Straphangers Release 2008 Subway Report Card

Once again that time of year is here where the Straphangers Campaign releases their annual subway report card. This was the second report released on Tuesday which I mentioned in my previous thread. Now if you recall last year, the 1 train was rated the best line in the system. Unfortunately for the 1 Train train & its legion of fans (if such exist), they were unsuccessful in defending their crown. The winner & the new Straphangers Subway Report Card Champion is the L Train train!

Here are a few samples from the Straphangers’ report:

The best subway line in the city is the L with a MetroCard Rating of $1.40. The L ranked highest because it performs best in the system on two measures—regularity of service and announcements—and well above average on three other measures: frequency of scheduled service, delays caused by mechanical breakdowns and the percentage of dirty cars. The line did not get a higher rating because it performed well below average on: a chance of getting a seat during rush hour. The L runs between 14th Street/Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and Canarsie in Brooklyn. The previous top-rated line—the 1—dropped to a fourth-place tie.

The W was ranked the worst subway line, with a MetroCard Rating of 70 cents. The W line has a low level of scheduled service and performs below average on four other measures: regularity of service, car breakdowns, car cleanliness and announcements. The W did not receive a lower rating because it performed above average on: a chance of getting a seat during rush hour. The W line operates between Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan and Astoria, Queens. In last year’s survey, the W tied for the worst line with the C.

Breakdowns: Cars on the Q had the best record on delays caused by car mechanical failures: once every 342,711 miles. Cars on the G line had the worst, experiencing breakdown delays more than five times as often: once every 67,044 miles.

Regularity of service: The L and the J/Z lines had the greatest regularity of service, arriving within two to four minutes of its scheduled interval 92% of the time. The most irregular line is the 4, which performed with regularity only 78% of the time.

Now here is a listing of the lines in Metrocard value from best (L) to worst (W):

    L: $1.40
    7: $1.30
    Q: $1.25
    1: $1.20
    6: $1.20
    5: $1.15
    J&Z: $1.15
    A: $1.10
    2: $1.05
    3: $1.05
    4: $1.05
    N: $1.05
    D: $1.00
    E: $1.00
    F: $1.00
    R: $1.00
    V: $0.90
    B: $0.80
    C: $0.80
    M: $0.75
    W: $0.70

Click here to view the summary report.

Click here to view the complete report in .pdf format.

Now before you start e-mailing me asking why I forgot to include the G’s Metrocard rating in the list, please know I did not forget. The report did not give a rating to the G due to not having access to reliable crowding data for the line. Should I be surprised that the forgotten stepchild would be left out of something even if it was bad? I feel sorry for those who depend on the most severely unappreciated line in the system. However let me not go there right now….

Just like last year, I am calling bullshit on this line being rated the best. The line obviously scored well due to using a newer fleet of cars & having service run pretty frequently. However did they ask the majority of L riders if they would agree with their findings? Many L riders I know constantly complain about gaps in service at the most random times. When trains do arrive, they are usually packed like sardines & provide a very uncomfortable ride from “Point A” to “Point B”.

While I am not expecting perfect conditions every time I or anyone else ride the L (or any line for that matter), it would be nice to not be packed in like sardines for a majority of our rides. I do not ride the L on a daily basis but I do ride it often. The majority of times I ride the L, I find myself either having a long wait for unknown reasons or deal with a packed train. Quite frankly it feels like I deal with both fronts on the majority of my rides. This is not a line I would consider to be tops in the system.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we find the W Train which rated as the worst line in the system on the report cards. I feel sorry for the line as it along with all the other lines is unfairly graded with such an unscientific manor. One of the main concerns with the report is how they rate the W with the worst performance of a stand-alone line yet in reality it never is an actual stand-alone line. I support the campaign’s effort but If they won’t accurately gauge lines as how they really are, what is the point to undertaking this entire process?

In the end no matter how accurate you consider the report, one thing is for sure. The system needs major improvements across the board & it is up to the riders, politicians, & MTA itself to make sure we do all we can get to bring our transit infrastructure up to the standards we all deserve.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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