Transit Check

A Chatter parable about the value of estimates, the setting of expectations, and the wisdom of saying a bit too much, too soon.

"It's major, major damage and it's going to take years to fix long term. It's going to have long-term, significant impacts on our riders."

— Metropolitan Transportation Authority president Lawrence G. Reuter, announcing January 24 that a control-room fire had shut down two of New York's central subway lines — which might not, he said, return to normal capacity for three to five years

"We were just this morning able to come to the determination that we could actually do this in six to nine months. We were actually able to find enough relays left over in our system that we could salvage out of other jobs we had to do this work. We could do it faster, but we'd have to shut the system down."

— Reuter, on January 25, announcing a new forecast for return to normal subway service

"We were able to do more of the work during this period of time to get this level of service back on the subway system. We've done things that have never been done before."

— Reuter, on February 1, with news that most service on the affected lines had been restored that morning, 9 days and 15 hours after the blaze

"You really can't make good estimates until you get in there and find out. If you learned anything, we'll just be more cautious."

— Reuter, on February 1, delivering a moral for all of us

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