NYCT PRESIDENT RONNIE HAKIM ADMITS MTA COULD IMPROVE COMMUNICATION WITH RIDERS AT TOWN HALL HOSTED BY MAJORITY LEADER VAN BRAMER AND ACCESS QUEENS
Yesterday, April 5th, 2016, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and rider advocacy group Access Queens held a town hall meeting attended by nearly 200 riders of the 7 train, as well as senior officials from the MTA, including New York City Transit President Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim.
At the event, Hakim admitted that the MTA could do a better job communicating with its riders about delays, track work, and alternate commuting options. She also announced that beginning in the fall, the MTA will add two trains on the 7 line during evening hours, which riders hope will make their commute less painful. In addition, the MTA said work to repair the damage done by Superstorm Sandy to the Steinway Tunnel, which connects Queens and Manhattan on the 7 line, should be completed by the end of the month.
“7 train riders have suffered for years, and I’m glad that the MTA was able to hear directly from us about the problems we experience on a near-daily basis,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Hopefully Ronnie Hakim can bring a fresh set of ideas to the table, and improve both service and communication with 7 train riders. Riders tonight asked pointed, thoughtful questions—and I will continue to work with Ronnie and the MTA to ensure they take our concerns seriously and make the changes necessary so 7 train riders can rely on the line to get us to our destinations on time.”
“We were very happy with the turnout and the constructive exchange between the MTA and the community,”said Brandon W. Mosely of Access Queens. “Though they have a lot work to do ahead of them, particularly with communication, we are optimistic that the MTA will continue to be engaged and transparent while working toward resolving our issues. We are pleased to hear that the 7 Train will start to see completed work this year. We extend our thanks to Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Ronnie Hakim and her associates for making the town hall happen, and we look forward to more dialog and shared data so that together we can find solutions to improve our borough.”
Riders asked questions ahead of time using #AsktheMTA, and in person at the event. A main theme of the questions was communication: how the MTA can better inform riders of delays, outages, and scheduled track work. Commuters also asked about the MTA’s ability to increase service to accommodate Queens’ growing population.
The 7 train suffers from regular delays and shutdowns, including extensive delays and overcrowding just this morning and a partial shutdown this past weekend. It has been named the least structurally sound line in the New York City, with 37% of the line’s structural components rated as not in a state of good repair. Majority Leader Van Bramer and Access Queens have held several well-attended rallies demanding the MTA undertake a full-line review of the 7 train.