Any questions for the MTA?

May 6, 2009

With New York subway riders and motorists bracing for the second round of fare and toll hikes this year, we imagine some of you may have questions for Lee Sander. The chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the nation’s biggest public transit system, speaks at the Reuters Infrastructure Summit early Thursday. Post your questions for Sander below. Our MTA-commuting reporters will add a selection of them to their own long list and publish the answers on this blog.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

do you regularly rely on public transportation to get to and from work?

Posted by john leggio | Report as abusive

Why shouldn’t the entire MTA board be fired, just like Bank CEO’s that received a bailout, shouldn’t the MTA board be held accountable?

Posted by Stephen | Report as abusive

How do you think the fare increases will affect New Yorkers that have no other alternative but to use public transportation daily?

Posted by Denys Dratsky | Report as abusive

How will the MTA remain true to its mission of becoming the “premier transportation police department in the nation” while raising the fare and decreasing service simultaneously? (got the quoted text from ml which shows the MTA’s Mission Statement)

Posted by Jordan | Report as abusive

Why has the MTA not done more to cut costs by combining the many functions which are duplicated across it’s operating companies before looking for more taxpayer help? What cuts in perks, reimbursement and benefits have MTA staff experienced as a result of the current budget shortfalls?

Posted by Rick | Report as abusive

I’ll ask him this question. Thanks.

Posted by Patrick Fitzgibbons | Report as abusive

My family moved from Hong Kong to New York City four years ago. I am using MTA everyday from Staten Island to mid-town Manhattan. New York subway system is seemed to be belonging to a third world/developing country. I understand that Hong Kong Mass Transit is only 25 years old and MTA is 150 years old.

Comparing New York MTA to Hong Kong (B+), Singapore (A), Taipei(B+) and Tokyo (B), I can only give D- to MTA. In my mind, I am talking about efficiency, timing, cleaning, comfortness, employees’ manner, spacious and reliability. I do not want to compare New York MTA to Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou or Shenzhen subway systems, their recent developments in last ten years are incredible and MTA here is seemed to be 50 years behind.

Do you have any plans (renovation, upgrading, improvment…..) in next five to ten years to move MTA from D- to C, B or A ?

Posted by Wing Lee | Report as abusive

What I like to know is there a list of where all the money is going and than will there be an audit to verify the money is required? Why do the public continue to accept sub- standard service and not given a clear cut explanation with actual disclosure show why the the increase is required.

Are there sub – contracting being done without checking if the cost is fair based on the work required? What about all that overtime, believe there is so much waste and no one is checking exactly how, where, what the money is being spent on. There should be an investigation and inquiry by the federal, state & city official why an increase is required! The people should all protest and ask for proof , reasons for the increase and if not justified all upper management should reduce their salaries and stop waste the people monies.

The days of constant oer charging has to stop. There should be a protest organized and boycott the services of continued waste in the city.

Posted by Jimmy Ching | Report as abusive

Why is it that the employees of the MTA have a deplorable work ethic?If you are determaned to improve the quality of the service the first and formost step is to get the workforce to standard.Performance is what is needed most to get the ball rolling down there!!

Posted by Edwin Montero | Report as abusive

Comparisons to other city’s transportation systems are complicated as every cities systems have wildly different variables to contend with. I do feel a bit of shame when comparisons to third world countries are made by visitors and transplants. However, it is hard to argue the point, in terms of efficiency and general appearance. Like most New Yorkers though, I appreciate that the system runs 24 hours, and has a wide reach throughout the metro area, unlike most systems in the world. How much of the MTA’s shortfalls are due to the 24 hour nature of the system and how much of its troubles are due to labor related issues (unions, wages etc)? Are any changes in those two areas planned or considered

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Thanks for your questions. You’ll find our story from the interview here: dUSTRE5465DS20090507

Posted by Richard Baum | Report as abusive

What i find amazing is that in the “3rd world” countries, these very same superior subway systems are very affordable. I have lived in 4 of them and they are not just better but also more affordable. So, why is it that ours is both terrible and unaffordable? There truly must be a correlation for affordability and good management at play here and so I would get rid of the management and bring in a fresh set of eyes. If we are to keep paying and paying and being held hostage, lets do one of:
1. nationalize it and run it down
2. take control of it by bringing in fresh set of eyes and fresh thinking
3. let apathy prevail
I am sure the board wants (3) as they are operating in a standard way. Why else would they vote to increase the fare substantially when people are losing their jobs and the economy is souring?
Cut the expenses and let a separate body decide that. Then and only then should we talk about fare increases in this economy.

Posted by Bala | Report as abusive