NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Signal outages and a perfect storm of other glitches made thousands of subway commuters late for work Tuesday morning – with many starting off the day annoyed and exhausted.
The signal problem occurred at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street and caused major headaches. It impacted commuters between Manhattan and Queens on the E, F, N, Q, R, and W trains.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, people really can’t blame the Metropolitan Transportation Authority when someone throws a water jug on the tracks, or when police looking for someone with a gun shut down the Lexington Avenue line.
Those incidents also both happened on Tuesday.
But people can, and did, hold the agency responsible for signal problems that make the commute a disaster.
“Days like this morning drive me crazy,” said New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford.
If the subway meltdown makes Byford nuts, think about the thousands left high and dry.
“If you have to get to work at 10 o’clock and you give yourself 45 minutes to get to work and you get there late you’re frustrated,” one subway rider said. “No warning, issue after issue, day after day, it’s feels like the MTA just took the day off or the week off.”
CBS2’s Marc Liverman experienced the problem first hand. He captured video of a packed Manhattan-bound N train that traveled two stops in close to an hour.
Straphangers were packed like sardines, and platforms in Astoria, Queens were so full that a trip to the street could take 10 minutes.
There were also delays on the D because a water bottle was thrown onto the tracks, and delays on the No. 4, 5, and 6 lines because police were searching for someone with a gun. Altogether, it made for a “train-mageddon.”
Jennifer Tang’s commute horror story was bad enough to earn her the “Worst Commute of the Week” award from the Rider’s Alliance, an advocacy group for frustrated city subway riders.
She was the inaugural winner.
“I was stuck between stations, five minutes away from home for two hours,” she told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
What should have been a thirty minute ride home in January from Manhattan to Queens on the R line was even more hellish given that Tang had to use the restroom.
“I kept thinking I would get home in time and I was rushing to get home to my husband,” she said.
Tang’s bad experience doesn’t end with that one. She was also delayed this morning along with countless others.
“Horrendous experience,” Byford said.
But that was not the half of it. Buses lines at the Broadway station in Queens were indescribable.
Commuters took to Twitter to voice their frustrations as they dealt with the crowded subway cars and platforms as well as the long bus lines that wrapped around street corners. Many riders also walked a few miles just to get to the closest working stop.
Alex L. said he ended up to work 10 minutes late.
When asked what he would say to Alex L., Byford said: “I think probably my colleague was just trying to be helpful. At the end of the day, we all feel badly that we did not do our job this morning.”
Riders who had to walk a few miles to get to the closest working stop also wanted to know if weekend repairs that shut the N and W lines between Queens and Manhattan play a role.
“They shut down a lot of the Astoria bound subways to do construction, but then we have to deal with the ridiculous signal problems, so it’s really bad,” said Nick Colavita of Astoria.
Officials are investigating that, and what they know now is that four separate signals were blank. There were no green lights for “go” or red ones for “stop” – which brought the trains to a standstill.
For the latest service updates, visit the MTA website.