Speaking of the subways and what not, I just learned that only two years into his six year contract MTA Board head Jay Walder is leaving for a gig outta town. He will stay on until October of this year, then he's Hong Kong bound.
The articles below all reported the story when I missed it last week (when I was probably in the middle of the eighth shower that day)
You'll see in the articles above the range of opinion on the story as views differ on what this says about Walder and more importantly the effect it will have on mass transit riders in the city.
Some are trying to make him out to be the railyard equivalent of LeBron James (<--Btw this clip is very amusing if you havent seen it) for taking his talents elsewhere, but as the Gothamist article points out he was make $500k in London then left that job to come here and work for $350k and Hong Kong is offering almost a million annually.
Plus the transit works union, (and I am prounion) has a big sway over the agency thanks to the necessity of the MTA for city life and their contract is coming up at the end of the year while the MTA still struggles to pay off the debt incurred by huge borrowing over the last ten years, (thanks Pataki).
If you dont know Walder is credited with an attempt to modernize the MTA specifically city buses and subways. Things I havent liked under his watch, the cut off of bus service in the boroughs, and shortening of schedules but most of that was the result of budget cuts and a lack of public fighting to keep necessary services. As well as the constant problem with the MTA, that they are not politically accountable to anyone because they are a half private half goverment agency.
Things I have liked under Walder's watch, continued modernizing of the trains (I'm not a fan of robo trains though) and the update and addition of schedule clocks, (mentioned in a previous post) which every major city's subways (London, Tokyo, etc) have. I also like the realtime bus tracking and priorety bus lanes in the city. This and more was the promise and expectations that surrounded Walder's arrival as MTA head.
But yeah, Walder's a native New Yorker, and we know a few things with certainty; when the road's about to get bumpy and what a good deal looks like. I can't fault him for his choice but I'm not very optimistic that Cuomo will find anyone nearly as able to run this city's MTA and complete the turnaround Walder attempted to start.
Looks like NYer's will have to fold up our hopes and dreams into another, this bird has flown.