Mounting concerns about the subway's general state of disrepair came to a head on Monday when rush hour riders found themselves packed shoulder to shoulder in a stalled F train for close to an hour—no lights, no air conditioning. "It is definitely not business as usual," Andrew Albert, a transit advocate and nonvoting member of the MTA Board, told Gothamist on Friday. "That graphic of people with their fingers through the doors—it is bad."

Mayor de Blasio, who has recently prickled at the public's renewed interest in his SUV-dependent Park Slope YMCA habit, tried to commiserate with straphangers during an unrelated press conference on Thursday, reminiscing about commuting regularly underground in the 1990s. He also pledged to "put forward a vision" to shift the MTA's focus towards general subway maintenance, somehow exacting more influence on the MTA Board, the majority of which is appointed by Governor Cuomo.

"I rode the F train for many, many years... in fact, from '92 to '99 it was the only way I got around. Or also the R train sometimes because those were the two that go near my house in Brooklyn, and I didn't have a car into well into 1999," the Mayor said, adding, "I can absolutely relate to what people must have gone through [during] that horrible incident. We need to demand a plan of action immediately."

Acknowledging the Governor's influence over the MTA, de Blasio pledged to present a new list of priorities.

"The MTA historically has not focused enough of its energies on the New York City subway system, even though by far it's the number one thing the MTA does—five to six million riders a day," de Blasio said. "So I will be speaking about this regularly. And if we don't see a plan, we'll put forward a vision through my representatives on the MTA of what needs to change."

"I think credible ideas from any source can help push the conversation in that direction," said John Raskin of the Riders Alliance.

"The more people that focus on the condition of the subways, the better it is for the riding public," Albert agreed. However, he added, "The governor has so many more appointees than the mayor to the board that it's clear who's in control." The subway has been under state control since the late 1960s; Governor Cuomo appoints six members to the 14-member board.

"Some of the things that are in the mayor's power are to have the city pay for fair fares, and providing more money to the MTA's capital plan and operations," Albert said.

A spokeswoman for the governor told Gothamist that the mayor's best bet would be to provide more capital and operating funds (responsibility for the subway has been a favorite sparring topic for two public officials who like to spar).

"When someone says it's not about the money that means it is about the money," Dani Lever said. "The best way the mayor could help is by paying his fair share of capital and operating expenses—that would directly improve service for riders."

The MTA's 2015-19 capital plan includes New York City's largest commitment to date, totaling $2.5 billion—an amount de Blasio's staff has repeatedly described as unprecedented. New York City's latest budget, signed earlier this week, does not include $50 million to pilot reduced MetroCard fares for the working poor. In the lead-up to the final budget, Mayor de Blasio said that NYC could not afford the program.

It's important to note that roughly half of the MTA's operating budget comes from fares paid by daily riders like the ones trapped on the F train from hell earlier this week. The MTA recently voted to increase its overall debt by $5 billion over the next several years, in large part to fund new infrastructure projects. Board members cautioned last month that said debt will increase upward pressure on fares—if not this year, then years down the road.