Straphangers Say The 1 Is Not #1

null
242nd St.-Van Cortlandt Park bound 1 train approaching 125th St.; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

According to the almost 10,000 (9.903 to be exact) who filled out the “Rider Report Card”, the is not #1! The line which serves as the Broadway-7th Avenue local between 242nd Street-Van Cortlandt Park & South Ferry earned a D+. Lets go straight to the breakdown.

Top 10 priorities that train riders would like to see improvement on:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Adequate room on board at rush hour
03. Minimal delays during trips
04. Station announcements that are easy to hear
05. Train announcements that are easy to hear
06. Cleanliness of stations
07. Station announcements that are informative
08. Sense of security on trains
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Working elevators and escalators in stations

Now here is the entire order of train riders priorities:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Adequate room on board at rush hour
03. Minimal delays during trips
04. Station announcements that are easy to hear
05. Train announcements that are easy to hear
06. Cleanliness of stations
07. Station announcements that are informative
08. Sense of security on trains
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Working elevators and escalators in stations
11. Cleanliness of subway cars
12. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
13. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
14. Train announcements that are informative
15. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
16. Lack of scratchitti in subway cars
17. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
18. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
19. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
20. Lack of graffiti in subway cars
21. Lack of graffiti in stations

Now here is the graded breakdown of all 21 categories:

Minimal delays during trips C
Reasonable wait times for trains C-
Adequate room on board at rush hour D
Sense of security in stations C+
Sense of security on trains C
Working elevators and escalators in stations C
Signs in stations that help riders find their way C+
Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way C
Cleanliness of stations C-
Cleanliness of subway cars C
Station announcements that are easy to hear D
Station announcements that are informative D+
Train announcements that are easy to hear D+
Train announcements that are informative C-
Lack of graffiti in stations C+
Lack of graffiti in subway cars C+
Lack of scratchitti in subway cars C
Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel C
Comfortable temperature in subway cars C+
Ease of use of subway turnstiles B-
Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines B-

The grade says it all for the which might be one of the most frustrating lines in the entire system. If you want to see a true conga line, watch the especially during rush hour. The fact that “Reasonable wait times for trains” is #1 comes as no surprise to me. The issue with the is not scheduling as there is plenty of scheduled service. The problem arises when just one little hiccup can cause a chain reaction up or down the entire line! Unfortunately for riders who depend on this line, this scenario plays out way too often.

One can count on some sort of major issue at least once a day which is unacceptable especially for a line that never shares track space. These delays cause severely inconsistent service where the is either coming every 1-2 minutes or it will come every 8-10. Unfortunately this kind of inconsistency seems to be a daily occurrence especially during rush hour. I don’t think adding trains will help as that will only add to the problem. The main issue is mostly track space but that is a problem that won’t be getting addressed anytime soon if ever in our lifetime.

When the service is operating without issues, there is hardly any room. Now add on delays which cause a train to not be in service or be forced to do a battery run to catch up & you can see how this problem gets magnified. The is definitely a line that you should expect to stand at just about any time of the day or night if you are not boarding near any of the terminals. I don’t see this issue improving too much to be perfectly honest.

“Minimal delays during trips” is clearly aligned with the first two issues & quite frankly I don’t see much changing. Maybe having a line manager will help but I would take a wait & see approach on that one. Until the 1 finds a way to avoid a typical hiccup in operations, riders should continue to expect inconsistency for a line that greatly needs changes.

Look at the bright side, at least the got 2 above average grades although they were in the freebie “Ease of use of subway turnstiles” & “Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines” categories!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Ehh Shuttle, You’re Average!


Franklin Avenue Shuttle about to depart Prospect Park; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

Continuing with the “Rider Report Card” update, the next in line is the Franklin Avenue Shuttle. The shuttle was considered average as it scored a C from the 247 people who bothered to fill out the report card. Lets go straight to the breakdown.

