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Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee 2009 Review Of MTA

Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee 2009 Review Of MTA

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Published by: jen1889 on Mar 19, 2010
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05/17/2012

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P
ERMANENT
C
ITIZENS
A
DVISORY
C
OMMITTEE TO THE
MTA
EPRESENTING
MTA
 
IDERS
S
INCE
1981
2009 Annual Performance ReviewoThe MTA and Its Operating Agencies
Introduction
The PCAC’s 2009 Performance Review marks our third report summarizing theaccomplishments and continuing challenges of the MTA and its operating agencies.This report addresses a number of broad themes such as leadership, transparency,organizational structure, service performance, communication, and accessibility. Thesethemes relate to the ability of the MTA and its operating agencies to deliver serviceeffectively to the riders that we represent. While PCAC is vitally concerned about thecritical issue of the almost $800 million operating funding shortfall from Albany, which ispart of ongoing dialogues that the PCAC and its Councils maintain with public officialsand the MTA operating agencies, this larger issue is outside the scope of this report.The PCAC is encouraged by the MTA leadership’s initial steps to make the overallorganization more effective and efficient, and we intend our report to complement thiseffort. At the same time we are well aware that internal efficiencies are not enough toprevent serious damage to the system due to state funding shortfalls.
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 The PCAC recognizes that some of the issues raised in the report are the subject ofongoing work by the MTA and its agencies, the body of this document addresses issuespertaining to the 2009 calendar year. Several related developments from 2010 areincluded as footnotes to the Review. The PCAC and its Councils are not legislativelymandated to address the operations of MTA Bridges and Tunnels or MTA Long IslandBus; consequently they are not addressed in this document. In addition, it is importantto note the MTA operating agencies differ considerably in their roles, complexity, andsize, and these factors greatly influence the challenges and accomplishments that wehave identified.The year 2009 was a tumultuous time for the MTA and its agencies, and our discussionreflects this. The MTA began and ended the year facing a financial crisis and both theMTA and its agencies experienced changes in leadership in the course of the year, andeven those agencies that retained their leadership were affected considerably, asindividuals assumed interim assignments to fill leadership roles within the MTA. Thesechanges may well bear fruit over time, but in the shorter term the changes left muchwork remaining to be done. Initiatives including the introduction of smart cards, the
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Thus we believe that the state must follow through with the funding million it committed to provide lastspring that the MTA may need to consider using Federal stimulus funds to protect vital operations.
 
347 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10017 (212) 878-7087www.PCAC.org 
 
implementation of an integrated security system, and enhanced public informationsystems ended the year incomplete.NYC Transit likewise experienced a leadership transition in 2009, the effects of whichcontinue. PCAC applauds a number of NYCT’s initiatives over the past year, such ascontinued Select Bus Service development, the change to a more realistic stationcondition assessment and repair system, greater transparency in operational metrics,and continued progress in improving station accessibility. We are concerned, however,that available resources will not be sufficient to satisfy the demands of maintaining thesystem and providing acceptable levels of service.The Long Island Rail Road produced a mixed record of successes and deficiencies overthe past year. We applaud the progress that has been made in dealing with chronicequipment issues, improving system performance, and transporting customers duringspecial events and major system improvements. We are likewise encouraged bymoves toward reorganizations such as the creation of the Transportation ServicesDepartment. We remain troubled, however, by continued incidents connected to lackof adherence to operating rules, including a near collision, an unauthorized trainoperator, and routine failures to collect fares, and by seemingly intractable issues suchas station and right of way cleanliness and a lack of organizational transparency.Metro-North Railroad continued to build on its high level of customer service andoperations over the past year. While several high level positions were vacated in theyear, experienced Railroad employees were named to fill these vacancies. On-timeperformance remains strong, and 2009 saw several service enhancements, notableamong them service to Yankee Stadium and the Meadowlands. The PCAC remainsconcerned, however, that the continuing fiscal crisis enveloping the MTA and State willmean that the resources necessary to maintain Metro-North service and infrastructuremay not be available in the future.
347 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10017 (212) 878-7087www.PCAC.org 
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347 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10017 (212) 878-7087www.PCAC.org 
3
 
 
P
ERMANENT
C
ITIZENS
A
DVISORY
C
OMMITTEE TO THE
MTA
EPRESENTING
MTA
 
IDERS
S
INCE
1981
2009 Annual Performance ReviewoThe MTA and Its Operating Agencies
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTAHQ)Leadership
 
The year of 2009 was marked by a critical transition in leadership at the MTA. Thefinancial crisis in the spring, and the loss of former Executive Director Lee Sanderand Board Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger, followed by a period of caretakeroversight by LIRR President Helena Williams, definitely created an atmosphere ofuncertainty for riders. Therefore, the appointment of Jay Walder as CEO and BoardChairman in October was a welcomed move and gave riders the prospects for afresh start and much needed stability.As of the end of 2009 it was still too soon to make any judgments about the merits ofMr. Walder’s leadership, his appointment of Charles Monheim as Chief OperatingOfficer, or the replacement of NYCT’s President Howard Roberts with ThomasPrendergast. Still, Walder, Monheim, and Prendergast have all worked at the MTApreviously and return with high marks for achievement in their past association withthe organization. Consequently, the PCAC sees 2010 with guarded optimism. TheMTA leadership faces many challenges given the current fiscal outlook. The seriousissues facing New York State demand that the MTA make a strong argument forcontinued capital and improved operating funding. We hope that Chairman Walderwill make good on his promise to “show taxpayers good value and improveengagement with the communities it serves,” and be a voice for the transit rider inAlbany and City Hall.
Organization
 
As of the end of 2009, our comments remain the same as those in the 2007 and2008 Performance Reviews: The corporate structure of MTA Headquarters lacksrationale. We have repeatedly called for an organization audit to identify areas withtoo many or too little staff. There is a strong feeling that the MTA is top heavy inmanagement.
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In addition, we remain steadfast in our call for the creation ofexecutive level leadership positions for information technology (IT) and real estate.
2
In Mr. Walder’s 100-Day report he has indicated that a full review of staff and positions will be carriedout.

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