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.