Last year, MTA head Jay Walder stepped down from heading the NYC subway and bus system and Long Island and Connecticut commuter lines to take a job running Hong Kong's transit system, the MTR. Yesterday was his first day on the job and he told everyone how crappy everything is in New York!
According to CityRoom, Walder said, "New York, when I arrived there, was in a financial crisis. The system simply did not have enough money to continue to operate. The assets were not being renewed. And the infrastructure was in terrible condition... What I did was to be able to right that financial basis and to be able to put the system back on firm financial footing." Fine, so we're not getting fare hikes this year—but what about our missing bus?!
Walder was optimistic about Hong Kong's system, "I think we have a very different situation here. We have a first-class railway. We have a sustainable financial model that is supporting that railway. And I think the people of Hong Kong are benefiting tremendously from what we have." Please, the MTR only runs 19 hours a day, while the NYC Transit subway system runs 24 hours a day.
The MTR happens to be paying Walder about $1 million/year—the MTR had a $1 billion surplus in 2010 and its revenue for the first half of 2011 jumped 8%, thanks to its advertising and rental income (because the MTR owns the land over the subway stations—printing money, baby!).