Southern Brooklyn

MTA Adds Consumer Advocates To Blizzard-Fighting Arsenal

Photo by Randy Contello

Since dropping the ball by forgetting about hundreds of passengers stranded during last year’s blizzard, the MTA has developed a game plan to brave the harsh conditions that awaits us this winter season.

“Last winter’s weather was tough for New York and the MTA, but we’ve made improvements to our service protocols, equipment and communications to provide the best possible service this year,” said Joseph J. Lhota, MTA’s executive director.

As part of the new protocols, the New York City Transit system has reinforced their preparedness and response by incorporating dedicated customer advocates, establishing situation rooms, and adopting procedures for preemptive curtailment of service.

The customer advocates’ only job is to take care of riders who are in stalled buses or trains; something they hope will be effective if it were to happen again. Last year an A train was stranded for several hours in the Rockaways during the December 26 blizzard that took the city by surprise.

“We forgot about the train,” said Thomas F. Prendergast, the president of the New York City Transit system, at a City Council hearing. “That’s inexcusable.”

An emergency coordinator has been appointed by the MTA to facilitate response coordination and information sharing during a transit-hobbling storm. Procedures to deliver more detailed and reliable status information on the MTA’s website have been improved. Also, they’re deploying a fleet of snow and ice-fighting equipment into the system so it could be used whenever a winter weather plan is put into effect.

“We’re prepared to clear more snow and ice than ever before and we’ll be working hard to keep service running, but we won’t hesitate to suspend service on parts of our system when it’s necessary to protect the safety of our riders, employees and equipment,” said Lhota.

For more information on how the MTA is prepared for this winter, click here.

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  1. I was on an F train running on the N line that was stranded at the Bay Parkway station from around 9 in the evening on December 26 until at least 7:30 a.m. the following morning, at which time I had had enough of being trapped in a below-freezing, foul-smelling car with whom I presumed to be escape mental patients, so I got out and walked. I felt like Dr. Zhivago. There are only so many times, and with so many different inflections and cadences one could say “I want to go home,” but the toothless woman I was stuck sitting across from didn’t seem to think 100+ times was nearly enough. Add body odor, public joint-smoking, constant whining, and the specter of walking a couple of miles home in 26 inches of freshly packed snow into the fray and you have the makings of a truly rotten evening. I was walking in snow up to my behind, from Bay Parkway and 65th to McDonald and P, and then from Ocean and Y all the way to the Kings Bay Field, so, why is it that the A train is the one that gets all the publicity? It’s not like we received any special attention while we were stranded for 10+ hours.

  2. The only bright spot of the evening, if you can believe it, came when nature called at around 10-something. I got to use the station bathroom before anyone else got to it. It wasn’t unclean, but I am sure it would have been unusably sullied in a couple hour’s time.

  3. We were in the station, but we couldn’t go anywhere. The snow was already more than a foot by that time, it was past 9 at night, stores were closed…there was nowhere for me to go, and I was hoping, at some point, that the train would start moving again. By the time midnight rolled around, I figured I wasn’t gonna be getting home that night. It really sucked.

  4. I heard that Dunkin Donuts is hoping for a blizzard, so they can get all the sanitation department business during the snowfall, like they got last year.

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