NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – MTA commuters are suffering through another mass transit mess as several subway lines were suspended Friday evening.
The 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and Grand Central-42nd Street S were all affected in both directions for nearly 90 minutes, leaving thousands of subway riders stuck in dangerously hot stations and inside motionless train cars.
Transit Authority chairman Andy Byford said during an emergency press conference Friday night that the affected subway lines lost signals around 5:50 p.m. – meaning MTA officials lost the ability to see where all of those trains were in the tunnels.
Subway Chief Andy Byford explains what went wrong on the subways Friday night:
MTA officials reported that service was slowly beginning to come back online around 7:15 p.m. however, authorities say long delays should now be expected.
One rider tweeted video to CBS2 while being stuck in a 4-train for over 40 minutes near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Over 40 minutes sitting between canal St. And Brooklyn Bridge on the 4 train, in-between two trains in the station.
There are kids on the train, and people are starting to struggle to keep their cool #LetUsOut pic.twitter.com/bEcnTId8Yr
— Coby Messiah (@CobyMessiah) July 19, 2019
The problem crippled the agency’s A Division system – which controls the 1 through 6 train lines. Making matters even worse, Byford also announced that the MTA’s backup system did not work during the computer failure either.
1/2/3 and 4/5/6 service is getting back on schedule after we restored the connection between the signaling system and the Rail Control Center.
— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) July 20, 2019
MTA Communications Director Tim Minton added the following statement:
“The 1-2-3-4-5-6 lines and Times Square shuttle experienced a total stoppage at 5:50pm due to a failure in the computer system that powers our signals in the A Division. For safety reasons trains were required to maintain their positions at the time of the interruption, and some of those trains were in between stations when that occurred. We worked to progressively move trains into stations while, simultaneously, technicians were successfully able to reboot the servers. We believe that no trains lost power or AC during the outage.
Service began to be restored at 7:16pm. Service on all affected lines has resumed with substantial residual delays. Power for lighting and air conditioning remained on while service was disrupted.
Investigation of the root cause of this system failure is underway. Service on lettered lines (B division) was not impacted. Riders displaced from impacted subway lines were permitted to board buses during the interruption. We do not currently have indications that this was heat or power related, but investigations are underway.”
Local city leaders immediately began to criticize the MTA’s latest issue. Speaker Corey Johnson also took to Twitter, alerting the public to the service disruption and slamming the MTA for still charging riders for subway rides that weren’t coming.
MTA needs to do all it can to communicate this issue to riders. I’m hearing they are at some stations but more is needed. New Yorkers – please give your fellow straphangers a heads up! https://t.co/sf9NswpbxS
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) July 19, 2019
Mayor de Blasio is also blasting the MTA for the massive service outage during the sweltering heat, calling Friday’s suspensions “unacceptable.”
This kind of meltdown during a heat wave is UNACCEPTABLE. The MTA owes every single New Yorker an explanation for this. We've known about this dangerous weather for DAYS. There’s no excuse for why they aren't prepared.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 19, 2019
The mayor’s comments come just six days after the Manhattan blackout that left over 72,000 Con Edison customers in the dark. De Blasio – who was ironically away from his office in Iowa during Saturday’s blackout – added that the MTA has “no excuse” for not being prepared this weekend.
Stay with CBS New York for the latest on the MTA subway disruptions