Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a mass transit reform plan -- complete with subway countdown clocks and free crosstown bus service – as part of his campaign platform for a third term in office.
The mayor’s announcement today comes a months after the, which faces a massive deficit, raised fares and tolls for the second time in a year, hiking the base subway and bus fare to $2.25.
Bloomberg’s plan calls for a “major overhaul” that would include free crosstown bus service to alleviate traffic congestion, and an expanded CityTicket program. Many Brooklynites would get a break with the renewed F train express service, and on Staten Island, the plan would move to reopen the North Shore rail line for travel within that borough.
The mayor’s transit overhaul would also put countdown clocks on all subway platforms and half of all bus routes by 2013. The clocks would be similar to those on the L train platforms, Bloomberg’s campaign said. The free bus rides would begin as a test run on the M-50 bus, which runs on 49th and 50th streets.
The plan would slash $247 million from the MTA bureaucracy and invest it in better services.
But any such reform would face many hurdles, The New York Times reported. Unlike the Police Department and the school system, the MTA is subject to very little control by the mayor, who controls only 4 of 17 votes on the MTA board.
Other reforms include gateless tolling, reducing pollution and backups on some roadways and bridges, as well as more security cameras in subways and better communication equipment throughout City transit.
Thompson's campaign released a statement today saying the Bloomberg plan is "full of empty promises."
“Under Mike Bloomberg’s watch MTA fares have doubled, New Yorker straphangers pay the highest percentage of mass transit costs in the nation, and buses and subways continue to be both dirty and unreliable," Carly Lindauer, communications director for Bill Thompson for Mayor said. "This plan is full of empty promises and stolen ideas such as CityTicket which was proposed by Bill Thompson in 2006 and 2009."