Everything you ever suspected about MTA service diversions and track repairs is probably true. They’re rampant, and they waste money, according to a rare join report (PDF) by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and City Comptroller John C. Liu.
The report found that there were 74 weekend service disruptions in 2010, up from 47 in 2008. In the Daily News, Liu—as politicians rarely do these days—channeled the legitimate rage of any rider who dared to have a life and travel on a Saturday or Sunday, adding, “The MTA must understand the city never sleeps and weekend service is neither ancillary nor expendable.”
As the incipient Liu ’13 mayoral campaign receives another boost, MTA riders are confronted with a report that they figured had to come out sooner or later. $10.5 million in taxpayer money was wasted over an 18-month period ending last July. If crews were better supervised, there would be fewer service disruptions and work would be finished quicker. Repairs on weekends or off-peak weekday hours often started late or ended early. Riders were also poorly informed about service changes: newspaper ads had been created for only 2 of the 50 service diversions sampled, and ads, contrary to federal regulations, were rarely posted in languages other than English.
Equally egregious, the costs of subway diversions are not being adequately monitored. The report found that the MTA could not provide supporting documents to justify why four contracts, which originally had budgeted costs at a combined $56.5 million, had ballooned to $83.1 million by the beginning of 2011.
Oh, and about those shuttle buses. The MTA really has no idea how many are needed for different routes because they seem too lazy to actually recalculate ridership estimates year-to-year. Good luck on those antediluvian buses, peons, the man responsible for all this, former MTA chief Jay Walder, is off to make even more money than you in Hong Kong.