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MTA Shares 23 Highlights from 2023

Updated Dec 29, 2023 11:15 a.m.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today shared 23 highlights for 2023 to provide a glimpse of the progress and milestones reached throughout the year across all agencies, including financial stability, strong ridership recovery, accessibility projects, service increases, an enhanced passenger experience and an overall more sustainable, reliable transit system. The list below is also available online.

1. A Balanced Budget
Thanks to Governor Hochul and the Legislature, the MTA’s financial plan reflects a balanced budget through 2027, the first time in more than 20 years the Authority has projected a balanced budget for five consecutive years.

2. Grand Central Madison
The opening of Grand Central Madison marked the most transformative change to Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) service in over a century, increasing service by 41%, improving operational flexibility and convenience with a second terminal in Manhattan and connecting Long Islanders to Manhattan’s east side.

3. Growing Ridership
Ridership continues to climb, reaching 1 billion subway rides in November 2023, as well as post-pandemic ridership milestones on both Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

4. Accessibility Innovations
The MTA launched a pilot testing automated wheelchair securement on 10 buses along the M7 route, rolled out new wayfinding decals for customers with disabilities at multiple subway stations, at all stops on the M66 bus route, and installed new wide-aisle fare gates at Sutphin Blvd/Archer Av-JFK Airport station in Jamaica, Queens, following a pilot at Atlantic Av-Barclays Centersubway station in March 2023.

5. A More Inclusive, Accessible Transit Network
The MTA is delivering accessibility projects and awarding contracts at an unprecedented pace, five times faster than previous years. The 2020-2024 Capital Plan includes a historic investment of $5.2 billion to make 67 subway stations ADA accessible, more than any capital plan in MTA’s history and more than the last three capital plans combined. This year, nine ADA subway station projects were completed, and 42 are currently underway.

6. A Safer Commute
Thanks to the efforts of our police partners, crime is down for the year, and the MTA has continued to install more cameras across its already expansive network of over 11,000 cameras, including on subway cars.

7. A Cleaner, Refreshed Subway System
NYC Transit delivered on its commitment to complete 50 Station Re-NEW-vations by the end of the year, and is on track to completing 53. The Re-NEW-vation Program combines deep cleaning and cosmetic upgrades to planned weekend outages. By the end of the year, a total of 62 stations will have been renovated. The Agency also reopened over 30% of subway bathrooms.

8. R211 Subway Cars
The first R211 subway train rolled into service on March 10 on the line, introducing the first new subway car fleet in five years. Currently, there are six trains in total operating on the line and one slated to operate on the Staten Island Railway early 2024.

9. Customer Service Centers
In February 2023, the MTA announced the opening of the first dedicated customer service centers in the NYC Transit system. Complementary, one month later, subway station agents began to support customers outside of station booths, providing better customer service.

10. Twenty-Year Needs Assessment
In October, the MTA released its most rigorous and transparent 20-Year Needs Assessment in history, outlining the long-term vision to rebuild, improve, and expand the region’s $1.5 trillion transit system over the next 20 years.

11. A Greener Transit System
In honor of Earth Day, the MTA announced its commitment to reducing emissions resulting from operation of trains, buses and facilities by at least 85% by 2040.

12. OMNY Milestones
The MTA’s tap-and-go contactless fare payment continues to grow, passing one billion taps and growing to 50% of subway fare payments.

The MTA activated the first OMNY card vending machines across the system, giving access to the convenience and financial flexibility of tappable OMNY cards to cash customers, and brought OMNY to regional partners at the Roosevelt Island Tramway and AirTrain JFK.

13. Second Av Subway Phase 2 Moves Forward
Thanks to $3.4 billion in federal funding, the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway accelerated this year. The new section, from 96th to 125th streets, will have three new stations and serve more than 300,000 riders per day.

14. Less Traffic, Cleaner Air, Better Transit, and Safer Streets
The Central Business District Tolling Program moved forward Dec. 6 with the MTA Board voting to begin public review of a tolling structure recommended by the Traffic Mobility Review Board. Wednesday, Dec. 27, marked the beginning of the public comment period with hearings to follow.

15. Faster Subway Rides
The MTA rolled out a series of planned service enhancements that began over the summer and will be completed end of summer 2024. So far, eight subway lines have seen service increases: the lines.

16. Queens Bus Improvement Plan
Earlier this month, the agency published the next version of the proposed Queens Bus Network Redesign which will invest nearly $30 million to modernize and enhance the bus network by providing more frequent and reliable service.

17. First-Ever Music Under New York Riders’ Choice Award
For the first time since the Music Under New York program officially launched in 1987, in partnership with We Love NYC, the MTA opened up the polls to NYC to vote for their favorite Music Under New York performer for the “Rider’s Choice” Award, encouraging civic action and community engagement. This year’s winner was the Brass Queens.

18. A Record Year for Interdictions
MTA Bridges and Tunnels remains committed to catching traffic scofflaws and collecting toll revenue, interdicting 2,771 vehicles registered to toll violators, a 47.7% increase from 2022.

19. Last of Special-Edition MetroCards
Soon, tapping your credit/debit card, smart device, or OMNY card on the OMNY reader will replace MetroCards, but in one of its final years, the MTA took the iconic card to the next level by celebrating KISS, Glossier, NYC Pride, and the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with special-edition MetroCards.

20. More Affordable Commuter Railroad Ticket Options
The CityTicket was expanded to peak trains at a rate of $7.00, covering commuter railroad stations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. The expansion to peak trains makes the CityTicket valid any time and day of the week, with off-peak fares remaining at $5.00.

Due to the unique geographic position of Far Rockaway, the Far Rockaway ticket was introduced and mirrors the pricing of the CityTicket. It is the first ticket ever created for users of a specific station and can only be purchased at the Far Rockaway station or TrainTime app with shared location.

21. A More Spacious, Brighter Penn Station
The LIRR Concourse Project reached substantial completion in March. This project raised the ceiling to 18 feet, doubled the width of the corridor, enhanced accessibility, constructed an iconic new Penn Station entrance on Seventh Avenue, improved lighting, air flow, and wayfinding – greatly enhancing the customer experience and increasing circulation.

22. Find Art Throughout the MTA Via App
MTA Arts & Design launched a digital guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and cultural app to facilitate discovery and exploration of the numerous artworks throughout the NYC subway system, Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road.

23. Metro-North's Laser Train
Over the fall, Metro-North reintroduced its Laser Train with a new bold, retro-futuristic design which makes it prominently visible to the public. The Laser Train clears leaves from rails that can cause slip-slide conditions from the slimy leaf sludge, causing delays, and train wheels to develop flat spots which can result in train cars being removed from service, resulting in shorter trains until the cars’ flat spots are repaired.

The MTA also celebrated a handful of anniversaries this year: Metro-North Railroad turned 40, MTA Bridges & Tunnels turned 90, the BMT (part of today’s subway B division) turned 100, Grand Central Terminal turned 110, and the subway itself turned a whopping 119 years old.