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TheSubwayStation

What causes subway delays and bunching?

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I mean I just don't see the point in saying that there's train traffic ahead when that may not really be the case and then having people sitting there thinking that the train will be leaving soon when they could get off and consider other arrangements, especially if the train is being held in the station. If you're going to delay people, fine, but giving them false hopes of moving soon just pisses people off more.

 

But what do you think actually is making the train delayed? That's what I don't understand. What kinds of scenarios are you referring to, where the conductor should say, "We're going to be delayed for a long time, you may want get off the train"? Often, the conductor may not know how long the delay will be. Edited by TheSubwayStation

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But what do you think actually is making the train delayed? That's what I don't understand. What kinds of scenarios are you referring to, where the conductor should say, "We're going to be delayed for a long time, you may want get off the train"? Often, the conductor may not know how long the delay will be.

 

 

I'm just saying that that announcement should only be used when it is actually true and not abused so to speak. If INDMan is going to make a statement like the sarcastic one that he made, then it is clear that they sometimes use that announcement when it isn't true. We don't need all of the bloody details. Just enough so that we know that we're safe (if possible) and if we can get out and use alternatives. There was an instance at Bowling Green I believe either this year or last year where the countdown clocks were going crazy, going from just a few minutes to as much as 15 - 20 minutes and we couldn't get any sort of straight answer. The platform was packed and folks stayed because they were under the impression that a train was coming. Eventually this went on for a good 20 minutes and so many of us including myself just left. You can't tell me that the public doesn't deserve to be better informed than that to the point that they don't even know what is going on. Total chaos... To have folks wait like that could've been avoided by simply making an announcement that the trains are messed up and that you should consider other arrangements, rather than having us wait there like morons for 20 minutes leading us on to think that trains were coming. I'm sure other folks waited much longer than that.

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But what is the reason for the delay? I mean, they have no motivation to delay the train just for the heck of it...They're not trying to make your trip miserable :lol:. Maybe a conductor or T/O on here can explain.

 

Yeah, we want to spend as less time on the train lol trust me
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I'm just saying that that announcement should only be used when it is actually true and not abused so to speak. If INDMan is going to make a statement like the sarcastic one that he made, then it is clear that they sometimes use that announcement when it isn't true. We don't need all of the bloody details. Just enough so that we know that we're safe (if possible) and if we can get out and use alternatives.

 

I agree with you that it would be better if the announcements would tell you how severe the delays are, but I don't see the point of saying, "The public deserves to know why our trains are delayed!" Regardless of what INDman said, I'm still having trouble seeing why there would be a train delay that doesn't fall under the category of "train traffic ahead" or "held by the dispatcher". If there was a safety issue, then the conductor can make a special manual announcement for that.

 

The platform was packed and folks stayed because they were under the impression that a train was coming. Eventually this went on for a good 20 minutes and so many of us including myself just left. You can't tell me that the public doesn't deserve to be better informed than that to the point that they don't even know what is going on. Total chaos... To have folks wait like that could've been avoided by simply making an announcement that the trains are messed up and that you should consider other arrangements, rather than having us wait there like morons for 20 minutes leading us on to think that trains were coming. I'm sure other folks waited much longer than that.

 

What should the announcement say? I don't see the point of an announcement that just says, "the trains are messed up right now", because it seems like it was pretty obvious that it was the case. That's what the countdown clocks are for; when it says 20 minutes, I think you have most of the information that you need. What more can the dispatcher say over the intercom?

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And why would we do that when all we'll get is another canned response?

 

I mean I just don't see the point in saying that there's train traffic ahead when that may not really be the case and then having people sitting there thinking that the train will be leaving soon when they could get off and consider other arrangements, especially if the train is being held in the station. If you're going to delay people, fine, but giving them false hopes of moving soon just pisses people off more. It's similar to those dumb announcements about folks being patient. They were wise to change them. In sum, it's all about better communication and better relations with the riding public. People are understanding and things happen. How you go about dealing with those things is what matters.

 

 

I get that people should be informed of incidents ahead and I'm not disputing that. The problem is that, like INDman said up-thread, a good chunk of the time, the train crew is just as in the dark as the passengers. Unless dispatch tells the crews that whatever incident has occurred will take a long period of time to fix, said crews won't have a clue when their train will be moving again. The train crews are not clairvoyant. Yes, it's annoying that the canned "delayed by train traffic" or "delayed by the dispatcher" announcements are sometimes played more often than not and that some conductors like to hide behind said recordings, I'd rather them not come over the PA system and reiterate those canned announcements because they don't know what's going on or when the problem is going to be fixed.

 

Also, if the train is stuck at a station with the doors open, especially at an IRT station or any of the B-Div stations with in-station announcements/displays, that information should be announced and displayed in a timely fashion so passengers can plan an alternate way of getting around rather than being stuck on a train that moves just enough to be beyond the point of opening the doors again.

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I get that people should be informed of incidents ahead and I'm not disputing that. The problem is that, like INDman said up-thread, a good chunk of the time, the train crew is just as in the dark as the passengers. Unless dispatch tells the crews that whatever incident has occurred will take a long period of time to fix, said crews won't have a clue when their train will be moving again. The train crews are not clairvoyant. Yes, it's annoying that the canned "delayed by train traffic" or "delayed by the dispatcher" announcements are sometimes played more often than not and that some conductors like to hide behind said recordings, I'd rather them not come over the PA system and reiterate those canned announcements because they don't know what's going on or when the problem is going to be fixed.

