NYC Subway Managers Receive $300,000 Salaries While MTA Cuts Mechanics

Tyler Durden's picture

During a  long-ranging investigation, The New York Times interviewed more than 300 people and poured over thousands of documents to sketch out the history of neglect, abuse and mismanagement that fostered the New York City subway's current state of crisis in what's probably the most comprehensive explanation of the woes plaguing the MTA.

Century-old tunnels and track routes are crubling, but the Times found that the MTA’s budget for subway aintenance has barely grown, in inflation adjusted terms, since 1992.

Signal problems and equipment failures are occurring twice as frequently as they did a decade ago – a sign of just how rapidly the transit system is deteriorating.

What’s worse, is that hundreds of mechanic positions have been cut even as the century-old system groaned under the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. Meanwhile, compensation for managers has ballooned to nearly $300,000 a year.

Daily ridership has doubled in the past decade to 5.7 million people. Yet, New York City is the only city in the world with fewer miles of track than it had during World War II.

Given the unconscionable state of neglect paid to its budget, it should come as no surprise that New York City’s subway system has the worst performance of any major urban transportation system in the world. Only 65% of weekday trains make it to their destination on time.

The Times claims that the deplorable state of the city’s transit system is the result of negligence by both Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Gov. George Pataki, former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, as well as Mayor Bill De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Over the past two decades, politicians have diverted a whopping $1.5 billion in tax revenue from the MTA to other political priorities. Politicians are also largely responsible for pressing the agency to spend money on opulent station makeovers, like the new Fulton Street station, that do little to improve service. Politicians also locked the MTA into an unfavorable agreement with creditors that secured a needed short-term cash infusion but left it saddled with $5 billion in interest payments.

Perhaps most egregiously, Gov. Cuomo recently forced the MTA to send $5 million to three upstate ski resorts that were struggling with a warm winter.

The MTA has also suffered from high turnover in its senior ranks, as dozens of high-level officials have taken advantage of a lucrative revolving door whereby they leave jobs at the MTA for high-up jobs at contractors that do business with the MTA.

Seemingly at every turn, politicians have failed to act on a series of chances to turn things around. They ignored decades of warnings from state and city comptrollers about MTA funding. They failed to pass a congestion pricing plan in 2008. Thy chose not to give mass transit much of the proceeds from bank settlements after the financial crisis. And they brushed off findings from official commission reports pointing out the system’s defects.

All of this has amounted to a shocking development: The number of subway riders declined slightly last year, even as the population of NYC has continued to expand rapidly.

Problems worsened under Cuomo as the governor tried to micromanage decision making at the agency, a move that only worsened its problems. For example, a few months ago, the MTA cut $500 million from the signal-repair budget to fund other projects that are more important to Cuomo. For context, signal malfunctions are the biggest contributing factor in train delays.

But perhaps the most fundamental flaw in how the MTA is managed is the fact that many of its most high-level decisions are made by a committee of bureaucrats and politicians, the Times reported.

“A camel is a horse designed by committee, and the MTA is a train service run by committee,” a Cuomo spokeswoman said.

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Scornd's picture

“A camel is a horse designed by committee, and the MTA is a train service run by committee,” a Cuomo spokeswoman said.

sum ting wong.

y3maxx's picture

Trump's fault.

sarc off

Escrava Isaura's picture

That’s one of the problems with capitalism. It generates lots of unintended and unforeseen consequences.  

Article: saddled with $5 billion in interest payments. 

Say no more, right?


Scornd's picture

how come you dont notice that you are a socialist paying in a socialist system, and the Banks capitalize on you?

robertsgt40's picture

NYC= 5lbs of sht in a 3lb bag.

Mtnrunnr's picture

In my experience most Managers don't do shit.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

Some do. Some don’t. Some preside over crony-absenteeism cliques of busy “work”ing parents.. In my experience, the hardworking managers, like the hardworking employees, are not always the ones who get rewarded. These do. They get as much as the POTUS and the chance to make crony connections, landing even better jobs in business—-better than $300k......Meanwhile, it is the mechanics that keep the commuters safe. Sad.

max2205's picture

High turnover at 300k ?   There must be some job kickbacks going on 

RAT005's picture

More specifically, in my experience, most managers' time is spent writing reports for other managers.  Most are not an assett to the core business.  Begin to unravel the maze of doing nothings and I'm sure there is easy room to remove +30% of the managers.  Not to mention being paid way more than they are worth.

Stuck on Zero's picture

More than $10 billion to fix the signal system? WTF? String a few Ethernet cables, set up a few routers, add some servers and software and you'd have a new system for a tenth of that cost.

SoDamnMad's picture

Don't know what it costs but the Moscow subway system is constantly expanding with new routes. Gorgeous stations and trains that always run on time (unless some terrorist blows up a train). I'll bet few or no managers in that system earn $300,000..

Chuck Walla's picture

"a new system for a tenth of that cost."

But how does the Elite profit from that? Please try again keeping their new Mercedes in mind this time. After all, girlfriend needs one, too!

