NYC Subway Service is Either 'Deteriorating' — Or Not

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - 11:47 AM

City Hall subway station (Kate Hinds/WNYC)

Delays on the New York City subway are on the rise — which could be be a harbinger of deteriorating service.

That's according to the Straphangers Campaign, which analyzed years of MTA alerts. According to their report, the number of alerts of delay-generating incidents increased by 35% in two years — from 2,967 alerts in 2011 to 3,998 in 2013. (The group removed 2012 from the equation because Sandy greatly affected the delay numbers — to to mention the ongoing health of the subway system. It also removed so-called 'uncontrollable' incidents, like sick passengers.)

"There's a problem," said Gene Russianoff, the head of the Straphangers Campaign. "And it can't just all be attributed to Sandy. I think maintenance and overcrowding are factors."

Sitting atop the list is the F line, which had the most alerts sent to subscribers. The J/Z had the fewest.

"F train riders who complain about the quality of service have a real beef," Russianoff said.

(photo by Kate Hinds)

But the MTA disputed the premise of the report, saying service alerts aren't meant to be used as a performance metric.

The agency released a statement that said, in part: "Our wait assessment metric, which includes BOTH controllable and non-controllable incidents and measures the amount of time customers have had to wait for a train, provides a more comprehensive picture of service quality...Since 2011, the amount of time customers have had to wait for a train throughout the system has remained flat.”

To read the Straphangers report, go here.




Comments [6]


This message is for "Slated 4 u": All subway trains no matter what the route number or letter may be are now supposed to enter each subway station at the speed of 5 m.p.h. The main reason why this is being done now, is because of overcrowding at certain subway stations. I happened to have known some train operators (all now deceased) who, under the old Board of Transportation, operated their subway trains entering any subway station at roughly 5 m.p.h. The big bosses at 2 Broadway do not know what they are talking about when they wish all subway trains to race into each subway stop and try and stop on a dime. They are not out there in the field operating subway trains each day the same as all other train operators. Then, you also have the folks who expect a train or bus to hit the train or bus stop the moment they hit the subway or bus stop and refuse or, simply play with the doors when the train is trying to leave the train station. People then wonder why trains are always late.

May. 08 2014 03:19 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Sorry Mark, but I don't see myself as benefiting from this. As a matter of fact, this means that tolls and gas prices go even higher making it feel more like a punishment for having to live around where a car is the efficient way of getting around such as myself. Also, that comment you made is proof on how transit is so perversely funded, especially since us motorists give the bulk of it despite not using it a lot. That is the reason why there are calls to remove or stop hikes on tolls, because they are hardly going where they are supposed to go to, and the same goes with increasing the gas tax. Even if congestion pricing was pass, it would be seen as a punishment to motorists that are forced to live in isolated areas. I've always found it irony that riders want the best transit, but they don't want to pay the real costs, plus fare hikes are nothing compared to to toll hikes. If you really want to get more off the road from driving, then make transit more available for them rather than force them to pay such high taxes. Also, don't forget that the transit system is already crowded, and I don't see any solutions to helping that either, so getting more to use it in its current state due to avoiding such taxes will make it even worse. As for MNRR, like any other commuter rail line in the region, their schedules are sporadic, and this won't work if your work schedule isn't in line with it, not to mention it doesn't run late at night, so that's why some are better of driving instead. Try learning the causes to why some of us choose to drive rather than the effects.

May. 07 2014 03:48 PM

The F train was my train of choice but now I avoid it. In the early rush hour it's so crowded and often crawls into the station, slowly stops then eventually, the doors open. Then going home, as the train approaches downtown, the train slows down and at this point it is packed like a sardine can. I said "Enough!" Luckily I have other train options, now I use the A to the 4/5 or I'll do the 2/3 to the N/R.

In the last 13 years I've ridden the subway more then I ever did during my 32 years of living in NYC and I gotta say, the 2/3 are the most reliable.

May. 07 2014 09:31 AM
Mark Shapp from Lenox,MA

Mr. Barzilai: Remember what Willie Sutton said? Highway users DO benefit when gas taxes or other fees are directed to fund transit. Yes, ideally transit systems (and Amtrak) should cover say over 80% off their cost through farebox revenues.
But hey, ever see a profit&loss statement on either the TSP or I-87? And do you seriously think Megabus, BoltBus, could make money if they had to design, build, operate, and maintain their own rights of ways?

But you benefit when driving in the NY metro region. Think of what it would be like out on the region's roads if we shut down all the NY area transit systems. And don't you ride MNR from/to Pleasantville when you need or want to go to the big city?

May. 07 2014 08:11 AM
Adam from Brooklyn, NY

I would like to see this chart factored with train ridership.

The J/Z train has 300,000 riders a year while the 6 train has over 2,000,000 riders a year (made up numbers). we could see the reality of the incidents based on usage.

Just a thought

May. 06 2014 05:48 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Despite everything Russianoff is saying, he most likely still wants us motorists to foot the bill through some regressive tax, rather than the riders actually paying to help improve their own service, who are really using it more.

May. 06 2014 04:37 PM

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