The 5 Train Is Below Average!

5 Train
(Dyre Avenue bound 5 train leaving the Morris Park station; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

Surprise surprise, the 5 train is below average! This starting revelation comes courtesy of the C- that the line earned in its 2007 rider report card. The highest grade earned was a B- which was achieved in 3 different categories. The worst grade earned was a D which was achieved in only one category albeit one of the most important ones. Here is the full breakdown of the 2007 rider report card for the 5 train:

Top 10 priorities that 5 train riders’ would like to see improvement on:

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

Now here is the entire order of 5 train riders’ priorities:

01. Minimal delays during trips
02. Reasonable wait times for trains
03. Adequate room on board at rush hour
04. Station announcements that are easy to hear
05. Cleanliness of stations
06. Sense of security on trains
07. Sense of security in stations
08. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
09. Train announcements that are easy to hear
10. Station announcements that are informative
11. Cleanliness of subway cars
12. Train announcements that are informative
13. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
14. Working elevators and escalators in stations
15. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
16. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
17. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
18. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
19. Lack of scratchitti in subway cars
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 D+
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 C-
Train announcements that are informative C-
Lack of graffiti in stations C+
Lack of graffiti in subway cars B-
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 went through the top 10 priorities & happen to agree with most of them. The constant door holding due to crush loads of riders trying to fit on an already packed car is a huge problem along the Lexington Avenue corridor. One would think that riders would be patient & wait for the next train considering they are usually right behind one another at least when it comes to the 4 & 6.

The reasonable wait times is a dicey situation when it comes to the 5 line. Veteran Lexington Avenue riders know that the 5 is the stepchild of the corridor. If you don’t believe me, stand at any of the express stops & count how many 4 trains you see in an hour versus 5 trains. I bet you will notice that the 4 will at worst double up the 5 in this department.

I can somewhat agree with adequate room on board but only to a slight degree. When I ride the express along the Lexington corridor (I prefer the 6), I tend to purposely wait for the 5 unless it is a rare occasion where I need the 4. The reason for this is because if I have any chance of getting a seat on the express, it will be on the 5 & not the 4. I can safely say I get a seat on the 5 at all times of the day at least 95% of the time.

Issues such as station announcements & cleanliness will always score low until the MTA does a complete overhaul in both areas. Hopefully their “Customer Satisfaction Program” will help grades improve in the latter department. The temperature issue is one I have discussed recently on Second Avenue Sagas in relation to how you sometimes get the opposite of what one would expect.

I have to say I am left scratching my head though one of the top 10 priorities along with the grade it earned. The 5 train runs R142′s exclusively. These trains have crystal clear announcements so can someone explain to me how riders gave this category a C-? If these cars earned a C-, I expect every line outside of the 2, 4, 6, & L to fail this category! Grades like this are hard to take seriously. I am not one to usually support the MTA but I have to cry bullshit in their favor as far as this grade is concerned.

Now we all know the next rant that is coming! I’ll give you a few seconds to take your best educated guess. Time’s up, my next rant is about the response the MTA received from riders of the 5 train! Here we have a subway line that makes up the big 3 on the system’s busies corridor & all the MTA received was 2,483 responses! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once again, how can we expect the MTA to take us seriously if we can’t take the time to fill out a quick but very important report card? In a city that features millions of riders a day on the subway, we should be getting huge response numbers for every line in the system! This is especially the case for one of the big 3 from the Lexington Avenue corridor!

It would be nice if the same effort that is put into complaining about the potential fare hike would be put into filling out a simple report card! Lets get with it people!

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Monday = Taxi Strike Round 2

As you all know, I’ve been on top of the whole NYC/TLC vs Taxi Drivers war since August. The war will reach another major point this Monday when round 2 of The Taxi Workers Alliance strike takes place. The city has once again announced strike pricing which kicks in at 5 a.m. which coincides with the beginning of round 2 of the strike. The city’s strike pricing plan is the same as it was during round 1 of the strike. In case you forgot what the plan was, here are the details:

  1. $20 flat fare between Manhattan & LaGuardia Airport
  2. $30 flat fare between Manhattan & JFK Airport
  3. $10 per person per fare zone
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Upcoming MTA Chairman Hesitant To Support Fare Hike

Add H. Dale Hemmerdinger to the list of influential people who do not support the MTA’s proposed fare hike! Who is he you ask? Well he is Gov. Elliot Spitzer’s appointee to replace Peter Kalikow as MTA Chairman. Here are some comments that he said at his recent confirmation in front of a state senate committee:

“The last thing I would want to do would be to vote for a fare increase. But if that’s required to keep the system running and to keep it running efficiently, affordably and safely, I will do that – with great reluctance.”

He was asked if he would postpone the scheduled December fare hike vote until April. The request to do this comes from legislators who think they can raise enough funds with a passed budget to offset the need for a fare hike. Unfortunately he did not commit either way saying “I don’t know enough to make that pledge.” He acknowledged that he is not totally up to date with all the nuances that make up the proposed fare hike. He vows to study all the alternatives & base his decision on the research he does.

Lets just hope that Mr. Hemmerdinger keeps his word as he could be key to preventing the much maligned proposed fare hike!

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LIRR Keeps Promise

Yesterday the Long Island Railroad started to deliver on its promise to communicate better with its customers. The agency unveiled five 60″ monitors at Penn Station. The purpose of the monitors is to keep riders informed of announcements, updates, & breaking news which was previously announced over loudspeaker. The monitors will also mirror information posted on the MTA’s website. There are plans for a 6th monitor to be installed later this month.

Some have already come up & expressed their satisfaction with the significant upgrade. Here are some comments:

Long Island Railroad Commuter Council President Gerald Bringmann – “I think it’s great. Our biggest complaint with these guys has been communication, or lack thereof. It’s nice to know there’s a good use for a 60-inch screen other than watching football.”

19 year old Glen Cove resident Rob Vogt – “You miss announcements all the time because you can’t hear anything in Penn Station.”

Long Island Railroad President Helena Williams chimed in with these comments:

“We wanted to do something that we consider a really important goal, which is to improve the customer service. Customers are better served by hearing and seeing information.”

The cost of installing these monitors throughout Penn Station totaled almost $100,000. According to LIRR President Helena Williams, the agency hopes to install these same monitors at their 2nd & 3rd busies stations, Jamaica & Flatbush/Atlantic Aves. respectively.

I say this was $100,000 well spent!

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Jamaica Bottleneck Editorial

I just stumbled upon a short editorial written in the Newsday relating to the Jamaica bottleneck that the Long Island Railroad plans to fix. No writer was listed but here is the short editorial anyway:

Jamaica sprint

Anybody who has crawled ever so slowly into the LIRR’s Jamaica station – especially after a speedy express from, say, Huntington – will happily greet the news: This quick-trip killer is going to be removed (although it will take six years to do it). One way to deal with our energy problem is to get more commuters onto trains and out of their cars. But that will only happen if commuters know they can make better time on the train.

No Hitching

Once those LIRR passengers get into the city, they should be sure to stay safe on the subways – by riding inside the cars. A 23-year-old was killed this week after he attempted to hitch a ride on the outside of a C train. It was the second subway-surfing incident in as many months to get attention, though there are likely many other daredevils who tempt fate this way. The MTA is right to keep up its efforts to cut down the practice.

 

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