Eyes Opened's picture

300k ?? Now THATS what I call being on the Gravy Train....  :-)

Rhetorical's picture

I work on a dockyard and run yard locomotives for a living. I have run full size ones on occasion.

The mechanics are the most important people in your whole fucking business. The guy who orders the parts is the 2nd most important.  My job would shut down in 2 days 3 max if we didnt have competent maitenance. 

With one exception I think our mechs are more important than our managers.

Escrava Isaura's picture


The workers are the ones creating the wealth and not the owners.

However, the conservatives in America hate the working class; you can clearly see it here, by going after the mechanics and not the ones making $5 billion dollars of counterfeited money.

Americans conservatives hate for the working class is a byproduct of their indoctrination and their history of bigotry.

Conservatives should not hate the working class, because they’re the working class.

But, why do they hate the working class?

Because America propaganda and indoctrination are the best in the world.

Here’s how it works.

Mohawk Valley formula

The Mohawk Valley formula is a plan for strikebreaking purportedly written by the president of the Remington Rand company James Rand, Jr. around the time of the Remington Rand strike at Ilion, New York in 1936/37.

The plan includes discrediting union leaders, frightening the public with the threat of violence, using local police and vigilantes to intimidate strikers, forming associations of "loyal employees" to influence public debate, fortifying workplaces, employing large numbers of replacement workers, and threatening to close the plant if work is not resumed.



Chuck Walla's picture

Conservatives run New York? Really? Brazil has some good drugs I see.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

"What you do at Initech is take the specifications from the customers and you bring 'em down to the software engineers"

hawaiian waverider's picture

Well, I don't actually bring them myself my secretary actually walks them there

Offthebeach's picture

Government owned and Capitalism?

Yeah.  Right.

nmewn's picture

Don't confuse one of our resident communists with the

Boris Badenov's picture

Just for information, Google HAROLD INTERLOCKING and watch a few videos. 

Its what they call the Switching Control Network next to the Sunnyside yard. Its Mechanical and Analog.

This thing was built over 100 years ago, and HOW it works is unbelievable! How it still works today is unbelievable.



They don't know how to upgrade this thing, it's a work of art, math, electronics and skill to the Nth degree.

Boris Badenov's picture

Check out this video about the Harold Interlocking....

Refuse-Resist's picture

Affirmative Action has consequences. Your post brilliantly illustrates one of them.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Oh gosh! 

It’s the type of money (capital as in capitalism), stupid.

Who cares if the mechanic works for an A,B,C private or government structure.

All are working for private 'capitalist' money, got it?

How are you going to change that?



hongdo's picture

Fine, government run "businesses"  that syphon off fee generated capital to non-productive uses go bankrupt.  But if that is "capitalism", then don't go embezzeling tax receipts to keep it solvent.  I think we can agree that that government tax receipts are not "private 'capitalist' money".

And I think in a pigs eye, the MTA will not be recapitalized with public funds just like Amtrack.

Doug's picture

Well ... for starters, in a free market system, you'd see the $300K managers taking a 50% pay cut immediately.  At least those that weren't immediately terminated for being complete boobs.

Robert Trip's picture

Can't argue with that.

Many times the management of companies and other various enterprises drive their companies into the ground through bad business decisions, graft and greed and walk away into the sunset with a briefcase full of dough and a big golden parachute as the business they were responsible for crashes and burns and their employees are tossed out onto the streets.

It's common also to have the management stay on the sinking ship at an even higher rate of pay to attempt to "save" the enterprise that they were responsible for screwing up.

I need a beer.

Doug's picture

No argument from me.  Make mine a tall frosty Blue Point Lager, please.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Doug; Well ... for starters, in a free market system, you'd see the $300K managers taking a 50% pay cut immediately. 

Great. It is always easy to screw with the small guy.

But, that still leaves $5 billion in interest rate.

Now tell us how you cut that.


Doug's picture

It's not easy to screw with anyone who's protected by a public union. In the free market your salary is based on competition.  The MTA has no competition.

In a (properly functioning) free market system, bankrupt systems go bankrupt.  They don't keep digging their hands deeper into public pockets with the blessings of politicians seeking votes.  However, of course, our free market systems have been corrupted in the aftermath of the financial crisis, so now clever companies that should have died years ago are still going, courtesy of stock buybacks and refinancings, etc., so there's plenty of fodder for your counter-argument.  

Escrava Isaura's picture


First, the US never had a ‘real’ free market, EVER. US growth of the 50’s and 60’s were by debt and having the dollar global hegemony ‘financial strangulation’ over other currencies.  

Back in the second half of the 18th hundredths Britain thought that they could compete globally so they opened their markets. Huge mistake. It became so bad that British had to close India from foreigners.

Second, if we ‘the world’ had lived in a free market ‘delusion’ Egypt would had become the super-power of the 18th hundredths, because of cotton production and their ‘silk road’ location. The Egyptians were so good in the cotton business, that the US, even with free labor ‘slaves’ could not compete with them. The British crushed the Egyptians.

