Thursday, November 15, 2007

MTA Releases Report on August 8 Storm and plans improvements

The August 8 rainstorm was a disaster for the MTA. All the lines -- the L, the 456, the ACE, the BDFV, the 123 -- were shut down and helpful staff at each would send you to another. It was really sort of a hard day to get to work. Apparently, this irked the governor, and now the MTA has produced a report saying, "Well, we probably shouldn't let or leave water on the tracks. Our bad." They're dropping $30M on fast improvements and then planning more over time. Well, OK. Learn some lessons, fold them back into the system. That's great! But, what's not already happening is a little appalling.
Create an MTA Emergency Response Center – The MTA ERC will provide a formal structure for coordinating activities across agencies during emergencies. MTA ERC will provide the status of MTA-wide operations during emergencies and give the Executive Director and CEO immediate access to agency operations centers. (In place)
They've been telling me 'If you see something, say something' for years, and just created an ERC now?
At the height of the disruption, in many cases the MTA could not provide alternative travel options, and customers had difficulty gaining access to timely and accurate information....

Communications solutions include ... web site upgrades.

So, what's the web site for, if it can't give us reliable views of the system state? They talk about giving all the service workers PDAs, but even the people in the booths couldn't tell you what was going on. And my cell phone still can't load '' in any sort of usable fashion, so I don't know what this 'universal pda access' business in.

This is a real positive step, and I'm interested in the implementation.
Advance public address and video screens technologies to better communicate with customers in-system – In addition to long-term technology projects, such as PA-CIS, MTA is exploring a range of interim solutions that could maximize technologies already being employed in the system (e.g., wireless connectivity to service info). (Meetings with vendors are under way)
What's PA-CIS? If you don't take the subway in New York, you may not know that the PA system is useless. It's totally incomprehensible, but really loud and frequently used. I'm hoping PA-CIS is a fix for that.

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