‘Czar José’ Rules NYCT Weekend Service

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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José LaSalle, a 29 Year MTA New York City Transit veteran, has been appointed to a new position, “Weekend Service Czar,” officially, Acting Deputy Chief, Weekend Service Diversions and Coordination, responsible for “managing and improving the customer experience for weekend subway service” and “reviewing how weekend service changes are implemented and communicated to riders.”

LaSalle’s appointment was prompted by what the MTA notes as consistent strong weekend subway ridership, including a pandemic-era weekend record of 2.36 million riders on Saturday, Sept. 10, which constitutes 73.3% of pre-pandemic ridership. LaSalle, who started as a subway conductor in 1993, has extensive experience at the Department of Subways, including serving as a General Superintendent at the Rail Control Center. He also took a lead role during the L Project in 2019 and 2020, where he “coordinated an operationally complex service plan and extensive customer outreach,” the MTA said. 

LaSalle is also something of a local hero. He was among a group of NYC Transit workers recognized for their actions that saved a woman who fell onto subway tracks in June 2021. The woman was walking along tracks above 50th St., fell onto D line express track 30 feet below, and was injured. LaSalle was at his post in the Rail Control Center and ran, flashlight in hand, to a catwalk that was in between stations. He spotted her, and in order to alert the next oncoming train of an emergency, waved his flashlight into the tunnel. The subway operator was able to stop the train, and LaSalle and NYPD officers removed the woman safely from the tracks.

“Improving the experience of customers is the North Star that guides the work we do at New York City Transit,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey.“Better weekend service is something subway riders have asked for, and we are excited to welcome José to this new role at NYC Transit to directly oversee weekend service and bring a better experience to riders. As weekend service continues to rebound strongly, with a pandemic-era ridership record reached just this past Saturday, we look forward to better service and bringing even more customers back to transit.”

“I am proud to welcome José LaSalle to this critical, new role, where he will tackle the feedback of our customers head-on by improving weekend subway service,” said NYC Transit Senior Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow.“In his nearly three decades of experience, Jose has demonstrated an ability to solve problems and manage complex projects, and I have no doubt that his work will make the weekend subway journeys of millions of New Yorkers better.”

“I am excited and ready to ensure weekend service is the best it can be, said LaSalle. “Delivering efficient and on-time service and looking for ways to make improvements so that our customers experience a safe and reliable system are my top priorities. I am humbled and ready to get down to the business of serving our customers.”

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