MTA Fails Again, Pulls 300 New Subway Cars

Published on January 9, 2020

On Wednesday, the MTA pulled nearly 300 newly installed subway cars for safety concerns, due to two recent incidents. Fortunately, no passengers were hurt in either case.

According to NBC and its sources, however, at least one of the incidents involved the doors opening while the trains were moving and putting the passengers at risk. The problems allegedly happened over the holidays, between late December and early January.

The affected cars were on the A, C, J, and Z lines. All services were operating normally, except for J and Z where “headways have been increased by two minutes in between trains for the AM peak period, and skip-stop service suspended.” On the bright side, New Yorkers are not alone in their feelings of despair.

In a statement, NYCT president Andy Byford said two recent incidents with the Bombardier R179 subway cars raised questions about the safe performances of a door mechanism on the newly delivered cars. Byford said:

“Out of an abundance of caution, NYCT removed all R179 train cars from service overnight for thorough inspection and redeployed other spare cars to continue service for this morning’s rush and ensure minimal impacts to customer.”

“The MTA has identified repeated issues with Bombardier’s performances and finds this latest development unacceptable. We intend to hold the company fully accountable.”

Byford isn’t the only one feeling some types of way about our beloved MTA. New York City Comptroller, Scott Stringer, outed the establishment as well. He stated that his office released an audit last month that explains the lateness of the Bombardier contract, three years behind schedule, and how it costed taxpayers “millions” of additional dollars.

In detail, the audit shows facets of the MTA that we were somewhat already aware of: the dysfunctional managerial behavior regarding the contract itself, repeated failures to meet deadlines, poor project management, technical breakdowns, and flaws that delayed the cars being put into service. That explains why it take the 3 Train a while to leave its first stop on 148th Street.

Stringer is starting to become the voice of frustration of New Yorkers. He explained that the city of New York was promised, aside from becoming broke, new “state-of-the-art train cars to help modernized the inefficient transit system.” And yet, all of the delivered cars have been pulled due to critical performances issues. Swell, MTA.

When asked to comment on the situation, Bombardier washed their hands and blamed their subcontractor, Kangni, who calibrates the manufacturing of the doors. In conclusion, no one is taking responsibility for letting down the whole city.

Stringer blames the MTA for obtaining faulty products. The MTA blames Bombardier for providing a lack of quality products. Finally, Bombardier blames their subcontractor, Kangni, for the door malfunctions. Regardless of how they all decide to handle this, New Yorkers are still going to blame the MTA, who keep draining our pockets.

Remember that audit I talked about? It also revealed that the MTA ignored production issues of long-delayed new subway cars, as well as holding their contractor accountable. They have had these issues for a while. The reason why I am using this now is because this audit actually proves the MTA has no business blaming Bombardier.

Okay, they kind of do. But the audit’s most important reveal is that the MTA did not adequately supervised nor penalize Bombardier’s workmanship and its behavior towards meeting deadlines. Stringer couldn’t have said it better in the audit. “In other words,” said Stringer, “the MTA gave Bombardier a pass. And what does it mean for straphangers? More delays, more breakdowns of outdated cars.”

For those who don’t live in New York, the delays are in fact ridiculous. On a good day, the trains don’t get to the station at the time they are supposed to get there. On a bad one, they stop in between stations and move thirty minutes later. On a terrible one, the trains don’t move for hours, as there is usually another train in front of them. And, plot twist, the conductor’s greatest idea is to follow the very same train that is causing the delays in the first place. With that being said, they are not usually user friendly, as they don’t offer actual solutions. This is quite the vicious cycle.  

Argenis Ovalles is an Editorial Intern at Grit Daily. He currently writes at Vocal Media and Theater Pizzazz.

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