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Report: Signal, Mechanical Problems Cause Most Subway Alerts

2, 5 Train Lines Are 'Worst;' G Train 'Best'
A 2 Train at 96th Street - New York, NY - May 9, 2012 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

A 2 Train at 96th Street – New York, NY – May 9, 2012 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Signal and mechanical problems accounted for about two thirds of the subway alerts sent out in 2011 by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, according to a new report by a watchdog group.

The Straphangers Campaign said they analyzed 4,937 transit alerts sent by the MTA,  WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane On The Story

The Campaign divided the alerts into “uncontrollable” and “controllable” incidents.

Uncontrollable alerts were caused by things like police activity or sick passengers.

Controllable alerts are those issued because of other conditions, such as mechanical problems or the signal system. The Straphangers Campaign said there were 2,967 of them. Of those, 934 alerts were related to mechanical problems and 1,062 related to signals.

The signal system is about 75 years old.

“[The MTA] told me they tried not to touch them very much,” the Campaign’s Gene Russianoff told Murnane.

The MTA, for its part, has said publicly that replacement of old signals is a top priority.

Switches caused 408 alerts, rail conditions 291, track 254, power 15, and maintenance 3, according to the Campaign.

EXTRA: More Numbers From The Straphangers Campaign

The worst subway lines when it came to controllable alerts were the 2 and 5 train lines. They accounted for 8 percent of the alerts, each.

The best was the G train, which accounted for just 2 percent of the controllable alerts.

The most controllable alert conditions happened in Manhattan, while the least happened in the Bronx.

As for the subway alerts themselves, Russianoff said few riders have signed up. He pointed out they are helpful for those that can switch to another subway line.

If you want to sign up to the MTA’s subway alert system, click here.

Would you be willing to put up with significant subway disruption to update the signal system? What does this say to you about the subway’s infrastructure? Sound off in the comments section below.