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Deciphering the MTA's Plan to End Subway Delays

May 19 2017

Newsflash, the MTA has only now realized what we riders have known for years, that subway service is sub-par. Constant delays and changes in service cause headaches to commuters on a daily basis. Now the MTA has finally decided to own up to these service issues.

MTA six point plan>
<p>Earlier this week, the MTA released a six point plan to

The top five causes of delays

The MTA has identified the top causes of delays on the subway, and this initiative will directly address these problems. The issues are mostly due to archaic equipment, but are also caused by riders such as sick passengers, holding the subway doors or police activity. If we would all stop pushing each other in or out of the subway, we could all get to where we are going a little bit faster.

The top five causes of delays are:

  1. Track and signal issues
  2. Sick passengers and police activity
  3. Subway car equipment failures
  4. Loading and unloading in stations
  5. Bottlenecks that occur at critical points in the system where lines merge

Breaking down the MTA improvement plan

The new initiative plans to target the above causes of delays. The six point plan will begin immediately, with the 8th avenue corridor being addressed first. Here is what's behind the MTA's six-point improvement plan.

1. Reorganizing MTA leadership

This entails separating the position of Chairman and CEO. By doing so, the MTA believes it will strengthen its leadership roster and be better able to tackle the capital improvements required. The positions are vacant after the departure of Chairman/CEO Tom Prendergast earlier this year. The MTA Search Committee is actively looking working to fill the two positions.

2. New subway cars and improved car maintenance procedures

On order are 300 new R179 subway cars, the first batch of which will be arriving this fall and the rest delivered by September 2018. An additional 450 new R211 cars are also on track to be delivered.

Subway car breakdowns cause delays not only to the affected train but for trains all along the line. For example on the 8th Avenue line, delays last 19 minutes on average. That 19 minutes of breakdown can cause a ripple effect of delays. To address this, the MTA will conduct a complete overhaul of its car maintenance procedures, adding additional inspectors and ensuring that every car is inspected before it leaves the rail yard. In addition, they will be more proactive in replacing key components before they fail, focusing on doors, heating and air conditioning, and master controllers, which historically have been the source of the most frequent failures.

3. Improving tracks and signals

When riding the subway it seems like signal and switch failures are constantly cited as the reason for the delay. That is because when a failure is sensed, this engages a fail-safe and everything stops. Although this ensures rider safety, it also causes timely delays. Plans are underway to improve the way tracks and signals work to reduce the amount of time needed to check and respond to issues.

4. Mitigating delays associated with sick


Reduced 2 and 3 Train Weekend Service This Spring

Dec 12 2016

MTA subway repairs

Photo courtesy of flickr/mtaphotos

Starting Spring 2017, weekend service on the 2 and 3 trains will be suspended between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

These closures are necessary to repair the Clark Street tunnel which was damaged during Superstorm Sandy. The tunnel runs for 1.2 miles beneath the East River, connecting over 200,000 commuters living and working between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

How long will this service change be in affect?

Well, as with any repair work on the subway lines, the goal is to get the work done as quickly as possible in the least disruptive way possible. The proposed work will occur over 56 weekends so as not to affect weekday service. Nevertheless, that means for more than one year, there will be no 2 or 3 trains during the weekend between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Several other changes will occur to offset the impacts. Read more about the changes on the MTA website.

The Clark Street Tube project is the seventh major tunnel restoration project due to Sandy. Repairs have been completed on the Montague R Tube, Greenpoint G Tube, and the Steinway 7 Tube, and work is ongoing in the Cranberry A,C, Joralemon 4, 5, and 53 St E,M Tubes. And who can forget the upcoming Canarsie L tube repairs. Ugh.


Introducing our new redesigned website and logo

Sep 26 2016

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of our new redesigned website at and new logo. The newly designed website offers quick and easy access to essential New York City subway information and features subway statistics and analytics in a clear, visually-appealing format.

