FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, GOVERNOR GEORGE E. PATAKI AND MTA CHAIRMAN PETER KALIKOW ANNOUNCE MTA TAKEOVER OF PRIVATE BUSLINES
MTA Takeover will Improve Service for Almost 400,000 Riders in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor George E. Pataki and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Peter Kalikow today announced that the operation of seven private bus lines in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx will be transferred to the MTA by July 1, 2004. The MTA will assume all responsibility for the operation of the private lines. New York City will subsidize the MTA by financing the costs of operating the service beyond the revenue generated by State subsidies, fares and advertising. The transfer will ensure that the bus service is fully integrated with the transit service currently provided by the MTA and will result in a higher quality service and more efficient operations.
"The 390,000 residents of Co-op City, Canarsie, Middle Village, Rego Park and Forest Hills and the other neighborhoods that uses these buses deserve improved service and greater reliability," said Mayor Bloomberg. "For years they have stoically tolerated antiquated buses, and substandard and unreliable service. Nearly a third of the bus fleet is 17 years or older and many are not accessible for people with disabilities. Although, the City will continue to fully subsidize the bus service, it will get a better bang for its buck. New Yorkers will benefit from the efficiencies generated by this consolidation including the elimination of management and incentives fees paid to the private operators, reduced maintenance costs, insurance savings and the consolidation of fuel purchases."
"The MTA and the City have forged an important agreement to ensure better and more reliable bus service for commuters from Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx," Governor Pataki said. "Riders can look forward to improved service that will not keep people waiting at the curb, as well as 450 new, cleaner buses which will soon be added to the fleet. We will make sure that the transition is seamless so that commuters will not be inconvenienced while service is being transferred. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Chairman Kalikow for working together to ensure that New York City riders get the transit service that they deserve."
"I want to thank Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg for their continued commitment to mass transportation," said MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow. "The MTA provides the best and most efficient transportation service in the country and we look forward to bringing that same quality service to more transit customers in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx."
The City will lease all its bus-related assets to the MTA including approximately 450 new buses that are currently being purchased and the two bus depots that are owned by the City. At the City's request, the MTA will propose an amendment to its 2000-2004 Capital Plan to set aside a $322.5 million reserve that will be funded from resources originally allocated to the LaGuardia Airport subway extension, but are no longer slated for that project. This reserve will be used for additional fleet replacement, facilities and other necessary capital improvements.
The MTA will assume all union employees and will honor existing collective bargaining agreements and collective bargaining obligations until new agreements are negotiated. To affect this, the parties plan to meet with the unions in the near future. To ensure a seamless transition of service between the MTA and the private operators, the City will also begin immediate efforts to negotiate agreements that address owners concerns quickly and fairly.
As part of this overall agreement, the City will support the MTA Capital Plan Amendments, including the accelerated purchase of new Metro North Railroad cars. In exchange, the MTA has agreed to address the Transit Authority's traditional Capital Plan funding in its next Capital Program.
"This historic agreement is extremely complex and I want to congratulate Governor George Pataki, MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow, Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, Budget Director Mark Page and the Director of the Mayor's Office of Operations, Susan Kupferman for their hard work in getting this done and their dedication to improving the transportation system for the citizens of New York," concluded Mayor Bloomberg.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Lynn Rasic (Governor) (212) 681-4640
Tom Kelly (MTA) (212) 878-7440
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