Walder was eager to focus on modernization projects, but soon found he had inherited a dire financial situation, facing down a $1 billion budget gap, writes Grynbaum. With the MTA near collapse, Walder oversaw the most draconian service cuts in a generation, the third fare increase in three years, and the first layoffs in decades. Still, he has managed to implement some improvements, installing countdown clocks on subway platforms and equipping cross-town buses with GPS so riders can monitor progress.
Small improvements are laudable in the current economic climate but may not be enough to win the favor of the state's next governor, who will determine whether Walder stays on at the MTA, Grynbaum notes:
"Despite such impressive results on many of the system's most intractable problems, Mr. Walder's tenure remains, in the minds of many residents and politicians, underlined by its moment: one in which New Yorkers are being forced to pay more for less service."