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Via Garibaldi 8

MTA puts heat on train crews to report reasons for subway delays

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EXCLUSIVE

MTA puts heat on train crews to report reasons for subway delays

delays10n-1-web.jpg

The MTA is cracking the whip to get train crews to be truthful about delays.

 (SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

BY DAN RIVOLI

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Monday, April 9, 2018, 11:58 PM

The MTA is wasting no time tightening up how it tracks subway delays.

A transit official issued a bulletin April 2 saying train crews will be “held strictly responsible” for reporting why a trip is late and must explain the reason face-to-face with dispatchers.

The directive from NYC Transit’s acting chief officer of field operations, Paul McPhee, was issued after a Daily News report on how transit officials made the unknown causes of late trains disappear. The mystery delays were distributed evenly among established delay categories, like sick passengers and weather.

The memo said terminal supervisors must investigate late trains blamed on “heavy riding.” Eric Loegel, a train operator and union shop steward, called it a “knee-jerk reaction” that’ll cost crews precious break time. Supervisors in towers and terminals can use radios and the MTA’s trip database to gather delay details, he said.

“There’s no need to interrogate train crews at the terminal regarding things that should’ve been documented,” Loegel said.

MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said the bulletin reiterates policy dating back to the 1980s.

“The goal has always been to capture accurate and comprehensive information about train trips that are delayed,” he said.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 spokesman Pete Donohue said the union will look out for unwarranted discipline against workers and making sure they have proper breaks between trips.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mta-puts-heat-train-crews-report-reasons-subway-delays-article-1.3925008

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Waiting for the first report of a train crew fired because they were like: "Because you MFs can't do YOUR job right talmbout "even spacing headways" and stuff.

tenor.gif?itemid=10568128

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20 minutes ago, Deucey said:

Waiting for the first report of a train crew fired because they were like: "Because you MFs can't do YOUR job right talmbout "even spacing headways" and stuff.

I don't know what the overall consensus is, but as far as I'm concerned, punctuality is an extremely important piece to running an efficient transit system. Without that, it's complete chaos. Your passengers lose faith in the system because they don't know IF or when they'll get to work or elsewhere and it's a big problem. I just think that's something that's really been slacking for a long time and people need to be held accountable, not just with the subways but especially with the buses, and you can't just say well leave earlier or there's traffic. 

The (MTA) needs to start taking these issues seriously and addressing them, otherwise there's really no point in people relying on public transportation.  I mean we're paying for a service here and while I understand that there will be delays, you can't have that be the standard and expect it to be acceptable.  It just doesn't work. A lot of people have been sacrificing and using public transit and you're basically telling people your commute doesn't matter, which in turn pisses people off and they look for alternatives.  It seems as if only recently has it become such a big deal for buses and trains to run on time.  

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8 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

I don't know what the overall consensus is, but as far as I'm concerned, punctuality is an extremely important piece to running an efficient transit system. Without that, it's complete chaos. Your passengers lose faith in the system because they don't know IF or when they'll get to work or elsewhere and it's a big problem. I just think that's something that's really been slacking for a long time and people need to be held accountable, not just with the subways but especially with the buses, and you can't just say well leave earlier or there's traffic. 

The (MTA) needs to start taking these issues seriously and addressing them, otherwise there's really no point in people relying on public transportation.  I mean we're paying for a service here and while I understand that there will be delays, you can't have that be the standard and expect it to be acceptable.  It just doesn't work. A lot of people have been sacrificing and using public transit and you're basically telling people your commute doesn't matter, which in turn pisses people off and they look for alternatives.  It seems as if only recently has it become such a big deal for buses and trains to run on time.  

How many times have you heard the explanation for something simple not being done as "That's New York."?

Culture is the problem.

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1 minute ago, Deucey said:

How many times have you heard the explanation for something simple not being done as "That's New York."?

Culture is the problem.

I agree, but it's become progressively worse.  Back in the day, when your bus driver drove like a snail, or refused to pull out on time and sat, he'd yell that you can take a cab if you don't like it. I had this happen once on a S79 I was on.  Not too long after that I switched permanently to riding the express bus and taking cabs just as he had suggested. <_< 

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Hey MTA brass, next time, create a "Miscellaneous" for delays that do not fit into the other categories, you know, like every other data analyst on the face of the Earth. That way you don't get caught with egg on the face when you try to pass off weather-related delays happening on perfectly sunny days.

