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Via Garibaldi 8

Subway Service is Slipping, Causing Concern Among Transit Advocates and even MTA Board Members

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Subway Service is Slipping, Causing Concern Among Transit Advocates and even MTA Board Members
By Jose Martinez

Monday, January 23, 2017 at 09:48 PM EST
 
A troubling trend in the city's subways has riders, advocates and even some MTA board members alarmed. Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has the story.

 

Jam-packed and going nowhere. For many subway riders — it's a daily tale of woe.

 

"The trains are so crowded and they're so slow and people are getting sick," said one rider. "The 4, 5 and 6, all three trains, need to have better situations in the morning."

 

"It is a lot more uncomfortable taking the subway with the overcrowding," said another.

The MTA's own numbers back the complaints.

 

Trains are breaking down more frequently, riders are waiting longer for trains and on-time performance is slipping.

On Monday, some of the agency's own board members said not enough is being done to reduce the delays.

"Service as a whole ranges in the view of the ridership as somewhere between 'poor' and 'fugeddaboutit,'" said board member Charles Moerdler.

 

Numbers released Monday show more than 60,000 delays in weekday service in November, an increase of nearly 10,000 delays over November 2015. Overcrowding was to blame for nearly half of the late trains.

 

"When I look at the 5 line, on-time performance is at 37 percent now and we started up in the 80s and 90s in 2013," said Ellyn Shannon, with the Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

 

"Nobody can walk away from that," said Moerdler. "You can put sugar, you can put paint on the pig, it ain't going to be anything other than a pig."

A big reason for the overcrowding is surging ridership. The subways carried 5.7 million people on an average weekday in 2015 — the most since the 1940s. Numbers for 2016 are not yet available.

 

"The issue isn't just what it is and beating ourselves up as to how bad it is, because I think there's uniform agreement on that," said Moerdler. "I think the issue is, 'What are we doing to fix it?'"

 

Officials say new signal systems should ease the delays, by allowing more trains to run per hour.

The 7 line will be the second to get the new signals, later this year.

 

The slam on subway service came as the MTA board this week decides by just how much to raise the fare — which would be the sixth fare hike since 2008.

 

Source: http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/transit/2017/01/23/subway-service-is-slipping--causing-concern-among-transit-advocates-and-even-mta-board-members.html

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Where is itmaybeokay at? I would love to hear his views on this one. :D I guess we're all exaggerating about more delays and increased wait times.  <_<

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60,000 delays in one month.... <_<.....I know this a big subway system but thats crazy stats....Sounds like an 70's-80's revisit with the longer waits and trains breaking down... 

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One thing you have to remember is that delays are a function of older rolling stock, 80 year old signaling systems and increasing ridership. Delays also naturally peak in January for whatever reason...

 

Also, consider that there will always be delays of some sort. With a system of this size, something is bound to go wrong. You can curtail delays from the system, but you will never completely eradicate them.

 

Efforts are already underway to replace signaling across the system, but because of its size and because tracks have to remain open during the work, it takes time. I'm already seeing progress on 6th Avenue and Queens Blvd. After years of back room upgrades, we are finally getting to the point where the new CBTC ready signal heads are being installed.

 

I would also expect that the R179 and R211 will help improve on time performance and MDBF, once they enter service and the older cars are retired.

 

Overall, the subway is at a transitional point in its history, where its both new and old at the same time (if that makes any sense), and its often this point where more things go wrong.

 

60,000 delays in one month.... <_<.....I know this a big subway system but thats crazy stats....Sounds like an 70's-80's revisit with the longer waits and trains breaking down... 

Not even close. This article is just click bait. There's nothing new of substance in this article...

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60,000 delays in one month.... <_<.....I know this a big subway system but thats crazy stats....Sounds like an 70's-80's revisit with the longer waits and trains breaking down... 

lol... 60,000 since November, but still that's not even a full three months and we have had a mild winter. Some people are saying that the customers are the problem, but when your train is delayed and you have somewhere to be like work, well if you don't know when the next train will be, you're going to try to make your way onto whatever train comes first.  It's easy to blame the passengers when you are already at work or don't have anywhere to be.  

One thing you have to remember is that delays are a function of older rolling stock, 80 year old signaling systems and increasing ridership. Delays also naturally peak in January for whatever reason...

