Jay Walder, raised in Queens and renowned for major upgrades to London’s buses and subways, took the No. 7 train Monday to his first day of work as New York City’s transit chief.
Walder, 50, envisions more technology and better rides for straphangers.
On his way to MTA headquarters, Walder dropped in on workers at two Queens transit facilities.
“I am proud of the MTA’s progress over the past 20 years, but we need to do more,” Walder said at the Corona Subway Maintenance Shops and the Casey Stengel Bus Depot, across from the No. 7 tracks near Citi Field.
“In partnership with the MTA’s hardworking men and women, I know we can meet those expectations. It will not be easy, but I come to the job with my eyes open and my sleeves rolled up.”
Walder first talked with straphangers at the Main Street station, the terminus of the No. 7 line in downtown Flushing and the fourth busiest station in the city’s subway system.
In answer to a question, Walder said, “I would love to introduce some of the features of the London transportation system in New York.”
Walder mentioned lighted boards on subway platforms and bus shelters advising straphangers when the next train or bus arrives, the integration of buses, subways and commuter trains and a transit card like the no-swipe Oyster fare card.
“New Yorkers should be able to expect the same type of customer experience riders enjoy in London,” Walder said, “with accurate arrival information and modern fare technology.”
Walder’s vision would greatly expand the bus system. For instance, London buses carry more riders than New York City’s subways do.
Walder, who lived in the Rockaways until adulthood, was hired in July by Gov. David Paterson, replacing Elliot “Lee” Sander, who resigned after Paterson said he was going to “clean up and clean out” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
As he rode along the No. 7 line to his new job at MTA headquarters on Madison Avenue, Walder made a pledge to his riders.
“By the end of my first 100 days at the MTA, we will produce an action plan for moving forward with concrete goals and timelines,” Walder said. “We will make the objectives clear and the communities we serve should hold us accountable for achieving real results.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledge
©2009 Community News Group
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