FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 • THE QUEENS COURIER 31
Take the subway to see the lights go up on Broadway
BY JANNO LIEBER
Now that the lights have gone back up
on Broadway, allow me to borrow a line
from “Wicked” to describe current MTA
ridership trends — we’re “defying gravity,”
and if not gravity, then certainly
Th e system is breaking records what
seems like every few days following the
return to work and school in person for
many New Yorkers.
Our busiest day yet came Sept. 14 when
the subways carried a pandemic-era high
of 3 million riders. Th at translates to
about 51% of our pre-COVID ridership.
Th ere’s still a long way to go to get back
to where it was before the pandemic, but
this is an exciting milestone nonetheless.
Almost 1.5 million additional riders rode
NYC Transit and MTA buses.
Th e commuter railroads are also going
from strength to strength; both the Long
Island Rail Road and Metro-North broke
MTA Chairman Janno Lieber proudly
proclaiming that subway riders have
returned in record numbers is a glass still
Will the 60,000-plus new Long Island
Rail Road riders utilize the future $11.2
billion East Side Access Grand Central
Terminal upon opening in December
How many years will it take before 5
million-plus pre COVID-19 commuters
return to the nation’s largest subway system?
How many years will it take before
returning to pre COVID-19 ridership
numbers for NYC Transit buses, Staten
Island Railway, Long Island Rail Road and
Metro-North Railroad? How many more
years will pass, before ridership increases
beyond pre COVID-19 numbers?
More people are going to continue telecommuting
from home, part- or fulltime.
Th ere will be fewer face-to-face
meetings and conferences, with increased
usage of Zoom and other teleconference
technologies. Many Manhattan
based corporations are downsizing existing
offi ce space. Others are relocating
employees to suburban offi ces closer to
Th e MTA should invest fi nancial
resources on state of good repair and safety
projects rather than initiating new system
expansion projects such as the $6.9
billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 or
$1.6 billion Metro North Bronx East Penn
Th ere is still much to be done in dealing
with fare evasion, homeless people, crime,
frequent service disruptions due to fl ooding,
signal or other operational problems,
along with a backlog worth tens of billions
their own records earlier this month,
serving more than 150,000 and 122,000
Th ese gains show that New Yorkers
trust the MTA to get them where they
need to go — whether it’s the offi ce, a
ballpark, restaurants or Broadway.
I got to celebrate the return of live theater
last week with the cast of Disney
Th eatrical’s “Th e Lion King: and the
Broadway League in Times Square. It was
an incredibly fun event that served as a
reminder of Broadway’s symbolic importance
to New York City – and a reminder
to fans that there’s no better way to
get to the theater than taking mass transit.
We’re thrilled to partner with cultural
icons like “Th e Lion King” to help welcome
customers back to the system.
Winning back riders is the central mission
of our ‘Welcome Back’ marketing
campaign that you’ve probably started
to see across the system. We’ve taken out
billboards and bought radio and print
in long overdue state of good repair
Larry Penner, Great Neck
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness
Month and it is time to stand up in the
fi ght against prostate cancer. Th e COVID-
19 pandemic has prevented many men
from getting tested for prostate cancer.
But now is the time to get tested.
About one in nine men will be diagnosed
with prostate cancer during his
lifetime and, according to the American
Cancer Society, there will be 248,530 new
cases of prostate cancer and 31,130 deaths
from prostate cancer in 2021.
Prostate cancer is responsible for the
second-most deaths caused from cancer,
but it is curable if caught early. Th e key
is early detection, which will give a better
outcome. I know that only too well.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer
in 2015. I was going to have knee surgery
and needed a physical by my primary
doctor. She found my PSA was
high and directed me to see a urologist
in Manhasset. It was found I had an
aggressive prostate cancer and required
an aggressive surgery. I had the surgery at
age 66 and today I am 72 years old and am
cancer free! Th ese doctors truly saved my
life and I am eternally thankful.
Th ere are many treatments out there
today. I therefore urge all men over the
age of 40 to get tested. Remember this:
Your life depends upon it and your family
depends upon you, so get tested now!
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Bellerose
letters & comments
ads and spots online. Signage is going up
on 700 buses, with messaging all over our
digital screen network at stations.
Th e best incentive that we can off er
New Yorkers however is a reliable, fast,
and safe trip. Service and customer experience
are what matters most. Subway
on-time performance is even better than
the records we were achieving just before
We invested heavily in speed-related
upgrades while ridership was low,
and we are challenging ourselves to further
cut subway run times and increase
speeds wherever possible. Perhaps most
important, the system is safer than ever
thanks to our robust disinfection eff orts
and high mask compliance.
Another key piece of welcoming back
New Yorkers is revisiting fare and ticketing
options. We need to devise fare strategies
that fi t the reality of post-COVID
commuting and travel where new commuting
schedules and hybrid work have
made 30-day tickets and monthly passes
less appealing for many workers.
Th at’s why we made the decision to
extend off -peak fares on the commuter
railroads through the end of the year.
Th is will help riders save up to 40%
on tickets depending on distance traveled.
Th ere are also Autumn Weekends
and Friends and Family Wednesdays
promotions, where monthly LIRR and
Metro-North ticketholders can bring
up to four extra guests for just a dollar
We’re going to keep getting creative so
that we can best support the region’s economic
revival. Th ere can be no recovery
without a strong MTA and we’re using
technology, imagination and the great
work of tens of thousands of MTA workers
to set New Yorkers up for success by
smoothly delivering them wherever they
need to be.
Janno Lieber is acting chair and CEO of
PRETTY IN PINK
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