As for explicitly explaining why their train was delayed getting to the terminal, how many times will these dispatchers get "delayed because passengers held the doors at X station" before this falls to the wayside? Because, really that's one of the big reasons why the trains are delayed. People are holding the doors trying to get onto already packed trains because service is always delayed because of crumbling infrastructure. Until we see some action in the Subway Action Plan, don't expect things to change because the agency wants a detailed analysis from the train crews on why trains are being delayed.

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2 minutes ago, Lance said:

Hey MTA brass, next time, create a "Miscellaneous" for delays that do not fit into the other categories, you know, like every other data analyst on the face of the Earth. That way you don't get caught with egg on the face when you try to pass off weather-related delays happening on perfectly sunny days.

As for explicitly explaining why their train was delayed getting to the terminal, how many times will these dispatchers get "delayed because passengers held the doors at X station" before this falls to the wayside? Because, really that's one of the big reasons why the trains are delayed. People are holding the doors trying to get onto already packed trains because service is always delayed because of crumbling infrastructure. Until we see some action in the Subway Action Plan, don't expect things to change because the agency wants a detailed analysis from the train crews on why trains are being delayed.

Yeah but the thing is not every line is maxed out.  For example, I find that when the (4)(5)(6) runs trains on time, if you're not trying to get on during the heart of rush hour, it's doable and the trains have plenty of room.  Where there's a big problem is on lines like 6th Avenue. The (B)(D) service is maxed out in terms of each train being packed.  Even with trains running on time, the trains are packed by the time they reach Rockefeller Center or sometimes before that and you can't get on.  The headways are such that one train comes after the other and then there's another 10 minute wait. I still don't understand that.  There must be a way to add more capacity to a line like that where trains are running roughly every 10 minutes during rush hour. It just doesn't make any sense to me.  Or better why can't they short turn some trains and start them somewhere in Manhattan to address the overcrowding?

7th Avenue is also bad, but the (3) acts as an overflow train for the (2) to a degree.

 

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It probably depends on the service on the other lines a service interacts with. For instance, sticking with 6th Avenue as the preferred example, while there may be room on the 6th Avenue local tracks for more (F) or (M) trains, they wouldn't be able to go anywhere because Queens Blvd is maxed out, the express tracks with both the (E) and (F) running a combined 30 TPH during the rush and the locals by the slow fumigation process at 71 Avenue. As for short-turning trains, there are very few locations that can be done without impacting through service. 96 Street and 2 Avenue could be potential north and south termini respectively, but that would hurt the (Q) and/or (F) line's reliability. Other terminals are too far out the way to be useful, like 168 Street, or are being used as through stations during the rush hour, such as 145 Street.

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30 minutes ago, Lance said:

Hey MTA brass, next time, create a "Miscellaneous" for delays that do not fit into the other categories, you know, like every other data analyst on the face of the Earth. That way you don't get caught with egg on the face when you try to pass off weather-related delays happening on perfectly sunny days.

As for explicitly explaining why their train was delayed getting to the terminal, how many times will these dispatchers get "delayed because passengers held the doors at X station" before this falls to the wayside? Because, really that's one of the big reasons why the trains are delayed. People are holding the doors trying to get onto already packed trains because service is always delayed because of crumbling infrastructure. Until we see some action in the Subway Action Plan, don't expect things to change because the agency wants a detailed analysis from the train crews on why trains are being delayed.

Isn't that chicken or the egg, or vicious circle - passengers delay trains because of bad service, or bad service because passengers delay trains?

I mean, I'm sure you'd have less holding of doors if pax were confident that another train was actually coming when the thing says it is. (How many times have the countdown clocks said a train was coming in 1 minute but it takes 5 minutes to show up???)

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7 minutes ago, Deucey said:

Isn't that chicken or the egg, or vicious circle - passengers delay trains because of bad service, or bad service because passengers delay trains?

I mean, I'm sure you'd have less holding of doors if pax were confident that another train was actually coming when the thing says it is. (How many times have the countdown clocks said a train was coming in 1 minute but it takes 5 minutes to show up???)

Something that I've actually noticed more here of late, and not during the rush either.  The (C) and (D) on weekends are infamous for this.  I think it was Sunday. I was waiting for a (D) train.  It said one minute and I'm like oh great a train is coming.  After a bit I started pacing thinking where is this train? It said 1 minute, and it's been well past that...

