mother was then picked up from her job in Manhattan and brought to the station by police, where she found her daughter playing with officers and serving them coffee.

“When I first saw her, I started crying and I hugged my mom so my daughter wouldn’t see me. I didn’t want her to see the fear I had,” Ramos recollected. “She seemed so unaware – so brave in the situation. I guess she didn’t comprehend what happened so I didn’t want her to see me crying. I hugged my baby as hard as I could.”

Garcia’s son apologized to Ramos at the 110th Precinct, but she still has not been given an explanation for the mishap. She says she provides the bus company with a car seat for her daughter, and she is upset the child was unstrapped and able to walk to the driver’s seat.

“She was not in her car seat. She was walking around and that’s how they saw her,” Ramos said. “She was unbuckled and roaming around in the bus. It just shows their carelessness. Even if she was asleep or not tied in they are also supposed to check the bus. It’s frustrating.”

Despite the fear she initially felt for her daughter’s safety, Ramos is now happy just to have Bustamante safe and sound and is thankful a “good person” spotted her in the bus.
“What if it was someone else who passed by, someone not as good as the 9-1-1 caller – then they could have broken that window and taken my baby. I don’t even want to think about that. I want to think about having her,” Ramos said. “This is like a second chance for my daughter, and I’m just glad that I have her. I’m upset at the situation, but I’m happy with the result because I have my daughter safe.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/1/2011: Queens Library’s busy Elmhurst branch set to be torn down


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up
Queens Library’s busy Elmhurst branch set to be torn  down to make way for new state -of-the-art-facility 

The Queens Library’s second busiest branch is being torn down to make way for a new state-of-the-art facility. The Elmhurst Library, which hosted almost half a million visitors during the last fiscal year, will close on Nov. 7. And even though visitors will have to contend with a makeshift library of modular units for more two years, they say it’s worth the wait. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Attacks on NYC subway workers up 16% this year,  mirroring assaults on bus drivers

It’s not just bus drivers who are getting assaulted more frequently – attacks on subway workers also are up this year, officials said Monday. Assaults on conductors, cleaners and other subway staffers are up nearly 16% January through October compared to the same stretch last year, MTA officials said at a joint meeting of the City Council transportation and labor committees.  Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) urged the MTA to ask the NYPD to target the most troublesome bus routes with uniformed and undercover police officers. Read More: Daily News

 

NYPD combats bullying

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is aiming to take the fight out of bullies.
Officers of the NYPD Community Outreach Division joined Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi at P.S. 144 in Forest Hills on October 24 to present a police program designed to combat bullying in schools across the city. “Bullying is a real problem, and it can’t be ignored,” said Hevesi. “The NYPD did an outstanding job engaging the students in a discussion about bullying. The officers related to the students as they performed, and made them feel the emotional consequences of bullying.” Read More: Queens Courier

 

Richmond Hill Block Association gives residents a fighting chance against attack

Richmond Hill residents now have a fighting chance against sexual predators who have been terrorizing women in southeast Queens. In light of the recent patterns of sexual attacks in the surrounding areas, Sensei Ricky Singh of Dojo Warriors equipped a little more than a dozen women and men with vital keys to self-defense at the Richmond Hill Block Association’s monthly meeting on October 26. Of the countless sexual attacks in Queens, a 44-year-old female was assaulted on September 22 while she entered her home in Queens Village. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Downed Trees, Outages Remain After Weekend Snowstorm

New Yorkers were still feeling on Monday the effects of Saturday’s snow storm. Consolidated Edison said hundreds of city customers remained without power, and most of them were in the Bronx.The utility company said the delayed restoring of power is due to the extent of the damage from downed trees and wires in the borough. Meanwhile, tree cleanup was underway in all of the city’s parks on Monday. Read More: NY1

 

Mets To Alter Citi Field Walls To Try To Increase Scoring

The New York Mets are taking action to increase scoring at their home park, by bringing in and lowering the walls at Citi Field, hoping to turn a pitchers’ park into a neutral one. The new dimensions will add roughly 140 seats to the stadium, including 100 field-level seats in left field. A new left field wall will be about four feet closer to the plate, and the fence in left-center field will be brought 12 feet closer. Read More: NY1