 

Also, consider that there will always be delays of some sort. With a system of this size, something is bound to go wrong. You can curtail delays from the system, but you will never completely eradicate them.

 

Efforts are already underway to replace signaling across the system, but because of its size and because tracks have to remain open during the work, it takes time. I'm already seeing progress on 6th Avenue and Queens Blvd. After years of back room upgrades, we are finally getting to the point where the new CBTC ready signal heads are being installed.

 

I would also expect that the R179 and R211 will help improve on time performance and MDBF, once they enter service and the older cars are retired.

 

Overall, the subway is at a transitional point in its history, where its both new and old at the same time (if that makes any sense), and its often this point where more things go wrong.

 

Not even close. This article is just click bait. There's nothing new of substance in this article...

Really? When members from the (MTA) board are complaining, I'd say it is something of substance.  Some people are just in denial about the problems and trying to excuse them shouldn't be acceptable.  

 

 

 

"When I look at the 5 line, on-time performance is at 37 percent now and we started up in the 80s and 90s in 2013," said Ellyn Shannon, with the Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

To go down to 37% on-time performance from the 80s and 90s in less than four years should be alarming to any rider.  

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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Really? When members from the (MTA) board are complaining, I'd say it is something of substance.  Some people are just in denial about the problems and trying to excuse them shouldn't be acceptable.  

 

To go down to 37% on-time performance from the 80s and 90s in less than four years should be alarming to any rider.  

 

It's click bait in the sense that we knew this already since this time last year, at the very least. There's nothing new here.

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It's click bait in the sense that we knew this already since this time last year, at the very least. There's nothing new here.

I don't know about that.  Some here have been saying that the subways are just fine...

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I guarantee you that the Vision Zero tactics of forcing people out of their cars and into the subways are contributing factors behind this.  Like trying to shove an elephant through a rabbit-hole.

Amazes me how the City is hypocritical enough to try and get more people to take mass transit, yet refuses to help foot the bill for capacity increases or system expansion in any way...

Edited by R10 2952
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I guarantee you that the Vision Zero tactics of forcing people out of their cars and into the subways are contributing factors behind this. Like trying to shove an elephant through a rabbit-hole.

Amazes me how the City is hypocritical enough to try and get more people to take mass transit, yet refuses to help foot the bill for capacity increases or system expansion in any way...

I agree with this 100%. If it's not "the reason", it's a contributing fact for sure.
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I guarantee you that the Vision Zero tactics of forcing people out of their cars and into the subways are contributing factors behind this.  Like trying to shove an elephant through a rabbit-hole.

Amazes me how the City is hypocritical enough to try and get more people to take mass transit, yet refuses to help foot the bill for capacity increases or system expansion in any way...

Even so, it's absurd to try to justify how a line like the (5) train has newer rolling stock and yet has such deplorable on-time numbers.  Nothing can excuse that.  The (MTA) has to stop treating the line like a step-child and get whatever projects they are doing with the line sped up.  They've spent countless weekends now without the line not running its normal route (I know because I change my commute just about every weekend to avoid using the subway as a result, be it via Metro-North or the express bus), and this nonsense about new signals being put in...  I mean weren't they upgrading the (4)(5) line years ago with the CBTC technology?  What is taking so long to get this up and running?  I haven't seen any difference.  The trains still CRAWL on just about every line during rush hour.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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I guarantee you that the Vision Zero tactics of forcing people out of their cars and into the subways are contributing factors behind this.  Like trying to shove an elephant through a rabbit-hole.

Amazes me how the City is hypocritical enough to try and get more people to take mass transit, yet refuses to help foot the bill for capacity increases or system expansion in any way...

Yet those goons want to fund another $400 million into Vision Zero...

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Even the (4) / (5) never seem to go above 20 MPH between Grand Central and Union Square anymore due to all the congestion.  Perhaps Second Avenue's Phase 3 will change that, but who knows if any of us will still be alive an eternity from now LOL...

 

And I know there are those who think the system isn't getting exponentially worse, but it's important to understand that although the Capital Programs helped the TA get moving forward from the low point of the 1970s and '80s, the persistent lack of funding has prevented the Transit Authority from moving at anything faster than a glacial pace when it comes to system expansion and bringing things to a state of good repair.  Why else do you think trains don't run past Archer Avenue, or that the 63rd Street Line didn't connect to anything for 12 years, or that the 4th Avenue express tunnel was allowed to deteriorate so badly?