 

24 minutes ago, Lance said:

It probably depends on the service on the other lines a service interacts with. For instance, sticking with 6th Avenue as the preferred example, while there may be room on the 6th Avenue local tracks for more (F) or (M) trains, they wouldn't be able to go anywhere because Queens Blvd is maxed out, the express tracks with both the (E) and (F) running a combined 30 TPH during the rush and the locals by the slow fumigation process at 71 Avenue. As for short-turning trains, there are very few locations that can be done without impacting through service. 96 Street and 2 Avenue could be potential north and south termini respectively, but that would hurt the (Q) and/or (F) line's reliability. Other terminals are too far out the way to be useful, like 168 Street, or are being used as through stations during the rush hour, such as 145 Street.

I think the fact that we're at capacity already with some lines is extremely alarming.  The (B)(D) in particular needs more service and this becomes more evident with each year that passes. 

 

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1 hour ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Something that I've actually noticed more here of late, and not during the rush either.  The (C) and (D) on weekends are infamous for this.  I think it was Sunday. I was waiting for a (D) train.  It said one minute and I'm like oh great a train is coming.  After a bit I started pacing thinking where is this train? It said 1 minute, and it's been well past that..

Rule of thumb I learned dealing with clocks on the IRT: If it says "2 minutes", then arrival is imminent. If it says 1 minute:

 tenor.gif?itemid=5094560

Edited by Deucey

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9 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

The (B)(D) service is maxed out in terms of each train being packed.  Even with trains running on time, the trains are packed by the time they reach Rockefeller Center or sometimes before that and you can't get on.

The (B)(D) is really unbearable during rush hour and something needs to be done about it. IIRC the high headways have something to do with bottlenecking at the Dekalb interlocking. Trains need to come to a complete stop for anywhere between 2-5 (sometimes over 10 if it's a bad day) minutes before they are manually assigned a lineup by some dude looking at a CCTV feed. Something like 50tph pass through it during a given rush hour. You can't really squeeze anymore (B)(D)s over the bridge. I suppose you could run extra and have them end at 2nd avenue, but that's little help considering everyone is trying to get to Brooklyn.

I think the (B)(D) should at least get 60 footers to help deal with the crowds.

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I'm surprised the lineup is assigned manually. Don't the Bluetooth beacons at least give some indication of what train is coming up?

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33 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

I'm surprised the lineup is assigned manually. Don't the Bluetooth beacons at least give some indication of what train is coming up?

Or hell, all the other towers that trains must pass through over their route? That plus Bluetooth plus some signal block occupancy data should get you a perfect picture. 

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1 hour ago, kosciusko said:

The (B)(D) is really unbearable during rush hour and something needs to be done about it. IIRC the high headways have something to do with bottlenecking at the Dekalb interlocking. Trains need to come to a complete stop for anywhere between 2-5 (sometimes over 10 if it's a bad day) minutes before they are manually assigned a lineup by some dude looking at a CCTV feed. Something like 50tph pass through it during a given rush hour. You can't really squeeze anymore (B)(D)s over the bridge. I suppose you could run extra and have them end at 2nd avenue, but that's little help considering everyone is trying to get to Brooklyn.

I think the (B)(D) should at least get 60 footers to help deal with the crowds.

You're telling me. A few years ago it became very noticeable and what I would do is take Metro-North to 125th, walk west and get the subway there. Where I had to be wasn't so far west so it was fine. Now I need to go uptown once a week and it's been pure hell. Last week I let three trains pass before being forced to squeeze on one and we left people behind at three stops. Just ridiculous. I really didn't want to get in but after waiting so long I had no choice.

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

Or hell, all the other towers that trains must pass through over their route? That plus Bluetooth plus some signal block occupancy data should get you a perfect picture. 

I think you might be right actually, I did a bit of further research and apparently there is some computerization but the movements are still supervised by the tower via CCTV. I go over that junction a lot and I always end up having the train I'm on stop for about 3-5 minutes (worst was around 12 minutes) for the lineup to be assigned. Heading into Manhattan I'm usually stopped for under 1 minute.

https://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/Subway_Signals:_Interlocking

Quote

At some places in the system (e.g., DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn), there are modern digital computers responding to train identification pushbuttons by operating the interlockings, scheduling trains according to a predefined timetable. But even this is but one more added "layer" on top of the two just described, NX/UR operation, and the classic lever interlocking model under that: the computer literally simulates pushing of entrance and exit buttons on the NX/UR panel, which, in turn, operates imaginary levers simulated by relays.

