New Subway Management Structure Unlikely to Make a Difference

Here’s an excerpt from a very interesting Op-Ed in the Times this morning that supports exactly that I believe:

To be effective and held accountable, managers of decentralized units require autonomy and authority, neither of which is possible within the city’s subway system. These managers will have to operate under the same civil service titles and regulations and the same constricting union agreements, use the standard subway cars and in almost all cases share the tracks. They will have little leeway to run more frequently or more regularly, or to operate longer trains.

There is no indication that the managers will be allowed to buy more subway cars or rebuild stations. Moreover, unless they control their own sections of the rail yards and their own car-maintenance and car-cleaning crews, they will have little influence over the condition of “their” subway cars. Only if the managers of the different lines exercise authority over these factors can one expect innovation, differentiation and competition; otherwise each manager could reasonably claim that he lacked control over crucial factors and could point a finger elsewhere.

While I too believe it is a step in the right direction, it is likely to not make a difference because very little power will be given to the line managers.  They will have to run their own lines within the same constraints the lines currently operate, so how will it change?

2 thoughts on “New Subway Management Structure Unlikely to Make a Difference

  1. I think there will be some advantage to being able to respond to line level issues, and deal with concerns more directly without having to worry about other lines. Sometimes, middle managers are advantageous to have.


  2. Agreed. Any kind of accountability is better than none. And over time they may indeed figure out way around some of those restrictions to effective ‘management.’ We can only hope!


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