2020年1月9日 星期四

N.Y. Today: Subway Cars Sidelined

What you need to know for Thursday.

New Subway Cars Arrived. Then They Malfunctioned.

By Andrea Salcedo

Metro Reporter

It’s Thursday.

Weather: Sunny, with a high in the mid-30s. The wind will make it feel colder.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King’s Birthday).

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Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The M.T.A. bought nearly 300 new subway cars three years ago as part of a $600 million contract. Yesterday, the entire fleet was out of service.

The reason: a problem with the cars’ doors.

The authority said that two incidents involving door mechanisms had led it to sideline the 298 cars, a major setback to efforts to modernize the subway system.

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My colleague Emma G. Fitzsimmons, who has reported on the subway, called the decision to yank the cars “a really troubling sign for the M.T.A.”

“The most basic thing you need to run a subway is train cars that work,” she said, noting that “cars are really complicated. They’re really gigantic pieces of machinery. They have lots of small, intricate components.”

The problem

The M.T.A. said it had started to remove the cars, which make up less than 5 percent of the system’s total fleet, from the A, C, J and Z lines for inspection on Tuesday night. It temporarily replaced them with spare cars that were some of its oldest models. The authority also modified service on the J and Z lines so that trains were running less often.

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The problem that prompted the move, according to people involved in the transit system who were told about it, was a malfunction that made it possible for the doors to open while trains were moving.

Authority officials declined to comment on the exact nature of the defect until an investigation was completed. No one was injured in the incidents that brought the problem to light, Andy Byford, the subway leader, said.

“The M.T.A. has identified repeated issues with Bombardier’s performance and finds its latest development unacceptable,” Mr. Byford said in a statement, referring to the company that made the cars, known as R-179s.

A Bombardier spokeswoman told my colleague Christina Goldbaum that the doors had not been properly calibrated by a supplier, Nanjing Kangni Mechanical & Electrical. “We are now inspecting all of the R-179 cars and, where necessary, making adjustments to ensure the safe and reliable performance of the doors for the entire fleet,” the spokeswoman said.

Last month, an audit by the city’s comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, found fault with both Bombardier and the authority. The audit cited missed deadlines, design problems and, on the M.T.A.’s part, inadequate oversight, with the M.T.A. being forced to spend $35 million to keep older cars running as a result.

“This is a longtime vendor, Bombardier,” Ms. Fitzsimmons said, “and the fact that they’re not delivering a quality product is a huge problem, and it’s something that Andy Byford has focused on since he arrived” in 2018.

A string of woes

The door problems come as the subway has increased its on-time rate and has fewer car breakdowns. Still, frustrations among passengers remain.

“Why are the projects always late?” Ms. Fitzsimmons said. “Why are they always over budget? Why can’t the M.T.A. do anything right? I think that’s how riders often feel.”

Last summer, passengers were stranded during a heat wave when service was suspended because of a “network communications” issue. New Yorkers are also familiar with ticket machines that are broken, cars without air-conditioning and escalators that don’t move.

The M.T.A. has proposed a $54 billion plan to transform the subway that will include new elevators at 70 stations and modernized subway signals. Now, though, the authority has a more pressing issue: a troubled fleet of cars sitting idle.

FROM THE TIMES

Explore news from New York and around the region

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

The New York Police Department last year issued most of its jaywalking tickets to Latinos and African-Americans. [StreetsBlog NYC]

Dozens of passengers said they were wrongfully charged by subway fare readers after enabling Apple Pay. [New York Post]

The Upper West Side location of Book Culture was shut down over unpaid rent. [Gothamist]

Coming up today

Women Innovating Sound Experience performs with handmade electronics and live coding at Areté in Brooklyn. 8 p.m. [$15]

Join William Rosenau, the author of “Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol,” for a talk at the Strand in Manhattan. 7:30 p.m. [$15]

Learn how to create your own augmented reality images at the Apple Store on the Upper West Side. 3:30 p.m. [Free]

— Danya Issawi

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

And finally: Jokers and burgers

The Times’s Rebecca Liebson writes:

As the comic-book supervillain the Joker, Joaquin Phoenix danced down the long, grimy staircase like a madman. Then the moviegoers came. Now Burger King is stepping in.

For months, visitors have been flocking to a set of outdoor stairs in the Bronx’s Highbridge neighborhood, where they attempt to recreate Mr. Phoenix’s memorable scene in the film “The Joker.” Some even wear Joker attire and makeup, my colleague Julia Jacobs reported in the fall.

Thousands of the resulting photos and videos are on Instagram, tagged with “#JokerStairs.”

The commotion at the steps, which are along West 167 Street and connect Shakespeare Avenue to Anderson Avenue, has left some residents amused and others irritated.

“Before, they would never go past 161, which is Yankee Stadium,” a Bronx resident, Dangelyn Vargas, said about visitors to the borough. “At 167 and Shakespeare? That’s unheard-of.”

Burger King is trying to cash in on the stairs’ popularity. Until Sunday, anyone who uses Uber Eats to order from the burger chain’s Bronx locations can snag a free Whopper with the code KINGSTAIRS.

“Burger King knows how annoying clowns can be,” Diego Suarez, the restaurant’s head of global brand marketing, said in an email. “We want to make it up to Bronx residents for enduring that.”

It’s Thursday — step it up.

Metropolitan Diary: Private moment

Dear Diary:

I proposed to my girlfriend on the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade with the sun setting over New York Harbor in the background.

I had decided not to have a friend lurk in the bushes and take photos. I wanted it to be a moment that only we would share.

I proposed. She said yes. We hugged and cried and took some time to enjoy the moment for ourselves.

After about two minutes had passed, a German tourist approached us.

“Can I Airdrop to your phones the photos I just took of your engagement?” he asked.

— Michael Pisem

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