Straphangers Sound Off On Comptroller’s Subway Report

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Straphangers are speaking out about a new report that says a majority of subway stations in New York City are in disrepair.

The report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said only 51 of the city’s 468 stations were found to be free of defects in a recent survey and only one in four had most or all of their components in good condition.

More than 25 percent of all structural components had some kind of defect and repairs were required at 94 stations, the office said. Stations in Brooklyn and Queens ranked the worst among structural defects.

“New York City Transit reports it is making progress on repairing stations but the pace is too slow and much more work needs to be done,” DiNapoli said in the release. “Worn or damaged stairs and platform edges pose risks for riders, while broken tiles, lights and peeling paint leave riders with a low opinion of the transit system.”

Commuters say they know all too well about conditions in the subway.

“I’m scared to get on the train sometimes where the platform is because they’re too far or it’s wood so it’s hard,” Brooklyn resident Debra Sanders told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang. “I’m scared I’m going to fall.”

“I see tattered, peeling paint, dirt, filth and mildew,” another straphanger said.

At 167th and Grand Concourse in the Bronx, CBS s found peeling paint, crumbling concrete, water damage and signs warning of a rat problem.

“I don’t think they do a bad job. They can do better,” said Queens resident Rosanne Ramos.

The comptroller’s office used data from the New York City Transit subdivision of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on structural and architectural elements in the stations. Structural elements include stairs, columns and platform edges, while architectural elements include tile, paint and lighting.

“The subway is perfectly safe, but if riders think it’s decrepit, they’re right,” John Raskin with the Rider’s Alliance told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

The survey rated the components on a scale of 1 to 5, with the number rising for worse conditions. The survey did not account for hygiene, maintenance or the condition of elevators and escalators.

Gene Russianoff with the Straphangers Campaign said keeping the subway in a state of good repair is a challenge, but said “that is what I think the riding public has the right to expect.”

The MTA said the report doesn’t tell the whole story and said the agency is making system-wide improvements rather than revamping individual stations.

CBS 2 reports they even saw crews at 14th Street and 8Th Avenue fixing tiles.

“All 468 stations in the MTA New York City Transit subway system are safe for our 5.8 million daily customers and the MTA has spent billions of dollars to improve the appearance and structural conditions at stations as well,” the MTA said in a statement. “This report does not reflect the improvements being made under the MTA’s component approach, which focuses on improving deteriorated components systemwide rather than rehabilitating entire stations.”

Last week, the MTA board approved a $32 billion capital program they say will significantly improve stations.

To see the full report, click here.

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