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On-time not of the essence for MTA: Report

“They’ve convinced themselves they don’t need to worry about abysmal ‘on-time' performance,” a source said.
Running on time is not top of mind for the MTA, a new report says.
Timeliness of the MTA subway system is important to New Yorkers, but a new report indicates it may not be important to the agency. (Getty file photo)

To say the MTA is inundated with New Yorkers’ complaints of late is likely an understatement, and the reveal of a new internal report from the agency, which was obtained by the New York Daily News, may not help matters.

The city’s subway system is the largest in the world, and its users rely on it, many solely, to get them where they need to go in a fast, efficient manner, but on-time importance is not top of mind for the agency, according to the report.

The report was authored by an MTA senior director of performance analysis and two associate analysts who examined the system’s frequent train delays as well as the “seeming impossibility of improving the numbers,” the Daily News reported.

Despite the more-than-100-year-old system facing constant issues due to aged train cars, tracks and track equipment such as signals, the MTA is requesting that its staffers address the long wait times between trains by having them travel faster or slower, wait in stations or skip stops altogether, the report said.

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The trains, the report said, should be held to an “on-time performance” guideline, which means they have a window of arriving at their last stop no more than five minutes late.

The agency is “not that worried about service,” a source with knowledge of the internal study told the Daily News. “They just think that it’s not really that bad. They’ve convinced themselves they don’t need to worry about abysmal ‘on-time’ performance.” 

In fact, the report indicated that there is a “high level of interest” among agency brass to dissolve the “on-time performance” standard from their monthly public reports.

MTA interim Director Ronnie Hakim told the Daily News that she did not read the internal report and was “not going to give credibility to a report that is not a formal NYC Transit position statement.”

Last week, the MTA released a six-point plan to improve its system issues and get back in the good graces of its millions of users.

“We know riders are frustrated — we are too — which is why we are embracing this new plan,” Hakim said when the initiative was announced. “Increasing delays are simply unacceptable, which is why we have to commit to addressing the immediate problems with all the tools at our disposal.”

Leadership reorganization, the addition of new trains, improving signals, increasing EMT and police presence in certain stations and more were among the plan’s bullet points. 

The MTA did not respond to a request for comment from Metro regarding the internal report. 

 
 
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