The Subway is Packed. Now What?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Crowded subway car (Kate Hinds)

Subway ridership hasn't been this high since 1949. Gene Russianoff, staff attorney at NYPIRG Straphangers campaign explains what has happened in the past 65 years, and what higher ridership means for service, repairs, and those crowded subway cars.


Gene Russianoff

Comments [24]

Lee Gelber from Astoria

The "door guards" are more often than not the size of a pro football interior lineman and real double threat are door guards with backpacks that must be props for their audition for the title role in a new production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame. These inconsiderate passengers are related to the folks who will traverse the length of a bus to exit from the front.
Years ago there was a courtesy campaign with the slogan: "If they ride for free they sit on your knee"

Mar. 29 2014 10:34 PM

Lose the "if you see something say something" announcements and replace them with lessons in manners addressing the issues below. Also -- there should be a sign over EVERY seat that says: Please give this seat to the aged or disabled. Stand if you are young and healthy. This is not your workstation.

Strollers. When I was growing up 60 years ago and strollers were a reasonable size, the rule was "Fold them up and carry the child." Now the rule is "take up enough space for four people."
Doors. As late as the late 80s people only stood in the doors when the cars were jammed, and they still actually got out of the door to allow egress. Now if there are four people in a subway car, three will be blocking a door.
Bicycles. In the UK you're expected to have and use folding bikes if you take them on the tube. (Of course they still have upholstery on the tubes -- but that's another issue.)
Teenagers and young adults who seem to have entered the world without any parents to teach them manners. Although I must say, the only people who ever offer me a seat are male 20- or 30 somethings.

Mar. 29 2014 03:13 PM
Susan from East Harlem

If New Yorkers were as svelte as they were in 1949, we could pack pack in even more riders.

Mar. 29 2014 01:22 PM
rich from nyc

No bikes during peak times. Back packs removed and held. Unlimited use metro cards should cost more. No eating on train or drinking

Mar. 27 2014 07:15 AM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

I feel that the real problem is who will be paying to help improve transit, and I have a feeling that it won't come from those using it the most. I find it ironic to hear that ridership is up, but the MTA executives act as if they are broke. They really should be audited for keeping such secrets. I know I will get grilled for saying this, but I feel that a fare hike is necessary to help improve mass transit especially when this was done in so many other cities that the Staphangers Campaign constantly praises, so quit crying foul on this. As usual, they like to sock it to us motorists with both increasing toll as well as placing new ones when already 80% of the tolls that the MTA controls actually does go to keeping fares low, which is the reason why there are calls to remove tolls especially when most of them aren't being used on what they are on. FYI, for anyone who talks about how driving is heavily subsidized, I can easily say the same thing about mass transit, and the fares you pay now hardly even cover it hence the selective outrage I am hearing.

Mar. 26 2014 10:28 PM
Bronx from NYC

System needs expansion and shorter head-ways. Supplemental systems like Citi Bike, Ferries, and maybe roll out more SBS features to additional routes to make the buses worth it.

Mar. 26 2014 09:02 PM
Natalie A. Soleil from Manhattan

Get someone who doesn't stutter next time you need someone from the Straphanger's campaign. I got carsick at my desk from listening to that guest.

Mar. 26 2014 02:20 PM
Julia from LIC

I wish that there was a an Introduction to Subways as a course for students who commute on the subways. Clearly, they have never been taught to not block the doors, not take up two seats, GIVE UP YOUR SEAT THAT YOU DIDN'T PAY FOR! to elderly or pregnant women. The entire G Train is filled with Brooklyn Tech students taking every seat from Court Sq. to Fulton St. NEVER saw one move for a person in need.

I wouldn't mind the same lessons for those transplanted parents who are now getting onto the train at Clinton/Washington and Classon Ave. on the G line, having moved into expensive homes with a poor local school, dragging their kids onto the subway to Park Slope and taking seats away from older adults. 7-8 year olds can stand. They learn early to be entitled.

