The Straphangers Campaign has released its annual State of the Subway report card and the results will maybe surprise you. Really depends on what subways you frequent. The big news? For the first time since 2001 the Q train has been given top honors. Meanwhile the C train was ranked the worst line in the system, again. In fact, it was the fourth year in a row the troubled line got that dubious distinction.
Coming in behind the Q on the top of the list were the 7, J/Z, 1 and L trains. You can read the whole report below, but here's the important breakdown of the rankings, straight from the Straphangers' mouth:
Breakdowns: The E had the best record on delays caused by car mechanical failures: once every 816,935 miles. The C was worst, with a car breakdown rate more than twelve times higher: every 64,324 miles.
Cleanliness: The 1 was the cleanest line, with only 3% of cars having moderate or heavy dirt, while the dirtiest line — the C — had 25% of its cars rated moderately or heavily dirty, a rate more than eight times higher.
Chance of getting a seat: We rate a rider’s chance of getting a seat at the most congested point on the line. We found the best chance is on the R, where riders had a 71% chance of getting a seat during rush hour at the most crowded point. The 5 ranked worst and was much more overcrowded, with riders having only a 23% chance of getting a seat, three times worse.
Amount of scheduled service: The 6 line had the most scheduled service, with two-and-a-half minute intervals between trains during the morning and evening rush hours. The C ranked worst, with nine- or ten-minute intervals between trains all through the day.
Regularity of service: The J/Z line had the greatest regularity of service, arriving within 25% of its scheduled interval 82% of the time. The most irregular line was the 5, which performed with regularity only 70% of the time.
Announcements: The 4 and Q lines had a perfect performance for adequate announcements made in subway cars, missing no announcements and reflecting the automation of announcements. The 7 line was worst, missing announcements 29% of the time.
What's worse? The C line won't be getting any better until new trains are added to the line (not for a few more years). Meanwhile, if you are wondering why the G train doesn't have a "MetroCard Rating," well, blame the MTA: "The G line does not receive a MetroCard Rating as reliable data on crowding for that line is not available."
So how is the MTA responding to this latest report card? Here's their official response:
Improvements to MTA New York City Transit’s subway service are evident throughout the system, from the results of our FASTRACK maintenance program, to the implementation of Countdown Clocks and even the progress being made at major construction initiatives like the Fulton Center Station complex. While we appreciate the positive results of the Straphanger’s latest survey, those results do not tell the full story. We believe that NYC Transit’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI) methodology, reported monthly in the Committee Agenda, offer a fairer and more complete assessment of subway service and includes information gleaned from actual customer surveys taken from the passengers’ point of view.
Additional background on the C line: One area where the Straphanger’s Report found service in need of improvement was the scheduled wait time between C trains. It should be noted, however, that frequency of service is based on ridership and must take into account that other services often share the same track. For instance, along different parts of the route, C trains share tracks with D trains, B trains, E trains and A trains. The Straphanger’s report would be more relevant if it viewed service by corridor rather than by individual train line. Lastly, continuing our commitment to improving service, 300 new subway cars are currently on order for lettered-line routes and their arrival will help further modernize our car fleet by allowing us to retire C Line cars (R32s), which are the oldest in current operation.
Want more subway stats? Check out this fun fun data-mining of the MTA's ridership information from 2011.