If you were passing through the East Broadway station at around noon today, you probably came across a swarm of local elected officials and reporters.
It was part of the, “Riders Respond Transit Tour,” a two-day, 22 station journey to learn about commuters’ biggest subway service concerns. It’s meant to lay the groundwork for a City Council oversight heating next week. As the “summer of hell” continues throughout the transit system, Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo are, of course, squabbling like children over who’s going to pay for the MTA’s $800 million emergency rescue plan. One of today’s messages: the city and state must work together.
— Ydanis Rodriguez (@ydanis) August 3, 2017
— Margaret S. Chin (@CM_MargaretChin) August 3, 2017
This station is, of course, plagued by subway swipe scammers who vandalize the vending machines on a regular basis, and then sell discounted fares to commuters.
During the lunchtime gaggle, a rep from City Council member Margaret Chin’s office passed out a letter sent this week to MTA Chair Joe Lhota. It was co-signed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou. They wrote:
We are writing about unacceptable conditions at a major gateway to transportation in a primarily low-income neighborhood with few other transit options. For weeks, many, if not all, of the MetroCard vending machines have been out of service at the East Broadway F line station… We request that New York City Transit make the necessary repairs to the (vending machines) immediately so that this station can again provide reliable service to thousands of area riders. We also request the re-installation of the service booth and staffing at the East Broadway and Rutgers entrance. Furthermore, we request that the station be evaluated for other necessary improvements, including correcting a water condition that has left stairwell landings flooded from heavy rainfall in recent weeks.
In an interview, Assembly member Niou said, “I think the most important thing is that people know about the lack of accessibility for our East Broadway station.” While escalator service was finally restored after a lengthy outage, seniors are forced to lug carts or navigate walkers down stairwells. “Since we have a rapidly aging community right around this area, they really need the access.”
While we were standing near the subway turnstyle, a man opened the emergency door and let a large number of people through. Niou pointed out that, oftentimes, commuters have few options when they can’t buy or refill a MetroCard. “Machines are broken,” explained Niou. “They’re constantly out of service. You’re not able to get in, so this guy is the only option.”
When asked about the city/state feud regarding funding, Niou said, “Our government needs to work together.” While acknowledging that the city should do its part, she added, “I think the state is very much responsible and needs to make sure we have the money to fund the MTA.”
In 2014, at the urging of the SPaCE Block Association, Sen. Squadron leaned on the MTA to make some repairs at the East Broadway station. With huge residential developments in-the-works and thousands of residents flooding into the Two Bridges area in the next several years, there’s obviously a lot more work to be done.