The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York, also known as the MTA, is a corporation for public benefit. The MTA is a service responsible for the public transportation of 12 counties in the southeastern region of New York State and 2 counties in Connecticut. The MTA provides service for over 10 million passengers on any average weekday and over half a million vehicles across seven bridges and two tunnels. Given the reasonably low cost of most bus and subway lines and despite the outrageous fees paid for by the bridge and tunnel commuters, this operation undoubtedly takes countless hours of manpower as well as large sums of federal, city, and state funding to continue servicing the public.
Every so often, the MTA board will meet to approve schedules for both bus and train routes; these approved schedules are what the public will see when they arrive at any given stop and check the bulletin boards that deck the station halls and bus stop walls. Occasionally, for any reason unbeknownst to the public which the MTA serves, bus runs will be held “in the house.” What this means is that there are bus routes that are either delayed or, in extreme cases, cancelled all together.
Here’s where it gets sticky: there is no way to inform the patrons of the MTA that the approved schedule is no longer correct therefore, defeating their goal of being a “public benefit” corporation. But, things get worse; an employee of one of the Queens divisions of the MTA said that, “…the bus division [of the MTA], as of 2010, is arbitrarily holding runs in the house. A direct order was brought to us by the Board of the MTA that we have to hold 1% of our runs.” The counter-effect of holding schedules bus runs is that commuters are still forced to schedule their plans around these approved schedules that may or may not be correct. For example, people waiting to catch the 9 PM bus may be stuck until the next scheduled departure at 9:20; even worse, the 9:20 run may also be held, therefore leaving people stranded for 40 extra minutes after a workday.
One bus driver told me, “More operators have been assaulted both physically and verbally this year alone than I have heard in my [10 plus] years.” He informed me that he has made attempts to reach out to a city councilman and an assemblywoman, both in Queens; but, to no avail as of yet.
So, while Transit saves money, the public they are designed to serve is trapped in this merry go-round of uncertainty caused by the MTA’s greedy monopoly on public transportation in the largest commuter city in America.
Metropolitan consistency… That’s a riot.