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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Chairman Joseph Lhota expressed chagrin this past Wednesday after Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped an R train for a photo op and conversation with commuters.

“No one has the right to hold a train, at all, plain and simple," Lhota said Wednesday, according to a Crain’s report. "I'm going to need to investigate what I read in the paper this morning, because it's unacceptable. No one should stop the train for any single individual to get on. This is the people's system."

This is Lhota’s second clash with de Blasio this month after the Mayor undercut the MTA Chairman’s proposed ban on eating on the subway, a right de Blasio said commuters were entitled too. Lhota criticized de Blasio’s remarks at the time as “incendiary.”

As for the recent photo-op, De Blasio spokesperson denied the administration’s responsibility for the roughly three-and-a-half-minute delay it reportedly caused, according to Daily News, which broke the story.

“If for someone reason the train was being held it certainly wasn't being held by us," the spokesman said. "We don't run the subways."

According to Crain’s, Lhota spokesman Eric Phillips backed up the MTA Chairman’s criticism of the delay.

“Trains shouldn’t be stopped for anyone," Phillips said. "City Hall staff certainly wouldn’t stop a train and we wouldn’t want one stopped on our behalf, even for mere seconds."

Lhota is currently facing intense pressure to resolve the NYC subway crisis, having been tasked with a 30-day window by Governor Andrew Cuomo to develop a “rescue plan” after Cuomo’s declared state of emergency. So far, the plan being developed by Lhota and his staff includes the MTA’s hiring of over 7,000 new employees, revamping the decades-old NYC subway signal system, cleaning up subway stations, and adding more cars to subway platforms.

On July 23, Lhota responded strongly to de Blasio’s suggestion that the Chairman’s stance on NYC’s contributions to the MTA “makes me no sense.”

"What we need is leadership, not photo ops,” Lhota shot back later that day. “The Mayor's comments today were completely disingenuous knowing that the MTA is set to present its 30-day overhaul plan this week. We know we have a problem and our job now is to fix it. It would best for the people of New York City if everyone stepped up and worked together in those efforts."

By: Yehuda Sagan