Top 10 priorities that null train riders would like to see improvement on:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Sense of security in stations
03. Minimal delays during trips
04. Sense of security on trains
05. Adequate room on board at rush hour
06. Cleanliness of stations
07. Cleanliness of subway cars
08. Station announcements that are easy to hear
09. Working elevators and escalators in stations
10. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines

Now here is the entire order of null train riders priorities:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Sense of security in stations
03. Minimal delays during trips
04. Sense of security on trains
05. Adequate room on board at rush hour
06. Cleanliness of stations
07. Cleanliness of subway cars
08. Station announcements that are easy to hear
09. Working elevators and escalators in stations
10. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
11. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
12. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
13. Station announcements that are informative
14. Lack of scratchitti in subway cars
15. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
16. Train announcements that are informative
17. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
18. Lack of graffiti in subway cars
19. Train announcements that are easy to hear
20. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
21. Lack of graffiti in stations

Now here is the graded breakdown of all 21 categories:

Minimal delays during trips C+
Reasonable wait times for trains C-
Adequate room on board at rush hour C
Sense of security in stations C
Sense of security on trains C
Working elevators and escalators in stations C
Signs in stations that help riders find their way C+
Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way C
Cleanliness of stations C
Cleanliness of subway cars C
Station announcements that are easy to hear C-
Station announcements that are informative C-
Train announcements that are easy to hear C
Train announcements that are informative C
Lack of graffiti in stations C
Lack of graffiti in subway cars C
Lack of scratchitti in subway cars C-
Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel C
Comfortable temperature in subway cars C+
Ease of use of subway turnstiles B-
Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines B-

I honestly do not have much to say about this report card. I have rarely ridden the Franklin Shuttle & when I did, I had no issues with the trip. The only thing I will say is I am not surprised that both a “Sense of security in stations” & “Sense of security on trains” made the top 5. When I have ridden the shuttle, the cast of characters riding it with me would definitely fit in the “shady” category. When I would be on the B or Q & look at the people waiting, I would think the same thing. This is not to say some decent people don’t ride it but there is no denying the quality of people is questionable at best.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Like George, The W Has Failed Miserably!


Whitehall Street bound W train pulling into Queensboro Plaza; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

The “Rider Report Card” updates continue with the train which failed miserably. The line serving as a weekday only backup to the between Astoria & Lower Manhattan earned a D+. Lets go straight to the horrendous results.

Top 10 priorities that train riders would like to see improvement on:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Minimal delays during trips
03. Adequate room on board at rush hour
04. Train announcements that are easy to hear
05. Station announcements that are easy to hear
06. Cleanliness of subway cars
07. Station announcements that are informative
08. Cleanliness of stations
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Sense of security on trains

Now here is the entire order of train riders priorities:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Minimal delays during trips
03. Adequate room on board at rush hour
04. Train announcements that are easy to hear
05. Station announcements that are easy to hear
06. Cleanliness of subway cars
07. Station announcements that are informative
08. Cleanliness of stations
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Sense of security on trains
11. Train announcements that are informative
12. Lack of scratchitti in subway cars
13. Working elevators and escalators in stations
14. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
15. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
16. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
17. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
18. Lack of graffiti in subway cars
19. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
20. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
21. Lack of graffiti in stations

Now here is the graded breakdown of all 21 categories:

Minimal delays during trips D+
Reasonable wait times for trains D+
Adequate room on board at rush hour D+
Sense of security in stations C+
Sense of security on trains C
Working elevators and escalators in stations C-
Signs in stations that help riders find their way C
Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way C
Cleanliness of stations C-
Cleanliness of subway cars C-
Station announcements that are easy to hear D
Station announcements that are informative D+
Train announcements that are easy to hear D+
Train announcements that are informative D+
Lack of graffiti in stations C
Lack of graffiti in subway cars C
Lack of scratchitti in subway cars C-
Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel C-
Comfortable temperature in subway cars C
Ease of use of subway turnstiles C+
Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines B-

This grade comes as no surprise to me as I am sure is the case for many others. The is clearly a secondary line & the service clearly reflects that. While many argue that the is underutilized, there is no arguing that it needs to do a much better job. Wait times for the line are unacceptable as it sometimes is a 3-1 ratio of trains to trains. While the service is primarily a backup, such a ratio does not provide assurance for the which is inconsistent to begin with.

The delays on the line are to be expected since it backups a line that is quite inconsistent. So when the usual delays pop up, what line do you really think will take priority? The answer is obvious, it will never be the . Quite frankly as much as extra service is warranted along the 31st Street corridor, the sure could be more effective if it had a better terminal. However I will leave that issue to another entry or you can poke around on “Rider Diaries” or “Subchat” for varying opinions on this issue.