If we have lived in a free market ‘delusion’ Saudi Arabia would had be the economic power of the 20th century, because Saudi Arabia had the most oil ‘energy’ in the world while having less than 2% of the world population. US did not let it happen.

Third, back to what you were told by propaganda/indoctrination system: Free market is the answer.

Really? So, here’s free market for you. Good luck.

The average Chinese worker on the private sector makes 28,752 yuan (about $4,755) a year. Chinese minimum wage is 2,300 yuan ($333) a month.

Then, US imports over 9 million barrels of oil every single day. And over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. How will you, conservatives, keep this exorbitant privilege by becoming protectionist and nationalist?

Get this over your heads conservatives: You haven’t realized that the ‘free market’ America that you want, it’s a third world nation America.

But, third world nation was not what the founding fathers envisioned America to be.

The founding fathers wanted America to be an Empire.

And that’s what America is.



Doug's picture

Dude, you have MTA union morons making $300K per year, squeezing out the lower paid talent beneath them.  I think that was the topic we began with.  You want to extol the virtues of this?  Don't bother.  Let's move on.

Boris Badenov's picture

This RailRoad Rocks. How the NYT can smear it's daily accomplishments is, well, it is the shitty New York Times after all. WTF happened to them? TIMES SQUARE is named after them. They are as old as the subways they criticize, imagine if the subway could talk back? 

Increased ridership by 80% without increasing miles? That's a major win!

This railroad is working. ELECTRIC. 


hawaiian waverider's picture

You don't "cut that" genious.  That is the the gov't spending your taxpayer money and commiting the MTA to spend your money.  Also, that isn't capitalism their sport, that is the gov't.  Ya know, the thing you socialists think can fix all the "problems" capitalism creates lol.  

vofreason's picture

How the hell do these salaries get approved anyway?  Maybe everone isn't worthless although most don't do a whole lot but government jobs aren't supposed to be high paying because they are "public service" so how do they get approved?  Is it the result of steady pay increases and they don't want to do away with that system?  If they're not runnning NASA or the actual designer of something that can't have errors for safety's sake like a bridge or overpass or building etc. then I don't think there's any government job that should pay over $150,000/yr.  Nevermind educational administrators and police chiefs and firefighters making their obscene salaries.

I really wish someone had told me as a kid "forget starting a business kid, if you wanna be rich become a bus driver or firefighter and play some cards hanging out w the boys and fight the occasional fire and when you're 40 you can retire to Costa Rica with millions"

Omni Consumer Product's picture

Oh gosh!

Since money is a government monopoly, how can it be "private"?

Guess what happens if you try to pay your income taxes with some money that doesn't have "FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE" attached to it?

Every single time I think that you've gotten to be as stupid as possible, you prove me wrong.

You're like a perpetual motion Keynesian Klown Kollege, come to life.

MoreFreedom's picture

With your thinking, criminal theft is capitalism, because there's money involved. I have to agree, given your definition of capitalsm, it's bound to eventually fail as eventually there will be nothing left to steal with everyone stealing from each other and no one producing anything.  Eventuallly they'll find that fiat currency useful as toilet paper or fuel for fire, and when that's gone, no more capitalism. 


kochevnik's picture

MTA is state socialist monopoly, not capitalist

Gatto's picture

There is NOTHING 'Capitalist' about a government ran and operated train system!  It's actually the opposite, this is what happens to socialist systems!

Eyes Opened's picture

Dude.... you are gettin as annoying as Britbob...

Keeping with the storyline... u are a one-trick pony....

Cloud9.5's picture

This is the problem with Communism.  You have a government entity run by bureaucrats who won their positions by political infighting, misrepresentation and self-aggrandizement.  The system is run by people who are adept as self-promotion but have little or no understanding of the infrastructure they are tasked with running.  That is why the top management enjoys all the perks and the operational staff is impoverished.

Justin Case's picture

Capitalism is the only system that works well. Ask any CEO, CFO, managers, bankers. Pay no attention to any average Joe six pack, he's just a whinner loser without a job.

Wait until all the unions are gone, gonna be heaven for some, hell and poverty for the many. Minimum wages will spead like a wildfire in California and every career will be just a li'l bit moar money. After all the needy will need a job at any rate when they run out of parents assets to sell. The pension that will be deducted from their pay won't be there when they retire. HAHAHAHA isn't it getting interesting in the dying empire?

VWAndy's picture

Yes stupid pays well.

Bigly's picture

Where can I apply?



VWAndy's picture

 Elections for the congress are held every four years.

Justin Case's picture

Where can I apply?

Yoar over qualified.

Xena fobe's picture

You just ask your relative who already works there to get you in. If no relative, 5 or 10k in the right hands ought to do it. 

Robert Trip's picture

By far, the biggest problem plaguing the New York Subways are that they are, unfortunately in New York.

Donald J. Trump's picture

They're also paying $573 million for a payment system so they can accept credit cards.  I'm sure the worst is yet to come for me, living 400 miles away in western NY  and never been to NYC, I'll most likely have to contribute my fair share.

cossack55's picture

At least you have the NY state LEOs outside your door making sure you don't go near THE CITY's reservoirs