An HVAC unit on the roof of the MTA’s still-unopened “lemon” bus command center appears to have burnt to a crisp, The Post has learned.
Photos from Dec. 30 obtained by The Post show one of four 12-ton HVAC units for the command center’s empty “war-room” blackened by an apparent electrical fire.
Just one of the four units is currently operational — and sources said bus officials have been running it at full speed.
“They’re supposed to increase and decrease speed according to the temperature setting. What’s happening is these machines are running 100 percent,” said one transit workers who inspected the unit’s remains. “They just keep ramping up the machine because they know they cannot meet the temperature. It says 65 degrees but inside it’s 75, 79 degrees.”
The bus command center represents a longstanding headache for MTA leaders.
Officials cut a ribbon on the $86 million building in 2019, but its state-of-the-art NASA-like dispatching “theater” remains empty and unused, The Post reported in October. Photos showed the structure beset by issues such as leaks, faulty heating, cracked windows and bug-infested bathrooms.
In response, transit leaders insisted the structural issues were minor and blamed the delayed opening on the MTA’s contractor for a new bus radio system. Officials said they the radio system should be finished for workers to move into the facility this year.
“We have been warning them for two years that the machines weren’t working properly,” said one buses worker. “A couple of years ago, we found that that particular [HVAC] unit had a leak.”
Quipped another source: “One big lemon.”
An MTA rep declined to answer questions about the state of the nearly-empty building.
“The future Bus Command Center, including the new digital bus radio system, continues to be in construction and this work has no impact on bus service for our customers,” spokesman Aaron Donovan said in a statement.