Quote

Trains on diverging turnouts go at glacial speeds. And second, trains from four lines influence one another’s schedules, and delays propagate. Supervising train movements is thus difficult, and control center has to have a camera watching the trains enter the interlocking to ensure they adhere to schedule; timetables have to take the resulting delays into account.

https://pedestrianobservations.com/2017/11/03/fix-dekalb-avenue/

I was paraphrasing what @officiallyliam said a few months back.

Quote

You're correct about the stopping. Train routing at DeKalb Junction is determined by CCTV cameras mounted near the home signals between the bridge portal and DeKalb. As a train comes off the bridge, it must come to a brief stop at the junction while tower operators use the cameras to identify the train and set the appropriate route. CBTC, or ATS (the train identification used on the IRT), will solve this eventually.

 

Edited by kosciusko

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On a normal morning, DeKalb is honestly fine... Stop for a few seconds at Myrtle Av and then proceed... The worst thing that happens is that people in certain train cars get their view of Masstransitscope interrupted by the pause...

Sure, sometimes the train has to wait two or three minutes, but that's well within the overall commute's margin of error.

Delays in the area seem to be more common during the PM rush.

Edited by P3F

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19 hours ago, P3F said:

On a normal morning, DeKalb is honestly fine... Stop for a few seconds at Myrtle Av and then proceed... The worst thing that happens is that people in certain train cars get their view of Masstransitscope interrupted by the pause...

Sure, sometimes the train has to wait two or three minutes, but that's well within the overall commute's margin of error.

Delays in the area seem to be more common during the PM rush.

There's no way to have the lineup ready before the train arrives?

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Here's a new and unprecedented concept:  Just. Run. The. Trains. Keep the signals maintained, stop staging delays, and just run the trains. That shouldn't be too much to ask.

 

Yes, I know that some big bosses refuse to allow maintenance on existing signals because "the new system is coming next year" (even though it probably isn't). Yes, I know that some crews like the overtime that delays create.  However, none of that actually helps the passengers.

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3 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

There's no way to have the lineup ready before the train arrives?

It doesn't seem so.

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3 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

There's no way to have the lineup ready before the train arrives?

 

2 minutes ago, kosciusko said:

It doesn't seem so.

It's bad enough that the trains crawl through there, but to get held for up to 10 mins is crazy.

2 hours ago, Gotham Bus Co. said:

Here's a new and unprecedented concept:  Just. Run. The. Trains. Keep the signals maintained, stop staging delays, and just run the trains. That shouldn't be too much to ask.

 

Yes, I know that some big bosses refuse to allow maintenance on existing signals because "the new system is coming next year" (even though it probably isn't). Yes, I know that some crews like the overtime that delays create.  However, none of that actually helps the passengers.

All they need to do is be customer focused, and their ridership and farebox revenue would increase. As a kid I used to be perplexed as to why the MTA was worried about dollar vans in Queens and Brooklyn when their buses are slow as hell and all they had to do was speed them up if they wanted people to use them. Even now, when I get on NYCT buses I wince every time the B/O drives slow as hell and purposely waits or slows down for the traffic signals to change to yellow and then think to myself that perhaps I should have just walked.

Sometimes you're in a rush and you jump on the bus with the hopes i can move you down the corridor faster, but nope, NYCT bus wheels are obviously coated with molasses and if the next traffic signal has been green for more than 5 seconds the driver hits the breaks because green means yellow.

People just want to get to their destination quickly and efficiently without delay.  But also at the same time, if you're a conductor and you see a connecting train pulling in, but the next one on your route is in 18 mins, you might want to hold the doors for 10 seconds...

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Ok here's an interesting insight into the ops at Dekalb courtesy of DJ Hammers. I'm not sure if this is the way it goes for all trains but it's still interesting.

If you skip to 25:20, the train will be just approaching a red signal at the interlocking. The train comes to a complete stop for about 1 minute, and a short radio exchange can be heard between the t/o and (I think) a dispatcher regarding the lineup.

 

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