transit, MTA, NYC, Andy Byford, Park Slope, Brooklyn, greg mocker

Riders and neighbors talk to MTA NYC Transit President at town hall

Andy Byford took the train to a transit town hall in Park Slope.

He's a regular rider.

He's also the MTA NYC Transit President (on the job since January 16, 2018).

Riders and neighbors gathered in the auditorium of John Jay Educational Complex Tuesday night for a question and answer session with the transit chief. Topics included subway and bus service and accessibility.

He and his staff took notes as people spoke from the microphone. Many asked the agency to take a look at the B71 bus line.

Riders along the 7 train have also invited Byford to a town hall.

Last week, he unveiled a plan, called "Fast Forward," to modernize the New York City transit system. It calls for new signal projects based on the ridership. Byford and staff members say each of the two phases could take 5 years, once the program is funded. It would involve overnight and weekend closures.

The total cost estimate has not been included and Byford says they're still working on the numbers.

"We are playing catch up," Byford said. "Rather than speculate, I want to get it right. Give me a couple of weeks."

PIX11 New Reporter Greg Mocker asked him how riders should evaluate the job he's doing. Byford says there will be monthly updates and a progress report every 6 months on the improvement plan.

The plan also addresses structural and organizational issues within the transit authority. It stresses communication with riders, appreciating employees, and regaining public confidence.

Improving the system will require support from city, state and federal leaders.

New York State Assemblymember Robert Carroll, a sponsor of the town hall, talked about the need to create a dedicated revenue stream for transit.