From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, state senators, and assembly and council joined volunteers clad in blue “Let’s Fix The MTA Now” t-shirts to distribute the surveys.
The surveys were quick to answer, with just seven questions asking about delays, overcrowding, and desired improvements, such security and cleanliness.
On Thursday, the tour reached Queens and Brooklyn, beginning at the Astoria Ditmars N/W stop and traveling the A, E, G, J, L, R, and 7 lines.
“As New Yorkers, riders will always have a strong opinion,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the Committee on Transportation.
Aside from reliability concerns, commuters told Rodriguez that there was a need for better services to connect the growing homeless population in the subways with mental health and housing services.
Lisbeth Aquino, who was with the Transit Tour coalition surveying riders on the 7 line, said that Queens riders expressed concerns of accessibility, significant delays, and overcrowding.
At Brooklyn’s Jay St./MetroTech A train stop, Rodriguez paused to have a discussion with station manager Michael Brown and Assemblyman Robert Carroll.
Brown offered a tour of the station, which he mentioned is the second busiest stop in Brooklyn after Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center.
He explained that since the station is ADA accessible, people with disabilities often trek from their homes to MetroTech to board and connect with other trains that will take them to Manhattan.
Brown said the MTA is trying to enable 50 more stations to be ADA accessible so that riders are not more than two stops away from a fully accessible station.
Among the station renovations at MetroTech, Brown highlighted the new escalators currently under constructed.
Rodriguez said he will use the data from riders during a hearing to expand funding to the MTA.
“Our goal is to continue connecting the riders with their experience and their information,” he said.
Allison James, Rodriguez’s director of environmental policy, said the number one concern she heard centered around consistency.
“New Yorkers are so dependent on the subway system,” she said. “When there is a single delay or variance or change, it throws off everything.”
However, James noted that despite all the complaints, most riders finished the survey by saying that they were satisfied with subway service overall.
“At the end of the day, most people are actually satisfied with the service that they receive, and they know they can depend on the subway on a bigger scale,” she said.