I will say one thing, I usually have never had a problem getting a seat on the W even as inconsistent as it can be in arrival times. I think it is mainly due to the mental issue many people have with riding the “local”. I have seen many people pass up on the to wait for the to go to a stop that the serves. I guess they really needed the express run down Broadway to survive. I won’t complain about the mindset as it gives me a seat but I can’t help but question the intelligence & logic of riders who constantly do this.

The rest of the categories speak for themselves & the grades seem justified. You know that things are not going well when the only above average grade earned was the “Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines” freebie. Seriously that category needs to be removed for next year’s report cards.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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(Q)uincy Hopes To C Better Days In The Future….

Q Train
Rider pondering her thoughts while on a Coney Island-Stillwell Ave. bound Q train; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

In continuing with the “Rider Report Card” theme to this update, comes the Q Train train. The Q Train train was considered average by the 3,481 who responded as it finished with a C grade. Lets get straight to the breakdown for the Q train which serves riders between Midtown-57th St. & Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.

Top 10 priorities that Q Train train riders would like to see improvement on:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Minimal delays during trips
03. Adequate room on board at rush hour
04. Station announcements that are easy to hear
05. Cleanliness of stations
06. Train announcements that are easy to hear
07. Sense of security on trains
08. Cleanliness of subway cars
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Station announcements that are informative

Now here is the entire order of Q Train train riders priorities:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Minimal delays during trips
03. Adequate room on board at rush hour
04. Station announcements that are easy to hear
05. Cleanliness of stations
06. Train announcements that are easy to hear
07. Sense of security on trains
08. Cleanliness of subway cars
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Station announcements that are informative
11. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
12. Train announcements that are informative
13. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
14. Working elevators and escalators in stations
15. Lack of scratchitti in subway cars
16. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
17. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
18. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
19. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
20. Lack of graffiti in stations
21. Lack of graffiti in subway cars

Now here is the graded breakdown of all 21 categories:

Minimal delays during trips C-
Reasonable wait times for trains C
Adequate room on board at rush hour D+
Sense of security in stations C+
Sense of security on trains C
Working elevators and escalators in stations C
Signs in stations that help riders find their way C+
Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way C
Cleanliness of stations C-
Cleanliness of subway cars C-
Station announcements that are easy to hear D+
Station announcements that are informative D+
Train announcements that are easy to hear D+
Train announcements that are informative C-
Lack of graffiti in stations C+
Lack of graffiti in subway cars C+
Lack of scratchitti in subway cars C-
Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel C
Comfortable temperature in subway cars C+
Ease of use of subway turnstiles B-
Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines B

Here is another line where I believe the final grade was accurate. The Q like its fellow Broadway counterpart the N train, does a good job serving its riders. The main problem the line has is the inconsistency it displays from day to day, even hour to hour. I used to be a big user of the Q train back in its heyday as the Brighton express. I don’t ride it as much anymore but when I do, I happen to agree with the 3,481 riders who feel “Reasonable wait times for trains” is the #1 priority to be addressed.

When I do use the Q, I don’t find myself complaining about the actual ride. My main complaint comes from the time it takes until one arrives. The Q is very inconsistent with this as one day or even one hour I will wait under 5 minutes for a train but the next time will be 12-15 minutes. I never know what I will get with the Q & that can be frustrating as besides that, I don’t think the line is that bad.

One thing I have always wondered in a not so serious manner was whether there was a black hole where one Q train would disappear & a new one appear in its place. I say this as when I have waited for one, I start to wonder where could the Q have disappeared to. Sometimes I would stare down the tracks & start to think the train would never come again. I really feel the wait times stood out to me when I was photographing the Q at various locations. I would be on one platform shooting away & notice the lack of Q trains coming in either direction. I usually take my time & camp out at a location longer than the average photographer so I take notice to these things. I would look at the time & think something doesn’t seem right.

I was not out photographing the Q during the overnight hours so the lack of service did seem alarming. No wonder why when the Q would finally show up, I would be forced to stand a good 70% of the time. You would think this would be the perfect lead in to the #2 priority which is “Minimal delays during trips”. However in my experiences riding the Q, we were rarely delayed which brings me back to my black hole scenario. I would love to hear from daily Q train riders in terms of the amount of delays they tend to run into.

