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110 Years of the Subway
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Letter from the President of MTA New York City Transit

Dear Customer,

The roots of New York City’s present transit system were set in place 110 years ago on October 27th, 1904.  That’s when the subway began service between City Hall and 145th Street and Broadway.  The system that now benefits 5.8 million daily customers sprang from a single line that didn’t leave the confines of Manhattan.

Since its opening, the system has grown into a four-borough operation that each day moves more than double the population of Chicago.  Trains running along 24 lines feed the City’s schools, businesses and recreational venues.  New York City could not be the 24/7 City it is today without the subway.

For a period in the 1970s and 1980s, however, the subway slipped into a state of decay.  A prolonged lack of investment caused an historic level of deterioration.  Track fires, train derailments and equipment breakdowns were daily events and the engine that drove New York sputtered and turned into a graffiti-scarred mess.   This was the unpleasant state of affairs until a fresh leadership team demonstrated a commitment to excellence that was funded by the first of the MTA’s Capital Plans.  The combination of vision and cash managed to reverse the downward trend and breathe new life into the transit system.  

Today, the MTA is working on future improvements and expansion projects that will carry us through the next 100 plus years.  The City’s population is growing and transit ridership is rising right along with it.  There are several projects to push the system forward, either in progress, nearing completion or in the planning stages. 

The extension of the 7 to the West Side of Manhattan, Fulton Center Complex, the installation of new signaling systems and the ongoing Superstorm Sandy Fix & Fortify work all combine to further strengthen the system so that it will support the City’s future needs.

As the City grows, we will continue to grow with it.  The subway and the City is a symbiotic relationship that benefits the entire region, and keeps us a world leader.

Carmen Bianco
President, New York City Transit

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