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Subway delays could cost NYC up to $398M every year: Study

A new report from the Comptroller's office details the economic impact of the subway's delays.
subway, nyc subway, subway delays
The A train is one of the worst offenders when it comes to delays and alone costs the city between $11.1 million to $28.5 million annually. Photo: Wikimedia

New York City’s notorious subway delays have surely costs you some of your time, and since time is money, they’re costing the city as well — to the tune of nearly $400 million.

Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released a new analysis on Monday looking at exactly how much those delayed trains cost the city in terms of lost business productivity and lost wages.

The economic cost of subway delays could be as high as $389 million annually, Stringer’s office found in what it called a “first-of-its-kind economic analysis.”

That staggering amount is the worst-case scenario, the study notes, but the low-end estimate is still distressing. Delays on the “worst offender” trains alone — the 5, A, 7, F and 4 — cost the city $140 million a year and five-minute delays on the entire subway system leads to the low-end estimate of $170 million a year.

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The analysis comes after the Comptroller's office surveyed straphangers about the human impact of subway delays, in which 74 percent of responders said train delays caused them to be late to a work meeting, 65 percent said they were late to pick up or drop off a child and 13 percent reported losing wages.

In order to look at the economic cost, the Comptroller’s office used data on ridership, delays and train wait times from the MTA as well as average hourly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“What these new numbers show is that the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action; that subway delays take a massive toll on our economy,” Comptroller Stringer said in a statement. “With the ‘Summer of Hell’ fading into what could be a ‘Fall of Frustration,’ every level of government needs to step up. Our subway system is the backbone of our economy. That means with every delay, there aren’t just lives affected – there’s an economic consequence.”

 
 
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