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MTA: On-Time Performance Improving, Action Plan Working

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the subway system is seeing its best on-time performance in more than four years, which leaders say proves money spent on the action plan is getting results.

But some riders told CBS2's Dave Carlin they don't see it that way.

Second Avenue Subway
The new Q Train station at 72nd Street and Second Avenue. (Credit: CBS2)

New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford and other leaders spent part of their Sunday standing in front of a sign that reads the "Subway action plan is working."

"They are getting from A to B more quickly and more reliably," Byford said.

But do the riders of a beleaguered, overwhelmed system agree?

"I would say wait until the action plan is truly working, where there's a noticeable difference before you say that," Astoria resident Scott Townsend said, adding when asked if he sees a noticeable difference, "No, I don't see a noticeable difference at all."

"I'd say it's gotten a little better," added Tom Bloom of Washington Heights.

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Byford said on-time performance of the subways improved and 76.7 percent, which is the best in more than four years.

"We have spent around $700 million of the of $836 million to date. Do I think it has been well spent? I would say yes. The evidence points to that," Byford said.

But Byford admits to being unsatisfied and is pushing for closer to 90 percent on time rate, as is the case for some other systems nationwide and abroad.

He also concedes there is a slide in ridership, which is down about 5 percent.

"We need to look at the reasons for ridership softening and in some cases eclining," Byford said. "It's largely on weekends and to a certain extent nights."

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That's because those times are when work is being done.

Leaders with the Rider's Alliance said the Sunday announcement must be seen as only the beginning.

"Riders and everyone are justified to be frustrated with the MTA," policy director Danny Pearlstein said. "But what these numbers demonstrate is the MTA is capable of doing better and they need the resources to do even better."

MOREState Senators To Gov. Cuomo: Without Knowing All Details, It's Not Right To Vote On Idea Of Congestion Pricing

That MTA news conference ended with a plea for the controversial congestion pricing plan. Leaders called on Albany to pass Gov. Andrew Cuomo's congestion pricing proposal, to okay raising tolls for Manhattan south of 60th street.

The idea is to help raise billions of dollars for Byford's Fast Forward Plan to modernize the subway system.

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