In Ranking Subways, the #7 Is Number One

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 10:30 AM

subway, silver cup A 7 train in Queens (Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin/flickr)

The Straphangers Campaign has crowned a new subway line, and the #7 is now king.

Its new State of the Subways survey ranked the #7 highest for arriving regularly, having relatively clean cars, a good chance of getting a seat, and understandable announcements.

At the other end of the spectrum is the #2 train, which had longer-than-average waits between trains and more frequent breakdowns. And did we mention crowding?

#2 train (Boyd Hagen/Flickr)

 "Disparities abound and have come to define our city's subways," said Gene Russianoff, the staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign.

(Surprisingly, the C was not the worst-ranked subway line. "It's usually in permanent possession of the cellar," said Russianoff, "but it loosened up for a moment and the #2 scooted by.")

The C train (Kate Hinds)

But even the #7 has its issues. "It's not a lucky line to be on on the weekends," Russianoff said, "with all the communications-based train control repairs the MTA has been doing. And it can be a very crowded line." But, he said, it benefits from not having to share. "For lines like the L and the 7, that own their right of way, they don't have to inherit the curse of what's going on with the other lines, like the 4 and the 5 do, or the 2 and the 3."

But as with all things experiential, your mileage may vary. "One thing I really come to like about the report is because it's New York, people agree and disagree." Russianoff said. "And we're just giving them the ammunition to back up their stereotyping of the lines with real facts. So I enjoy going to a party and someone saying to me 'they just did that report on the subways, and I can't believe they said the 7 was a good line. They're out of their minds!'"

To read the full report, go here.


Comments [4]

TK Hunter from Manhattan

Are we only talking about frequency and cleanliness? How about wide disparities in station maintenance along a given line? The "C" train off-loads passengers if you're in Manhattan on the west side in the 70s and 80s, even up to 110th street Cathedral Parkway, onto relatively clean stations. But heaven help you past that. Similarly, the "1" train stations stop being bright and attractive after 116th St./Columbia University. Finally, how long has it taken the MTA to begin ANY work on the collapsed ceiling at the 181st street station on the "1" train? Try at least five years... By contrast, the "A" train station at 181st street -- the one I use -- a couple of blocks away in the more "desirable" area of Washington Heights -- is maintained far better...

Jul. 31 2014 04:44 PM
M. Michel from Jackson Heights, Queens

The No. 7 won't stay on top for long -- and that's a double meaning. With the MTA's total neglect of preventive maintenance on the rusting structure that supports the No. 7 aboveground in Queens, in favor of a multi-billion-dollar one-station extension in Manhattan, eventually it'll either fall down in a spectacular disaster or have to be shut down, when the structure becomes too rotted to support trains. I am so tired of the tens of billions spent to make shuffling around Manhattan easier for Manhattan residents and suburban riders while the vast majority of NYC residents and riders are treated like they don't exist.

Jul. 31 2014 10:30 AM
William Zucker from Brooklyn

This is the case every year. The cars that service the C Line are approaching all of 50 years old, should never have been around this long, and actually have run longer than many pre-war cars. But every summer, due to their poor A/C systems, they are swapped with newer cars on other parts of the system, in this case the J. So we must expect that the J has
somewhat tumbled in its reliability figures.

The C shares trackage with the B from 135th St. to 59th St., with the E from 42nd St. to Canal St., and with the A from Chambers St. to Hoyt St.
Would Joe from Harlem (comment posted above) inform me where the C shares
with 3 other trains in any given stretch?

Jul. 31 2014 10:27 AM
Jon from Harlem

The C train has reached Emeritus status when it comes to being the worst train in the system. It comes every 9 minutes DURING RUSH HOUR. There's no comparison. Until it stops being the bastard of the system and sharing track with 3 other trains, the C will always be garbage. All the other lines are vying for second worst.

Jul. 31 2014 07:42 AM

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