New York City Transit Vs. Chicago Transit

Public transit in New York City, the most populated city in the United States, is probably everything you could imagine it to be. The New York City Transit Authority, branded as MTA New York City Transit, is by far the largest and busiest transit system in the United States and North America. The system comprises of a subway system, railway system, a bus system, and a bus rapid transit system. In first place ahead of Chicago, it has many similarities to the CTA.

How the NYCTA operates:

New York City Subway

Owned by the City of New York, is the subway rapid transit system operating in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Staten Island Railway

Rapid transit line in Staten Island.

NYCT Department of Buses

A bus network serving all boroughs, operated under MTA Regional Bus Operations.

Dynamics of each:

New York City Subway

The New York City Subway system is the largest rapid transit subway system in North America, consiting of 468 stations across a 842 track-milage system. The system offers 24-hour service across all boroughs except for Staten Island. The general fare is the same as Chicago, $2.25.

The ‘L’ in Chicago has a long standing culture attached to it, but its depth compared to the New York City Subway can be debated. The MTA in New York sponsors a program called Music Under New York. More than 300 performers and music ensembles participate in over 7000 annual performances in about 25 stations across the system. There are also several retail outlets built by the MTA for businesses to sell newspapers and other products to transit users daily.

Like Chicago, the MTA experienced a budget crisis. Train fares increased 3 times from 2008 through 2010. Similar to Chicago, part-time train routes were cut and several bus lines were cut, shortened, or rerouted.

The subway system has its fair share of problems that Chicago most of the time does not have. Often times due to aging systems and poor construction, subways are heavily flooded during storms. This causes big delays and disruptions to service. Since 1992, over $300 million has been used to improve 269 pump rooms.

Terrorism is another big issue the MTA has to deal with on their subways. After the September 11 attacks, subways have been targeted or plotted on several times, even as recent as 2008 and 2009.

NYCT Department of Buses

The NYCT Department of Buses is the division of the MTA that serves as the bus system for New York City. It is operated by its parent company, the MTA Regional Bus Operations (founded in 2008) and has 12,499 stops, 181 local and limited-stop routes, 27 express bus routes, and 3 Select Bus Service routes.

Buses are labeled with a prefix (B for Brooklyn, Bx for the Bronx, M for Manhattan, Q for Queens, S for Staten Island, and X for Express) and a number.

A unique feature that the NYCT Department of Buses has is color coded bus stops. These codes not only have the bus number and prefix on it for the select route that stops there, but it tells the rider what type of route it is. Blue is for a local service route, purple is a limited stop route, green is for an express route, black is for late night routes only, turquoise is for the Select Bus Service, and yellow is for special school service buses. Chicago could greatly benefit from that if it decided to reform its bus system.

Fares are the same as CTA buses, $2.25 general fare for a one-way trip.

Staten Island Railway

The Staten Island Railway is one rapid transit train line running north-south through Staten Island (14 miles long). At its final north stop, it offers a ferry service to get to Manhattan (Staten Island Ferry).

Interview w/ Chicago resident and NYC MTA user:

By Calvin Nichols

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Interviews, Podcasts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s