 

This is exactly the point I was trying to make. Perhaps they should differentiate between minor and severe delays if possible, but it's not like they're trying to hide information from passengers.

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For the record, the official policy is to make an announcement immediately if the train is being held (this can be a recorded announcement, although the only time I ever use those is when I have holding lights/instructions or see/hear another train in front of us), and then make a MANUAL announcement 2 minutes and then every 5 minutes with whatever information you have. NO train is going to be left sitting in the dark for more than 2 minutes without some sort of communication with the RCC about what is going on.

 

Also, if you get no announcement at all, chances are the crew is busy trying to fix the problem, and isn't at the operating position. The other night there was a robbery on the train I was coming home on. We sat at Roosevelt Island with the doors closed for at least 5 minutes, while the C/R and T/O were tending to the victim and the police (who made an arrest). Fortunately I turned my radio on so I knew what was happening on the train, and was able to inform the passengers walking through the train trying to find an open door.

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For the record, the official policy is to make an announcement immediately if the train is being held (this can be a recorded announcement, although the only time I ever use those is when I have holding lights/instructions or see/hear another train in front of us), and then make a MANUAL announcement 2 minutes and then every 5 minutes with whatever information you have. NO train is going to be left sitting in the dark for more than 2 minutes without some sort of communication with the RCC about what is going on.

 

Yeah, I'm remembering a time when I was on an (A) train that was held in the station, and the conductor came on and said that we were delayed because of a police investigation at Jay St. In this situation, the "held by the dispatcher" or "train traffic ahead" announcements wouldn't be wrong, but they of course wouldn't be telling the whole story.

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It's very common for trains to get pushes. One example is Woodlawn - they won't hold a train to time if the crew is on board, it's a full house, and there's another revenue train waiting to get in. So the 1203 might go out at 1200. However, 161 is one of those auto-hold stations, so if that 4 shows up 3 minutes early, it will sit there until the EXACT time it is scheduled to leave the station, and only then will the holding lights go out (so really, EVERY train is late after getting the ATS effect, since you still need to time to close down). While on paper, this train is now on time, there is now a 3 minute bigger gap between that train and the leader, which is 3 more minutes for the platforms to build up, leading to longer load times.

During the middays, there seems to be a padding in the schedule coming out of Burnside northbound (which is part of the reason the countdown clocks north of there jump from 8min to 3min but thats not the point.) So while those trains were on time at 176th, theyre now 5 minutes early at 183rd, but the difference is those trains coming up already passed the "hold" station so those trains coming up would have to wait between Mosholu Pkwy and Woodlawn for that southbound push to come out; so it's apparently a two-way street at least part of the time here.

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And why would we do that when all we'll get is another canned response?

 

I mean I just don't see the point in saying that there's train traffic ahead when that may not really be the case and then having people sitting there thinking that the train will be leaving soon when they could get off and consider other arrangements, especially if the train is being held in the station. If you're going to delay people, fine, but giving them false hopes of moving soon just pisses people off more. It's similar to those dumb announcements about folks being patient. They were wise to change them. In sum, it's all about better communication and better relations with the riding public. People are understanding and things happen. How you go about dealing with those things is what matters.

 

 

 

So did you email them yet?

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Yeah the way those countdown clocks work is they give an estimate based on the time the train is scheduled to depart the next gap station, plus the time it would normally take to get to that station. So if a train is running hot, the countdown clocks will assume it will hold until the scheduled leaving time (even though only certain gap stations actually give out holding lights for hot trains). Most of the el's in A-Div have plenty of padding midday, because that's when the outdoor flagging is going on.

 

have trains ever been delayed, because say, a motorman/conductor were on a train and that train got held up for a while. or a motorman/conductor overslept?

 

 

Depends on the location. All of the northern terminals in A-Div have enough recovery time that there's plenty of crews there that can jump ahead if need be. If the equipment itself is late, it will usually be given a battery run to try to recover some of the time, but if there's nothing behind it, then the dispatcher has no choice but to start ABDing trips.

 

If you're gonna oversleep, your career at NYCT is going to be a very short one.

Edited by Snowblock
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have trains ever been delayed, because say, a motorman/conductor were on a train and that train got held up for a while. or a motorman/conductor overslept?

 

 

There are some situations such as one of the crew taking a comfort in which case you obviously won't be telling them the real reason, just that we're being held or that there are delays ahead. And of course direct them to another train (if they're able to route service around the stuck train).

 

As Snowblock mentioned, train crews are supposed to go live after the 2 minute mark in any delay and not just repeadly play the train traffic ahead announcment as some do. People appriciate hearing the reason for the delay and a personal touch knowing someone has access to information and is keeping them informed. If the reason is unknown, all you can do is reinterate that there are delays in service on whichever lines etc.

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Just asked the third tower today (same two dispatchers), what happened Sunday, and they blamed the first two towers for making me that late in the first place, basically. (Can't ask them; don't know who was there).

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