By Larry Penner
There is more to “It Does Look Bare Without Seats, Maybe A Mural Would Help” (Editorial Cartoon — Oct. 13). Removal of corner seats on A, E, F & R line subway cars to accommodate more riders is the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig.
Homeless people gravitate to both the E & R lines since the routes run 100 percent underground, providing consistent warmth in the winter and cool in the summer. Now, they will gravitate to the middle seats, depriving regular riders. Let MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, board members, agency presidents and other staff lead by example. Give up your seats at future MTA board meetings. Try standing for one hour like riders do and see how you like it. First it was removal of corner seats on subway cars to accommodate more commuters as a temporary solution to dealing with the growth in ridership.
Even worse will be locking up foldable seats in the middle of the car during rush hours on the Canarsie L line to fit in even more riders. Will the motorman, conductor or car cleaners be responsible for going through each car to lock and unlock seats? Will they ask for modifications to existing union contracts for obtaining additional financial compensation in taking on new work? This ignores the needs of pregnant, physically challenged and elderly riders.
It also may be in violation of the Americans with Disability Act, which could jeopardize future receipt of $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2018 Federal Transit Administration funding.
MTA needs to find $17 billion of the $20 billion needed to bring the subway signal system up to a state of good repair. Purchase 1,000 new cars in addition to routine replacement subway cars to expand the existing fleet. Support the larger car fleet with new and additional yard and shop space. This will provide a real solution to increase capacity necessary to deal with all the new riders.