This update is the second redesign in the history of SubwayStats, which has been helping New Yorkers improve their commute since 2012. The new design implements a horizontal stripe layout to better organize information on the page.

The new homepage lists all trains in the MTA subway system and the current status for each train, as well as their Uptime Percentage. The uptime percentage is the percentage of the day that the train is in “Good Service” and this percentage is displayed as a progress bar. The trains are organized by uptime, with the train with the highest uptime percentage displayed in the top left column.

NYC subway train summary data-verified=

By drilling down into each subway line, users can quickly see the current status of the train and any service statuses posted by the MTA.

The analytics and statistical charts for each train have also been refreshed with a clean, beautiful design. This new design will allow the user to more easily understand the daily performance of their train and compare the train’s average performance with the average performance of all subway lines in the NYC subway system.

NYC subway daily performance data-verified=

The website also includes a map of the New York City subway system, as well as a blog section in which news pertaining to subway service, events and other relevant information are posted.

Along with the new redesign, we’ve also updated our logo. The new logo incorporates the two primary offerings of SubwayStats: subway service information and statistics about each subway line’s performance.

SubwayStats logo data-verified=

We hope you enjoy the new design, and as always, feel free to share any feedback or comments you may have with us on Facebook or Twitter.


L Train to Shut Down for 18 Months

Jul 26 2016

Photo courtesy of flickr/susan sermoneta

Photo courtesy of flickr/susan sermoneta

As if your commute wasn't bad enough, it's only going to get worse.

The MTA yesterday reached a decision to shut down the L train for 18 months beginning in 2019. The other option, partial service on the L train line for 3 years, was voted against.

The closure will affect the L train from 8th Avenue in Manhattan to Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. The Brooklyn side of the L train will continue to operate as normal.

The closure is necessary to make repairs to the Canarsie Tube L train tunnel that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Hurricane Sandy's toll on the L line included flooding of seven miles of the tube, damaging tracks, signals, signal cables, lighting, switches and more and stranding many in their homes in Brooklyn.

The tunnel connects millions of passengers between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Over 400,000 people ride the L train each day, with 225,000 of them traveling along the Carnasie Tube. This means that millions of passengers living in Brooklyn and commuting to Manhattan will have to find a different way to get to work. The MTA will run buses along the route to replace the subway, and passengers may opt to take the the ferry instead. Another option is to connect to alternate subway lines between Manhattan and North Brooklyn, like the G train or the JMZ line.

There is no way of sugar coating it. The shut down will cause some major headaches to travelers who rely on the L train. However, this closure is necessary to prevent future and further damage, and in my opinion, it is better to get it over with quickly. The end result will hopefully bring improved services to the L train and make Williamsburg and Bushwick an even more desirable neighborhood to live.


Subway Passengers Are Not Enjoying the Ride

Nov 18 2015

Waiting for the subway

Photo courtesy of flickr/romankphoto

The MTA recently released the results of its annual ridership survey, and no surprise here, the results are dismal. Survey respondents gave worse ratings to their subway line, frequency of train service, reliability, and comfort and convenience, compared to the last survey. Overall, the MTA's approval rating was 74% satisfied, down from 78% from the 2014 survey.

15 out of 20 subway line passengers are waiting longer on average for their train during the week with the R, N, D and 6 trains experiencing the most delays. The MTA is quick to counter that they have already implemented new strategies to get trains moving on the 6, 7 and F lines, such as running two extra trains during the morning rush hour. And of course, they point out that they are not the only ones to blame for the problems. Sick passengers, holding doors and trash on the tracks has a ripple effect that can effect train service for long after.

Part of the problem stems from the overcrowding in the subways. The number of riders has increased 2.6% over the past year, and over 8% in the last five years. Even with the recent expansion of the 2nd avenue line, it is clear that subway service cannot match the growing population of riders, especially in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn like Williamsburg. In fact, overcrowding caused delays on 20,000 trains just in the course of one month.

Despite the mediocre ratings, don't hold your breath for improvements with your current level of service.


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