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Critics: Mountain of MTA boots a waste

These boots weren’t made for a lot of walking.

NYC Transit recently spent more than $10,000 on high-tech work boots, vests, safety glasses and flashlights for office tech workers who typically spend their days messing around computer servers, not walking the tracks, leaving critics to question the MTA’s use of money as it faces a roughly $450 million budget gap in 2010.

The money was dished out as part of a January “wall-to-wall” tech assessment, where nearly 300 IT staff were sent scurrying around transit properties to take a read on its computers, agency spokesman Charles Seaton said. Of those, 170 were supplied with the safety equipment.

“Did all 170 people need to go to hazardous locations? I’ve walked through bus depots without protective gear on,” said William Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

Seaton argued that in fact, the techs were deployed to some areas that did require safety gear, Seaton said. “There are offices in subway yards and maintenance facilities,” he said.

The boots — rugged models that protect from electrical hazards and cost between $98 to $138 retail — haven’t been used on the job since, said a transit source knowledgable about the assessment.
“I am disgusted with the waste,” the source said.

Seaton declined to say how often the Hytest boots have been used.

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