Service has absolutely tanked in the last few years- and this is coming from somebody who rode the R26 and R36 rustbuckets back in the '90s.  Graffiti may be gone, crime might be down, but in terms of actual reliability, we're going backwards, not forwards.

Edited by R10 2952
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Even so, it's absurd to try to justify how a line like the (5) train has newer rolling stock and yet has such deplorable on-time numbers.  Nothing can excuse that.  The (MTA) has to stop treating the line like a step-child and get whatever projects they are doing with the line sped up.  They've spent countless weekends now without the line not running its normal route (I know because I change my commute just about every weekend to avoid using the subway as a result, be it via Metro-North or the express bus), and this nonsense about new signals being put in...  I mean weren't they upgrading the (4)(5) line years ago with the CBTC technology?  What is taking so long to get this up and running?  I haven't seen any difference.  The trains still CRAWL on just about every line during rush hour.

The (5) has horrendous on-time numbers for the same reason the (4) and (6) do: the severely overtaxed Lexington Ave line is the only East Side line in Manhattan. Until that changes, don't expect on-time percentages to improve in any significant way.

 

To answer your question, the MTA installed ATS, or automatic train supervision, not CBTC. That system in place on the numbered lines only shifts the switch controls from the T/O by way of punch boxes to the central office at RCC. It doesn't really allow for additional train capacity. Any kind of train automation for the numbered lines is at least a decade away, if not longer. As for the numerous closures on the Dyre Ave line, those should be wrapping up soon. At least according to the schedule. We'll see if they stick to it.

 

Even the (4) / (5) never seem to go above 20 MPH between Grand Central and Union Square anymore due to all the congestion.  Perhaps Second Avenue's Phase 3 will change that, but who knows if any of us will still be alive an eternity from now LOL...

 

And I know there are those who think the system isn't getting exponentially worse, but it's important to understand that although the Capital Programs helped the TA get moving forward from the low point of the 1970s and '80s, the persistent lack of funding has prevented the Transit Authority from moving at anything faster than a glacial pace when it comes to system expansion and bringing things to a state of good repair.  Why else do you think trains don't run past Archer Avenue, or that the 63rd Street Line didn't connect to anything for 12 years, or that the 4th Avenue express tunnel was allowed to deteriorate so badly?

Service has absolutely tanked in the last few years- and this is coming from somebody who rode the R26 and R36 rustbuckets back in the '90s.  Graffiti may be gone, crime might be down, but in terms of actual reliability, we're going backwards, not forwards.

You're not wrong there. The current subway pretty much dates back to the 1950s with a few minor exceptions. Even the so-called expansions under the watered down Program for Action didn't really add much capacity. As you mentioned, it took over a decade to get the 63rd St/Queens Blvd connector and even that doesn't add capacity since Queens Blvd is near capacity and both Broadway and 6th Avenue are getting there. The fact remains that we need a subway for the 21st century, not one that harks back to the mid-20th. We need new trunk lines, new inter-borough lines and most importantly, we need an agency that treats its subdivisions as components of a whole and not competitors to each other. I don't know how we get there, but we will only see things get worse until we do.

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60,000 delays in one month.... <_<.....I know this a big subway system but thats crazy stats....Sounds like an 70's-80's revisit with the longer waits and trains breaking down... 

Funny thing. Me and my father was just talking about how good things are today versus then. We have it good in 2k17. The delays are not specified and I bet you  good portion are passenger caused.

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CBTC and more NTT will help, I live along the (L) line and have no complaints, only issue is the line is crush loaded during rush hour, but then again, what line ISN'T crush loaded during the rush? It too bad they can't increase the number of cars in the 179 car order so they could scrap all the 32s and 42s sooner rather than later.

 

Other than the crowding the (L) line is practically perfect, doesn't lag/crawl, fast line, 100 percent NTT, short headways, rarely ever any major delays, etc.

 

 

The (7) and Queens blvd will improve greatly once CBTC is up and running on those lines  :D

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CBTC and more NTT will help, I live along the (L) line and have no complaints, only issue is the line is crush loaded during rush hour, but then again, what line ISN'T crush loaded during the rush? It too bad they can't increase the number of cars in the 179 car order so they could scrap all the 32s and 42s sooner rather than later.

