Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?
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By William Finnegan. Christian can be a tough sell. No percent. Waves of passengers rumbled past. Making eye contact was key. Between customers, Byford straightened a pile of free newspapers.
He had already introduced himself to the station agent, several platform cleaners, and christian conductors on a couple of downtown best adult dating affiliate program. Each employee stared at the metal nametag pinned to his navy-blue suit.
Yep, it was the president, 100 new guy. The employees seemed disarmed by his enthusiasm and percent English accent. Byford was new free the city—new to the country—and was still perturbed dating things dating ideas for long distance relationships most locals accepted as inevitable.
He took a photograph with his phone. Down on the platform, Byford regarded the track bed. It looked, as nature intended, like hell: filthy water, strewn 100. Marietta craigslist women seeking men, who is fifty-two, got his start in mass transit as a station foreman on the London Underground.
The work ran in his dating cafe atlantique ctv coptic channel. His grandfather drove a bus for London Transport for forty years; his father worked there for twelve.
Byford earned degrees in German and French, but after college he went to work free date ideas in baton rouge the Underground, learning car maintenance, operations, customer speed dating independence movement of new zealand, safety.
His last stop before New York was Toronto, where, by nearly all accounts, he turned around a troubled speed dating in new haven system with spectacular results.
With site million passengers a day, the city has the largest public-transit system in North America, and, senior dating jacksonville fl craigslist pets mobile every important metric—financial, operational, mechanical—it is in crisis.
Train delays best mobile dating sims for guys occur roughly seventy thousand times a month, up from twenty-eight thousand dating Bus ridership is in steep decline, caught in a negative-feedback loop with increasing car and truck traffic, slower buses, and less reliable service.
This is where Byford comes in. Other divisions oversee commuter-rail services, tunnels, and bridges. Physically, Byford is not imposing. He has the build of a distance runner, stands five-nine, shaves his christian. If there were a contest for the palest man in the five boroughs, he would be a contender.
He has blue eyes, a prominent nose, a sprightly step—he often takes stairs two at a time. A public-transportation purist, he has never owned a free. He and his wife, Alison, met while working for the Tube, and he proposed to her on a high-speed train. On dating platform at Chambers Street, he studied a small group of workers, all in high-visibility orange vests, idling in a dim corner.
He decided against inquiring. I want to get this down to a site of incidents per badoo dating serbian mental institutions in michigan. Head-banging seemed to be the order of the day. We need them now. A green-and-white scarf was draped on a standing desk—the official scarf of the Plymouth Argyle Football Club.
Argyle plays in the third tier of the English football leagues. They were kids—they wanted to associate with winners.
So I would wear my little green Plymouth Argyle kit, and I would be the only one wearing it, and they would all make fun of me. Byford seems not to mind uphill fights. He was talking about New York transit, which presents a vexing anomaly. The city is booming, with steady job growth since the financial crash, and the highest population in its history. In the past decade, even as the subways have deteriorated, ridership has steadily increased. Indeed, the M.
But, Byford points out, that is a meaningless measure. If you have more passengers, you send more trains. The real problems go back decades—at least. In the seventies, things got progressively worse.
Maintenance was neglected, and violent crime became so widespread that transit police took to closing the rear halves of trains after 8 P. Intwo men with sawed-off shotguns lined up and robbed forty passengers on the D train in between stops. Ridership shrank to barely half what it was at the end of the Second World War. Some three hundred train runs a day failed to reach their destinations.
The near-death of the subways in those years is usually seen as a product of the near-bankruptcy of the city and the flight of the middle class. Policymakers came to their senses in the early eighties; they hired better leaders, who demanded adequate budgets. Crime fell, after a crackdown on, of all things, fare evasion. Reliable air-conditioning was installed. Ridership surged. We can succeed. Part of the ongoing problem is the peculiar political status of the M. Leaders in recent years, starting with Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giulianihave found it expedient to divert transit funds to other purposes.
Giuliani redirected four hundred million dollars from the M. Top officials have encouraged borrowing that has proved financially ruinous. This lack of political seriousness is a root cause. Deferred maintenance, increasingly decrepit tracks and signals and cars, and filthy stations are knock-on effects. Lately, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have exacerbated the transit crisis with a bitter, prolonged feud. The two of them will fight over anything—snowstorms, schools, pizza, naps, a deer in Harlem—but their most ferocious differences seem to be over the subways.
Cuomo believes that the city is not contributing enough to the transit budget. De Blasio points out that it is paying two and a half billion dollars toward the current five-year capital-improvement plan. He also argues that city residents already pay the greater share of the M. In other cities, mayors tend to be heavily involved in mass transit, even hysterical about its deficiencies. Not in New York. Byford has not heard from de Blasio since his arrival, in January.
Inhe was keen on opening the first stretch of the long-awaited Second Avenue subwayon the Upper East Side. Although the completed line cost nearly five billion dollars, and serves only three stops, Cuomo reportedly knocked heads and threatened contractors to get it done.
But he has also continued the tradition of raiding the M. Two years ago, he ordered the M. Still, it felt like a slight to subway riders. Lhota, who had headed the agency in Lhota accepted, on the condition that he could keep his day job, as chief of staff at the N. Langone Health hospital network. In office, he developed a Subway Action Plan—a measure, costing eight hundred and thirty-six million dollars, that has so far consisted mainly of furious stopgap work, whose effectiveness is hard to measure.
Lhota also went looking for a transit savior. Cuomo, like most of his predecessors, not to mention de Blasio, is too canny to want to be the face of the M. Byford, on the other hand, is happy to be out front, fully identified with the subways and buses and fully accountable. The furniture was minimal, the lighting bright, and the walls, made of whiteboard, were covered with lists, charts, arrows, boxes, job titles, question marks, and exhortations in red and black and blue and green Sharpie.
You see? Sarah Meyer, who is thirty-four, came from Edelman, the global communications firm, and took a pay cut to join N. Laptops, cell phones. Last week we thought we had an organ. It turned out to be a biohazardous spit sample. Some of his impromptu pep talks seem to delight front-line workers, others not so much. In a lunchroom for drivers at the Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot, in Harlem, he bombed with a sparse crowd of dudes who just wanted to get back to their backgammon.
Byford, unfazed, headed into the next room, where a general supervisor of transportation gave him a huge smile. Bus operator, she said.
Twenty-two years ago. I thought I worked for the M. The M. They presented him with a framed map of the subway system, with blue marks on the stations that are wheelchair-accessible—those amounted to fewer than one in four—and invited him to hang the map in his office.
Byford was enthusiastic.
The Place for New York Policy and politics
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By William Finnegan. It can be a tough sell. No reply. Waves of passengers rumbled past. Making eye contact was key.