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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, September 25, 2017

Transit delays have become more than just a nuisance. So far in 2017, NY city employees have missed 17,143 hours of work due to the MTA’s crumbling subway system, as reported by the NY Daily News. That sets the stage for city workers to miss nearly 26,000 hours of work this year, potentially setting a record of tardiness due to service disruptions. Last year, workers missed a total of 19,417 hours all year long due to subway delays. This year the tardiness increased nearly 30 percent from last year. In 2015, subway problems led to 19,142 missed hours, up 5% from 18,191 in the year 2014. 

“That shows very clearly that this is a problem that has been getting worse,” said Nick Sifuentes, deputy director of transit advocacy group Riders Alliance. “It went from being a slow-burn crisis to an emergency.”

According to an analysis by the Independent Budget Office(IBO), nearly all the dates with the most missed hours of work due to a transit problem correspond with major subway woes. There are plenty of examples. On January 9th, an ice blocked pipe burst at West 4th St.-Washington Square station, causing a total loss of 1,075 hours of work. On the morning of Friday April 21, a power outage shut down the 53rd St.-Seventh Avenue  Subway station for several hours, resulting in the loss of 1,066 city work hours. On May 9th, an A.M. power outage at the Dekalb Ave. station, caused City workers to miss another 725 hours of work. 

The missed hours were mostly paid for by the city. City workers are paid for lost time, if they can prove that they were not at fault. All the workers had to do was submit a letter from the MTA verifying the delay. Based on the median hourly rate of roughly $32.40 an hour for a 40-hour work week which city workers make, the 17,143 hours missed so far this year equates to about $555,000 that the city has lost.

“The state should step up now and support the mayor’s plan to tax the wealthiest 1 percent to pay for the fix of our subways and buses, and return the half-million dollars it took from the MTA to fund the immediate turnaround plan. It’s time to get to work — literally,” said Austin Finan, Spokesman for Mayor de Blasio. 

“Any increase in delays experienced on the subway show the critical need to support and fund the MTA’s Subway Action Plan and why City Hall and Mayor de Blasio should step up and fund their half of the plan,” said MTA spokesman, Shams Tarek.

By Hadassa Kalatizadeh