 

Other than the crowding the (L) line is practically perfect, doesn't lag/crawl, fast line, 100 percent NTT, short headways, rarely ever any major delays, etc.

 

 

The (7) and Queens blvd will improve greatly once CBTC is up and running on those lines  :D

That's interesting.  I've heard the complete opposite about the (L), especially going between Brooklyn and Manhattan.  I use the line occasionally, but usually only for short distances.  Haven't done the Manhattan to Brooklyn thing on that line to visit friends in Williamsburg in a while.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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That's interesting.  I've heard the complete opposite about the (L), especially going between Brooklyn and Manhattan.  I use the line occasionally, but usually only for short distances.  Haven't done the Manhattan to Brooklyn thing on that line to visit friends in Williamsburg in a while.

 

The only problem with the (L) is that they made the stupid decision to remove block signals when CBTC went online. Any sort of CBTC failure and the whole line is SOL.

 

Other than that its one of the best lines in the system IMO.

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The only problem with the (L) is that they made the stupid decision to remove block signals when CBTC went online. Any sort of CBTC failure and the whole line is SOL.

 

Other than that its one of the best lines in the system IMO.

Based on my experiences I concur with what he has said.  Waits aren't too bad, and trains move quickly, etc., but I'm going one or two stops at the most on that line in Manhattan, so I don't think that's a long enough of a commute to give my two cents.  I remember those PITA commutes when I would visit friends in Williamsburg and the line was only running in sections... 

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I don't know about that.  Some here have been saying that the subways are just fine...

 

No one is saying that. I will say that the article focuses on delays on the 4/5/6 trains. Wait, shouldn't we be waiting to see the effects of the SAS on that before we go off half-cocked?

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No one is saying that. I will say that the article focuses on delays on the 4/5/6 trains. Wait, shouldn't we be waiting to see the effects of the SAS on that before we go off half-cocked?

You're a "new poster" from "Riverdale".  With 5 posts, how do you know what anyone has been saying? 

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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You're a "new poster" from "Riverdale".  With 5 posts, how do you know what anyone has been saying? 

 

Its not hard to keep up with what's going on around here.... ;)

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Where is itmaybeokay at? I would love to hear his views on this one. :D I guess we're all exaggerating about more delays and increased wait times.  <_<

 

haha I didn't expect a personal callout. But even on seeing the thread title I thought "huh, I guess I am just lucky".

 

I would remind you that I was only saying that 20 minute intervals during rush hour were not more common than things running fairly close to intended - but that misses the point.

 

While on one hand there's not a lot of substance in this article - it does seem to back up the gist of what you were saying, and my core rebuttal was that there was no information to back it up - so I'll concede perhaps there's some truth to the concept of things generally getting worse underground. I still rate the subway "generally okay". 

 

I'm looking into the MTA board materials i presume this article derives from and I'll let you know if I have any insight. I know you're chomping at the bit. 

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haha I didn't expect a personal callout. But even on seeing the thread title I thought "huh, I guess I am just lucky".

 

I would remind you that I was only saying that 20 minute intervals during rush hour were not more common than things running fairly close to intended - but that misses the point.

 

While on one hand there's not a lot of substance in this article - it does seem to back up the gist of what you were saying, and my core rebuttal was that there was no information to back it up - so I'll concede perhaps there's some truth to the concept of things generally getting worse underground. I still rate the subway "generally okay". 

 

I'm looking into the MTA board materials i presume this article derives from and I'll let you know if I have any insight. I know you're chomping at the bit. 

Well I just find it ironic that you have such luck given how much more you use it compared to myself. I have no tutoring sessions this week so no subway for me, but last week on my way to the Upper West Side, there was this older man just cursing non-stop about why we weren't moving.  This was a (2) train and we literally crawled from 42nd to 72nd.  Apparently there was some delay ahead.  I thought it was funny because I haven't seen anyone that irate about poor subway service that actually verbalized it in a while.  Took me back a bit.

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He has been a user on subchat for several years.

 

You're a "new poster" from "Riverdale".  With 5 posts, how do you know what anyone has been saying? 

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