Subway Delays Up 44%

If you poll a thousand straphangers & asked if they felt subway delays were up, I would bet at least 80% of people would say yes. If they did, they would be 100% correct as subway delays are up 44% according to the latest statistics from New York City Transit. Clemente Lisi of the New York Post has more details:

If it feels like you’ve been waiting longer for the subway, it’s because you have.

Train delays have shot up a whopping 44 percent, with track work – and straphangers holding doors – the leading causes, according to new NYC Transit statistics.

There were 15,158 trains thrown off their schedules during April, the last month for which figures were available.

That compares to 10,559 in the same month last year.

“In order to improve performance, we have to attack every category,” said NYCT President Howard Roberts.

The NYCT considers a train delayed if it arrives at its terminal more than six minutes late.

NYCT statistics show that 4,117 delays were due to ongoing track repairs and work gangs – up from the 2,093 delays in April 2007.

The figures also reveal that 918 trains were delayed because of riders holding doors.

Subway ridership has continued to grow over the past year, which has resulted in more crowded trains and may be the reason there has been a rise in blocked doors.

The previous April, 548 trains were delayed because of passengers blocking doors.

NYCT statistics show that delays have skyrocketed over the past two years.

In the period spanning May 2007 and April 2008, there were an average of 12,573 train delays each month – up from an average of 9,909 between May 2006 and April 2007.

There were an average of 6,808 delayed trains during the period from May 2005 to April 2006.

Last April, the third leading cause of delays was “guard-light trouble.”

The guard light – mounted on the outside of a car – indicates to the conductor that at least one door panel in that car is not properly closed and locked, preventing the train from pulling out of a station.

The number of delays due to guard-light trouble jumped to 833 from 325.

Unruly passengers also caused more trains to be delayed – 819 times this past April compared to 271 in the same month last year.

The figures, presented to an NYCT committee last week, dismayed some MTA board members.

Mark Lebow, one of four reps to the board appointed by Mayor Bloomberg, laced into Roberts and blamed the ballooning delays on a “lack of supervision of what goes on underground.”

“This is what the system is here to do – run on time,” said Lebow.

Roberts told the committee that transit employees are not to blame for the increased delays. He said that the agency was already working on ways to curb future wait times.

Train delays were also caused by several other factors.

Fire or smoke conditions – usually attributed to more garbage on the trucks – caused 695 trains to be delayed in April.

That was up from 393 during the same month last year, according to NYCT statistics.

The number of sick passengers also increased, causing more trains to be delayed.

In April, there were 591 sick riders holding up trains, up from 409 the previous year.

Signal trouble also caused trains to be late, but there were fewer such incidents.

There were 600 delays connected to problems with signals in April – a decrease from the 941 in April of last year.

I must say I am shocked that the number was not higher in terms of straphangers holding the doors. I am sure many who read the article will be quick to trash the MTA. However they should be thankful for the track work as it is a necessity in keeping our transit infrastructure together. I think they do a good job of doing work at times that would inconvenience the least amount of people.

I have one message for my fellow straphangers, stop holding the doors! There will be another train to ride so holding the current one up does more harm than good!