MTA Deserves Blame In Blizzard Response, Too

MTA Chairman Jay Walder says he's preparing a full accounting of the problems with the blizzard.
That's such a mean photo for the Daily News to run. (Source:

After the December 26 blizzard, I doubted blame some put on the MTA regarding the non-existent bus service. I blamed it all on the Sanitation Department and the uncleared snow. Apparently, that was incorrect; there is enough guilt to go around.

All 600 buses stuck in the snow need not have gotten stuck if the MTA had taken precautionary measures by issuing a red alert instead of a blue alert, according to Channel 5.

I had based my previous comment partially on Jay Walder’s statement that the newer buses do not require snow chains in the snow and therefore were not put on.  In his public comments, Mr. Walder made no mention of red or blue alerts. Regarding the subway problems, the MTA only issued a Plan #1 alert (lowest level) rather than a Plan #4 (highest level).  Plan #4 supposed to be issued when 5 or more inches of snow is forecast as it was.

The MTA’s own internal investigation should indicate why this was not done. The MTA Inspector General is conducting his own independent investigation.

Also, a lawyer stuck on the A train for seven hours is suing the MTA for not evacuating or transporting passengers sooner. After all, if the airlines must make restitution for planes stuck on the tarmac for three hours, why shouldn’t the MTA be required to do the same?

Incidentally, January 7 and 8 is the anniversary of the 1996 blizzard.  It took three days for Brighton Line service to be restored after that blizzard.  More recent blizzards with higher amounts of snow saw service restored in one day or less.

This post is by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).


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