All but 1 morning rush on NYC subway delayed in August: Riders Alliance
Of 23 morning rush hours on the NYC subway in August, only one day was free of signal or mechanical issues, the advocacy group found.
The weekday morning rush can be grueling on the NYC subway as you’re well aware, but a new Riders Alliance analysis of last month’s service showed there was only one day without a signal delay.
Of the 23 morning rush hours on the NYC subway in August, the only day free of signal issues was Thursday, Aug. 23. The advocacy group used MTA delay alerts issued between 6-10 a.m. each weekday morning to compile its data. Each NYC subway line — except for the L train — was beleaguered by signal and/or mechanical issues during one or more of last month’s morning rush hours. The L was spared because the MTA has finished upgrading signals on the train line, Riders Alliance said.
"When the entire month of August has only one morning rush without signal delays, that's a blinking red light that it's past time to modernize our subway system,” said John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance. “Every one of those signal malfunctions throws thousands of people's daily lives into chaos. In a functional transit system, that would be a rare event that merits an apology. In 2018 New York, it has become routine.”
To that end, Riders Alliance again urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who controls the MTA and who last summer declared a state of emergency for the aged NYC subway system, to fund the agency’s Fast Forward Plan.
The initiative would upgrade signals system-wide, as well as revamp and replace thousands of train cars that often have mechanical issues.
The group has also endorsed congestion pricing, which would fund NYC subway fixes by charging cars and trucks entering Manhattan’s central business district south of 60th Street.
“It's time for Gov. Cuomo and members of the state legislature to pass congestion pricing and fund the MTA's Fast Forward plan so we can rebuild the transit system and end the pain for millions of New Yorkers who rely on it every day,” Raskin said.
According to the Riders Alliance analysis, the D and R were tied as the most delayed NYC subway lines during morning rush hour last month. Both experienced delays on 16 of the month’s 23 workday commutes, with signals being the culprit 11 times and mechanical issues five times.
The N train ranked third with eight signal delays and seven mechanical delays, data showed.
While Aug. 23 was the only day MTA data showed no NYC subway lines had signal or mechanical problems between 6-10 a.m., four subway lines did experience other delays, Riders Alliance said.
B and Q trains were delayed due to a train’s emergency brake being triggered, while 4 and 5 trains were delayed because of a sick passenger that needed medical assistance.
"We've gotten to the point where it's far more common for riders to experience subway delays each day than to not,” said Jaqi Cohen of NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign. “It's been well over a year since the MTA released its Subway Action Plan. What riders need is assurance that subway service is getting better, not worse."
In a statement, MTA Communications Director Jon Weinstein said:
"The system has stabilized over the last year thanks to intensive investment and maintenance associated with the Subway Action Plan, which is exactly what it was designed to do. We’ve also launched a new initiative to eliminate 10,000 subway delays a month, which is already paying dividends. The complete modernization of New York City Transit, in particular the upgrading of our signal system, is essential to providing safe and reliable subway service, which is why a predictable, sustainable source of funding is vital to making the full Fast Forward plan a reality.
“The methodology of this ‘report’ provides no context whatsoever," he continued. "This oversimplification ignores the incredible progress we’ve made under the Subway Action Plan that stopped a steep decline in service and resulted in a series vital improvements. This appears to be more of a stunt than an actual serious look at service.”