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N.Y. MTA's Walder: Must make every dollar count

Posted on January 19, 2010

Cost cutting and affordable service improvements are cited as two main goals for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in Chairman/CEO Jay H. Walder's report of his first 100 days on the job.

The enormous improvement in the MTA's transportation network over the past 25 years is recognized in the report, however, it also acknowledges that in many areas the MTA has fallen behind comparable transit systems around the world. All of the report's observations are set in the context of the ongoing economic crisis and its impact on the MTA.

The report identifies overhauling the way the MTA does business to cut costs and ensure that every dollar is being used as effectively as possible and finding affordable ways to make progress on service improvements despite the economic situation, as two main goals for the MTA.

The MTA is the product of mergers between dozens of former transportation companies, said the report, but steps were never taken to eliminate redundancies and find savings. By operating the MTA as one company — instead of multiple silos — significant cost reduction can be achieved, said Walder. .

Nearly 90 percent of MTA employees are focused on service delivery, so this area must also be targeted for sufficient cost reduction, including eliminating some overtime and amending work rules that make it difficult to utilize new technology or streamline processes, according to the report.

The report targets five areas for fast, visible, affordable improvements:

  • Faster bus service
  • Telling customers when to expect the next train or bus
  • Bringing Toll Collection into the 21st Century
  • Making new fare technology work for customers
  • Improving subway stations and service change information

"Making every dollar count — that's the only way we can restore the MTA's credibility and continue improving service in difficult times," Walder said. "I grew up here and started my career at the MTA, so I know how fundamental the transit system is to our daily lives. Today we established high goals for the MTA in a difficult time, but we must succeed."

The full report is available, along with a video, on the MTA's new Website.

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