Mar. 26 2014 12:21 PM
Dolores Martinez from Manhattan

Education of passengers:
People should not stay at the door inside the car, but move to the center
People should move off the doors when waiting for the train. Door opening locations should be marked on the floor and left clear by people waiting.
Leave passenger get off the subway and then get in

Organization/ clear rules:
Make a line to get in the subway. Should be an order based on arrival to the station, not based on who pushes more. in other areas of the world (Tokyo) lines are marked on the floor and people follow them, and it works
Cars should have a dedicated area for mother with stroller and people with big packages/ bikes

Mar. 26 2014 12:09 PM
Tony from Canarsie

Subway pet peeve: people who when leaving a station walk up the stairs and stop in their tracks immediately upon reaching the top.

Mar. 26 2014 12:05 PM
Juliana Cope from Bedford Stuyvesant

I mostly ride my bike. When I do ride the subway I have often been astonished. Being shoved or crushed by other people or seeing people with children being pushed around. Isn't the MTA responsible if people panic and hurt one another due to overcrowding? I have contacted the MTA a number of times on this topic.

Mar. 26 2014 12:00 PM
Robert from NYC

And BTW, "Excuse me" would be nice.

Mar. 26 2014 11:59 AM
Rober from NYC

More jobs too with better signals, no?

Mar. 26 2014 11:58 AM
J Stoller

A profoundly hilarious meditation on subway commuting.
" The Tao of the C Train" by Kendra Eash

Mar. 26 2014 11:57 AM

No Dibs On Doors!

You can't claim the door as you do a seat. Get out of the way!YOu're holding up the whole train.
I deliberately step on your foot if stand in the doorway. That was me.
Get in, or get out. But you don't own the door.

Mar. 26 2014 11:52 AM
Ellen from williamsburg

This morning. Uptown F train @ delancey.. I squeeze on to a sardine-packed car, next to an impossibly tall man. Suddenly a woman gets up and pushed through, heading to the door, asking "Are we at Court Street?" in a heavy Russian accent. No, I told her, you are in Manhattan.. She groaned, embarrassed - "admit it, I said, you're having so much fun here you don't want to leave.' everyone laughed, we were all in too tight misery.

Mar. 26 2014 11:52 AM
Nancy from Brooklyn

Apropos of the Montague Tube work, is the MTA giving us any info on when the repairs may be completed? Can we look forward to getting the R service between Brooklyn and Manhattan on that 10 to 14 month schedule? Absence of R service has shown me how crowded the 4 and 5 lines are at any hour, any day.

Mar. 26 2014 11:51 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Unfortunately, to save money on mass transit, you have to have money. The discount comes if you have money for an unlimited pass; if you don't have, say, $112 for a monthly unlimited--the more you use it, the more you save--you have to pay each time you travel.

Mar. 26 2014 11:51 AM
Robert from NYC

Remember when you paid one fare on one bus and got transfers for more than one after that!?

Mar. 26 2014 11:51 AM
Francine from Lower East Side

Gene is great, but it may also be time for a new face on the head of straphanger's advocacy, getting settled in for too long anywhere may not lead to the greatest impact for the riders.

(Also, he did not even know how the MTA gets it's numbers on riders????!!!! And in this interview can hardly speak)

Mar. 26 2014 11:49 AM
Jay from Woodside, NY

One thought: In 1949, the subway system was in the midst of a pretty major expansion (along with destruction of the elevated lines in Manhattan and other places, as well as the end of trolleys). In 2014, there is really very minimal expansion in the works or planned.

Mar. 26 2014 11:47 AM
paul from harlem

For the second week the 1 train service stops north of 96th street at 10 pm.
The number and frequency of shuttle buses hasn't been close to what is needed. Last night crowds of people were standing in the middle of Broadway, in the cold. Last week people were waiting in the rain for twenty minutes. When the bus finally comes, it can't hold all the people.I finally took a taxi. It cost 12 dollars to go to 137th st. Someone seems to think that one bus is enough for a whole packed train. In the private sector such poor treatment of customers would result in someone being fired.

Mar. 26 2014 11:45 AM
Antonio from BaySide

A guest last week really changed my opinion in regards to the importance of newer infrastructure, think he/she said we could run more trains closer together....

How about double decker cars for the 'el' lines...
They could be used for traveling routes in the outer boroughs... i.e. From Vernon to main st.
On the '7' for instance...

Mar. 26 2014 10:16 AM
George from Astoria

I ride the trains on the half-hour marks only.
(7:30am or 8:30am or 9:30am etc. etc.)
They seem to be less crowded at those times.

Mar. 26 2014 10:07 AM

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