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New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority

"Popular" Names

What is the name of the agency that runs the New York City subway system? How about the subway-like railroad on the New York City borough of Staten Island?

They are, respectively, the New York City Transit Authority and the Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority.

Then why do I see these agencies referred to as "MTA New York City Transit" and "MTA Staten Island Railway"?

These names were developed by an image consulting firm as part of an ongoing effort to forge a more cohesive corporate identity for the MTA. Among other things, the MTA wanted to drop the word "Authority" from public materials, feeling that the word evokes images of bureaucracy.

The name New York City Transit is referred to by the MTA as a "popular" name. However, for legal purposes, such as the letting of contracts, the actual corporate names must be used.

The MTA, at its website, lists all the "popular" names of its agencies:

  • New York City Transit (NYCT)
  • Staten Island Railway (SIR)
  • Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)
  • Metro-North Railroad (MNR)
  • Bridges and Tunnels (B&T)

It then offers the following explanation, and lists the actual legal names [emphasis added]:

In 1993 the MTA board approved a new service identity program for the MTA family of agencies. It uses the above popular names to make clear to our customers that the various MTA affiliates and subsidiaries constitute an integrated regional transportation network. However, for all procurement documents and official transactions, the agencies retain their legal names: New York City Transit Authority, Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority, the Long Island Rail Road Company, Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.

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Last updated Friday, May 30, 2003