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MTA “NYCT” Committee Testimony- “Improving Service and Communication Seven Days a Week”

Good morning! I’m Kara Gurl, Research and Communications Associate at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC).

Month after month, the trend continues: Weekends are consistently regaining their pre-pandemic ridership levels faster than weekdays. And with the holiday season upon us, we only expect weekend trains to be even more packed with riders in the coming weeks.

We’ve spoken at past Committee and Board meetings about the need for better weekend service and have since met and visited stations with the new Weekend Service Czar Jose LaSalle, including at our November Transit Riders Council meeting and in a subsequent ride along. He has made it clear that his team is hard at work improving service and bettering the often-complicated rider experience on weekends, and has been very responsive to issues we’ve raised. We’re hopeful that headways and reliability will continue to improve while still allowing for critical repair work to get done.

As he pointed out, service isn’t the only priority for weekend riders—it’s important that signage, redundancy, and communication are sufficient. In the span of just a few months, we’ve already noticed some improvements—clearer signs about shuttle bus locations, a useful new “Weekender” newsletter, helpful Transit workers on platforms, and better service updates in stations, to name a few. It would be great to implement some of these “low-hanging fruit” improvements to better communicate with riders all days of the week.

Bus service is another top priority for riders around the city, and we’re excited to learn more about the Brooklyn Bus Redesign next month. We’re hopeful that the lessons learned and tools used to make the Bronx Bus Redesign so successful will be applied in this and future redesigns.

The key performance metrics and rider survey results visualized in the new Committee books point to more areas for improvement, including subway delays caused by infrastructure and equipment that we hope can be solved with more investment in the capital program. We’re glad that these metrics are broken down for the public and advocates to see and thank you for working towards better transparency.

We share the common goal of improving service and the overall transit experience for riders, and know that with investment and innovation we can get there. Thank you.