A simple repair inside the Buhre Avenue IRT train station has become a nuisance for train riders.
About a month ago, life-long Pelham Bay resident Joanne Murphy noticed that the staircase to reach the Burhe Avenue platform for the Manhattan-bound #6 train had been inaccessible for a long time.
After contacting Councilman Jimmy Vacca, chairperson of the City Council Transportation Committee, she learned that the Metropolitan Transit Authority closed the entire staircase down to repair one broken step.
As of Tuesday, July 5, over two months after work began on the stair, the staircase is still closed off. According to the MTA, while attempting to fix the broken step, workers discovered that additional ironwork must be done on the stairs, and while performing the ironwork, workers discovered an old and unused transformer box, had to be removed.
An MTA spokesperson said repairs on the staircase can not continue until the box is removed, which must be done by the MTA Department of System Safety. Vacca said he has not seen any work being done on the stairs and is becoming impatient.
“This has been going on for weeks and when I see no work taking place, that automatically means the job is going to take much longer then expected,” Vacca said. “This was a simple procedure. I understand the step needed to be fixed, and I understand further work has to be done, but there is no work taking place and it is taking way too long.”
The MTA said that they were unaware that the transformer box, which used to house electrical equipment, was located under the step. On Tuesday, June 21, the MTA told Vacca that their Department of System Safety would be removing the transformer and that work would be finished on the staircase soon.
However, Murphy, who has been riding the #6 train everyday for the last 39 years, says the staircase does not look like it will be opened anytime soon.
“It’s just been too long, I first noticed this almost two months ago,” Murphy said. “I know that there is another staircase to get to the platform, but you have to walk all the way around to get on a downtown train. It becomes a nuisance for people who use this station everyday.”
The MTA has yet to confirm a work-completion date, and Vacca is demanding answers. The MTA should have provided details on the staircase repair to the public, Vacca said.
“Nothing is ever simple with the MTA,” Vacca said. “Work needs to be completed and it needs to be completed soon. If the MTA knows that repairs are going to take this long, I believe they need to post a sign that says when work will begin and when it will be finished.”