Commuters endured more subway delays this April, just one month after the MTA increased subway fares to $2.75. Systemwide, trains on weekdays were delayed 48,984 times, a 15.3% increase over last April, according to stats made public by the MTA [pdf] yesterday. Weekend delays were even worse, increasing 33.3% compared to April 2014.
"The MTA admits the subways are not out of the woods yet," said Gene Russianoff from the Straphangers Campaign. "But it’s worse. Some parts of the system are totally lost in the woods—tormenting riders with unreliable service, car breakdowns and delays."
The subway system's robust ridership continues to contribute to overcrowding problems, which in turn delay trains and make them more crowded, ultimately trapping us in an endless Möbius strip of Twitter bitching. The MTA attributed 17,052 weekday delays to overcrowding in April, a 65% increase from last year. It was even worse on April weekends, with overcrowding delays increasing 141% over last year.
The delays appear to be part of a broader trend: overall delays last year increased approximately 45.6% from over 2013. But the MTA says these "terminal delays"—counted when a train reaches its final stop more than five minutes late—are not the important stat. Instead, the MTA says it's focusing more on spacing trains evenly to reduce overcrowding and cut the amount of time commuters spend waiting on platforms. This strategy, the MTA says, partly explains the terminal delay increases.
"Remember that these results (which incidentally are better than the March numbers) are from before we started our big push to reduce delays with shorter announcements, platform conductors, step-aside boxes, new staging of maintenance crews, and preventative maintenance for problems," MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said. "And most importantly, wait assessment—the measure of how long you have to wait for the next train—is improving."
Wait assessment is defined as "the percent of actual intervals between trains that are no more than the scheduled interval plus 25%." Overall, there has been a minuscule 0.1% improvement in trains meeting the MTA's wait assessment standard—78.8% meeting the standard over 78.7% for the same time period. The MTA's goal for 2015 is for 80% of trains to be spaced somewhat evenly (within 25% of its scheduled interval time).
Here's an 8-bit video explaining how the MTA is trying to deal with service disruptions by controlling the spacing between trains:
If you found this commute frustrating, tell your state representatives and Governor Cuomo to stop robbing the MTA of badly needed funding and figure out a way to come up with more cash for a 21st Century subway system.