Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Repost of Reply on Why NYC Subway Isn't Better

Short piece I wrote on a forum after many users were complaining about how bad NYC's subway system was and why it wasn't so modern and up-to-date.
Answering the questions on why NYC's Subway system is old, noisy, and shitty. 
Qualifications: A lifelong New Yorker who has visited the Hong Kong MTR, Singapore MRT, Chicago El, Washington D.C. Metro.  Interested in, studying, and have worked in transportation.

1) Lack of financial support (aka taxes) from the government, both city, state, and national. Politicians lack a [B]long-term outlook and *commitment* (aka balls)[/B] to funding operating or capital projects for transit systems in the U.S., compared to European or Asian places.  a majority of funding instead goes towards road/highway projects.

2) NYC is very expensive for cost-of-living. Also, unions are quite strong in setting wages and benefits and in influencing the public. As can be seen during contract negotiations, the continual slow progression made by the MTA (transit agency) in revamping work rules, phasing in new technology, or getting workers to pay a higher share for medical bills is always slowed by the Union.  [Reference: last contract negotiations; 2005 Strike]

Unions also distort the facts to make the public appeal to their side - the recent suicides/homicides of several people who were hit by an oncoming train, although very, very, very rare, have made the Union to demand that their drivers (and for the MTA to make it a policy) to slow trains to 10/15 mph entering stations.  They issued replicas of transit cards with "blood stains" on them to urge the public to follow them, claiming that there is plenty of room to add trains. [[url]][/url], [[url]][/url]

3) Low fares.  For the base price of a ticket, you can travel [B]anywhere [/B]on the subway or bus system, and it comes with a free transfer within 2 hours.  The farebox recovery ratio (Google it) is not enough to cover operating expenses, and the MTA, unlike the Hong Kong MTR, barely invests in property development.

4) Age & *Operational Characteristics*. The NYC Subway system is quite old, and like any other system in the world, would require BILLIONS of dollars of capital money if they ever want to modernize a system to say, Singapore MRT or HK MTR standards. BELIEVE ME - I made the same points after visiting their systems.  Much of the system is built beneath aging infrastructure and/or skyscrapers (esp. in Manhattan) and any extensive overhaul work would require shuttering a line for a very long time.  Of course, sometimes I hate it when newly renovated or built stations are already showing signs of bad construction - that is a question on Quality Control/Auditing and in budgeting.

[B]LAST [/B]but not least, the NYC Subway runs 24/7.  Not all lines run at all times, but generally, practically all stations are served.  This means most track and station work has to take place at night to avoid disrupting passengers.  Aside from Jay Walder (light applause for his short-termed yet highly functional efforts) and his "FasTrack" initiative, this means that any big renovation just cannot be done without closing a line.  And [B]NOTE[/B]: multiple lines run on the same tracks at times - so if you really wanted to close a station, this could affect multiple lines.

Hopefully this answers some questions; I know that it took me awhile to be a little better educated about this issue.  I recommend subscribing to Second Avenue Sagas.  Don't get me wrong, I don't like the current state of the NYC Subway as well, but it works.  And some of it's historic character, when preserved and kept clean, really does make this system VERY unique.

~[signed h]

Post 211
Creative Commons License

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This is a dynamic post (will be updated if possible).  For current post, click on "Read More"
General information
  • Projected to hit NYC as a Category 1 hurricane Sunday morning.
  • Track the hurricane, along with other data via Google's

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5.9 Earthquake (Virginia) felt in NYC

Quick Post: A 5.9-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale was felt at around 2 P.M. here in NYC.  At first, I thought it was just strong winds blowing at my house but upon looking outside the trees were calm.  The house was creaking.  But after a few seconds it repeated and this time the floor shook for about 3 seconds.  The chandelier in my dining room was swinging back and forth for back and forth 10-15 degrees off its normal position. Perhaps because we New Yorkers typically don't experience major earthquakes as often as say, Californians do, so Facebook and the internet lit up in the moments after. Local and live coverage here: 7 online - 5.9 earthquake hits Virginia, rattles NYC, east coast As of this post, over 9,500 people have "checked-in" to Foursquare - Earthpocalypse. Facebook statuses: "ahhhhhhhhh earthquake!!!"..."Uhh, did anyone else just feel that earthquake?"..."I just felt a very small earthquake! did anyone else felt that?"..."Earthquakes are the coolest things ever. I'm moving to Cali."..."totally freaked out right now."..."Too hungover to notice the earthquake."..."Missed the earthquake back home. Laaaame"..."i thought i was too heavy for my chair" Submit your reaction to the USGS' site to help them evaluate the effects of the earthquake here: USGS - Did You Feel It? - Post 209 (Dated today, see 200th post for reason) Creative Commons License

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Linkdump: Windows & Apple(s), Google & Paying More

Taking a cue from Second Avenue Saga's recently titled post "Vacation Linkdump", I'm posting a bunch of links with brief descriptions which have been sitting in my "To Be Posted" bookmark folder for a loooong while.

PC World - 23 Years of Wacky Windows Launches - A great amalgamation of videos of Windows launches from Windows 1.0 to Windows 7.  Truly history-making and is remarkable seeing how something so simple eventually made all of today's technology possible.

Seattle Times - Precocious 5-year old gives Windows 7 pitch - Continuing with the Windows theme, this kid has been the talk of the town as Microsoft launched one of its most successful TV ads in awhile.  From critic reactions, they're finally getting it right to fight back against Apple's successful 'Mac vs PC' ads.

Personal note - And have you ever seen the classic ad from Apple that told people to "Think different"?  The ad is available for your review here; also see the infamous 1984 Superbowl one showing everyone following Windows and Apple helping break that monotony.  But today, things are different, indeed.  Today, Apple's products look alike.  Basically all white, all in a plastic case.  The same design for mp3 players, the same phones, the same desktops, the same notebooks.  This standardization

Sunday, June 19, 2011

EcstaticE 2.0

After some experimentation, this blog finally has a new look!  After 3 years, 5 months since my first post (quite short) of the same, somewhat bland, blue and green and white backgrounds, it has a fresh design, using Blogger's somewhat new template designer.  Links you haven't yet visited are in an easy-to-find Red, while ones you already have clicked on turn to Blue.  I chose blue instead of the default darker color to still allow you to be able to find a particular link in the future.  In addition, a more concise footer (eliminating the redundant comment info), instant feedback, and new share toolbar! Also started using a page break feature to help redirect traffic to the site when people use RSS/shared links - Subscribe to see for yourself!
Let me know what you think by commenting!  And take a look at the before/after comparison after the break to judge for yourself!