RKS Film: “End of The Line”: New York City Transportation System Teeters on Dysfunctionality

The documentary “End of The Line” presents the City of New York’s transportation system under the control of the MTA. The subway system is teetering on the edge unable to complete capital spending projects, political infighting and suffering from huge COVID ridership decline.

Having visited so many times over the past 5 decades the subway and to a lesser extent the bus system in New York walking and public transport are the way to get around although certain subway stations are crumbling and most are rather dingy to the extent they make Toronto’s subway stations look pristine. What a joy to be in the MTA subway stations when it is a hot and humid above ground and twice as bad below! The New York City experience!

But you can’t deny that New York City (NYC) subways are a jugular vein running through the city. Who needs a car in NYC?

NYC subways carry 6 million passengers a day and when you add bus ridership it is 9 million. There is lack of maintenance of equipment and stations. Its signal system is state of the art for the 1930’s. On time performance began to plummet frustrating riders. And then there is political infighting over transportation in NYC between the mayor and governor.

Then things begin to look hopeful with the appointment of Andy Byford the whiz kid behind the Toronto Transit Commission as President of the MTA in 2017. He launches a Fast Forward Plan to modernize the MTA but he is undercut if not back stabbed by then Governor Cuomo to the point he saw no option but to resign. And just after that COVID sweeps into NYC killing 131 MTA workers and decimating ridership.

Obama, Trump and now Biden pump up ambitious plans to hike American infrastructure spending to little avail or benefit to the MTA. Then Trump delays Congestion Tolls (used in London and Singapore) cutting off projected revenue to the MTA. At the end of 2019 more than 2/3 of projects in the MTA’s 2015-19 capital programme were not completed.

An interesting study that highlights the necessity to properly fund urban transportation systems before they crumble. It is all rather unglamourous but to avoid a collapse and an economic disaster a necessity.

“End of the Line” is already a bit outdated as Cuomo has resigned, there is new NYC mayor and Biden has replaced Trump. But still a canary in the coalmine documentary. If China has created 25 subway systems since 1990 why on earth is NYC’s subway system is in danger of obsolescence? Watch this documentary and hopefully you walk away with some insight.

“End of the Line” will be available in the United States on June 14 including Apple/iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, VUDU and Microsoft.

You can see the trailer here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR0VSSWQX04

Directed, produced and edited by Emmet Adler.

RKS Film Rating 87/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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