MTA Considers Shutting Down Lines for Maintenance

Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM EDT
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Problems with signal reports could mean a whole new way of monitoring the system -- full line shutdowns.

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Straphangers, already facing fare increases and decreased subway service, might soon suffer even more delays should the MTA enact a plan that would shut down entire lines for equipment inspections and maintenance.

The proposal comes after an MTA report found that NYC Transit staffers had falsified thousands of signal inspection reports.

The MTA's probe was launched in August after the agency's inspector general said he had discovered deep problem in signal maintenance.  

"This is enormously disturbing to everyone in this agency," MTA board member Doreen Frasca said of the findings.

Inspection of signals, which are vital to the safe and smooth service of the subway, require maintenance and inspection every 30, 60 or 90 days.

There are some 15,000 signals throughout the subway system, many of them decades old.
 
On Monday, NYC Transit President Thomas Prendergast Monday raised the possibility of putting lines out of commission to deal with time-consuming signal checks and fixups.
 
Prendergrast assures that the system is safe, but told the Wall Street Journal "The fact that you've got prescribed maintenance standards not being done and falsification occurring is a very serious issue."

The MTA is also mulling changing the structure of the teams that do signal work and implementing a new computer system to keep track of signal maintenance.

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