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Straphangers Campaign Report: Subway Delay Alerts Jumped 35% In 2 Years

MTA Insists Riders Are Not Waiting Longer For Trains

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of alerts issued about MTA subway delays has jumped 35 percent in the past two years, according to a report released Tuesday by a watchdog group.

There were nearly 4,000 equipment problems last year that triggered the transit agency to warn riders through email and text messages, the Straphangers Campaign said.

Gene Russianoff, an attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, said “the increase in alerts is a troubling sign that subway service is deteriorating.”

“That’s got to worry about everybody because it’s a sign that there are problems,” Russianoff told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb. “There were a lot of mechanical problems, a lot of signaling problems, switches as well.”

An MTA spokesman, however, responded to the report saying its customers are not waiting longer for trains; the agency is just doing a better job of communicating about problems.

“We agree that the service alerts are a powerful tool that deliver meaningful information to customers,” the spokesman said. “We have increased staff and have become more efficient in providing service information in a more timely manner so customers are quickly aware of any incidents that may impact their commute. However, the cause of such incidents can quickly change upon further investigation which is why the alerts were never meant to serve as a performance metric.”

According to the report, the F train had the highest number of delays, with the No. 4 line coming in second.

The F was the same line where a train derailed Friday in Woodside, Queens, injuring 19 people. Investigators are looking into why part of the rail broke when the train was traveling over it.

The number of alerts about L-train delays skyrocketed by 91 percent from 2011 to 2013, the report said.

The J/Z train was delayed the least in 2013, according to the alerts.

The report did not weigh 2012 data because it said Superstorm Sandy created an “aberration.” It counted only delays of eight minutes or more that were deemed “controllable” — for example, police activity and rider illnesses were not weighed.

Line Controllable Significant Incidents Percent of Total
F 326 8%
4 298 7%
2 289 7%
N 268 7%
5 267 7%
D 264 7%
R 242 6%
Q 233 6%
6 227 6%
A 224 6%
E 198 5%
L 183 5%
7 165 4%
B 148 4%
3 147 4%
1 139 3%
M 123 3%
C 120 3%
G 84 2%
J/Z 53 1%
System Total 3,998

 

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