The #3 priority in my opinion could have easily been #2 especially considering it scored worse. Quite frankly when you look at the top 3 priorities, it is obvious how they all are connected together. One can clearly call it the domino effect as one chip falls, & there goes the rest following suit. I seriously am wondering about delays as for the most part the Q does not share track space. My first guess as to the culprit would be the Manhattan Bridge. Although you would think the schedule would be as such that any slower travel times would be factored in.

Lets hope the MTA does what is possible to make the Q train more consistent for all riders.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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(N)ever Fails…….

N Train
Coney Island-Stillwell Ave. bound N entering 39th Ave. station; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

So how do I start off the new year? I start it off by catching up on blog posts for all of my loyal readers. Before I begin, let me wish each & every one of you a Happy New Year! I hope your 2008 is everything you hope for & then some! Now let me get straight to the updates by starting out with a below average rider report card result. The C- which was earned by the null train comes as a surprise to no one. Here is the full breakdown:

Top 10 priorities that train riders would like to see improvement on:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Minimal delays during trips
03. Adequate room on board at rush hour
04. Cleanliness of stations
05. Station announcements that are easy to hear
06. Train announcements that are easy to hear
07. Sense of security in stations
08. Station announcements that are informative
09. Sense of security on trains
10. Cleanliness of subway cars

Now here is the entire order of null train riders priorities:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Minimal delays during trips
03. Adequate room on board at rush hour
04. Cleanliness of stations
05. Station announcements that are easy to hear
06. Train announcements that are easy to hear
07. Sense of security in stations
08. Station announcements that are informative
09. Sense of security on trains
10. Cleanliness of subway cars
11. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
12. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
13. Train announcements that are informative
14. Working elevators and escalators in stations
15. Lack of scratchitti in subway cars
16. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
17. Lack of graffiti in stations
18. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
19. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
20. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
21. Lack of graffiti in subway cars

Now here is the graded breakdown of all 21 categories:

Minimal delays during trips D+
Reasonable wait times for trains D+
Adequate room on board at rush hour D
Sense of security in stations C
Sense of security on trains C
Working elevators and escalators in stations C-
Signs in stations that help riders find their way C+
Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way C+
Cleanliness of stations D+
Cleanliness of subway cars C
Station announcements that are easy to hear D+
Station announcements that are informative D+
Train announcements that are easy to hear C-
Train announcements that are informative C-
Lack of graffiti in stations C
Lack of graffiti in subway cars C+
Lack of scratchitti in subway cars C-
Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel C-
Comfortable temperature in subway cars C
Ease of use of subway turnstiles C+
Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines B-

I think the N got the grade it deserved as I personally thought it deserved either a C or C-. The problem I & many others seem to have with the N is the inconsistency which plagues the line. When things are going well, you feel pretty satisfied with your commute. The unfortunate part is you never know which N you will get. Will you get the N that is consistent & provides good service from Astoria to Coney Island or will you get the N which many feel stands for “never” as never showing up?

6,384 feel the latter of the two is what they have come to expect. Considering this is the case, it is no surprise that “Reasonable wait times for trains” is the #1 priority for riders. To be honest, I wouldn’t have ranked “Minimal delays during trips” as the second biggest priority. In my years of riding the N, I felt the biggest issue outside of wait times was actual space on the train. It is a rare thing to comfortably get a seat on the N during any part of the day. As one would expect, riders closest to the terminal on either end usually don’t face as many seating issues. While “Adequate room on board at rush hour” was the #3 priority, I think it deserved the #2 spot.

Like the “Adequate room on board at rush hour” & “Minimal delays during trips”, both announcement categories earned a D+. The announcement issue is one I expect to improve by leaps & bounds when the line is filled with the new R160B subway cars. Hopefully these new cars will also help improve service with more reliability & faster service.

In the end, it is just about to impossible to argue with how the 6,384 riders graded the . I am really curious to see what the line will grade out after having its entire fleet made up of R160B cars. Lets hope that this coupled in with its own line manager helps move the N forward since change is desperately needed for the riders who depend on it!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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