Surprise: there's a big difference between the kind of efficiency commuter rails are reporting and the delays commuters are experiencing. Though New Jersey Transit and Metro North Rail Road claim almost 96% of trains were on time last year, the Times discovered the numbers were vastly skewed by trains that ran on time during off-peak hours. During rush hours, they found almost 25% of NJT trains coming into Manhattan were running late, and LIRR customers traveling from Huntington to Manhattan arrive late one out of every ten trips. But if a train is always late doesn't that become the new "on time"?

In their interactive graphic, the Times breaks down NJT, LIRR and MNRR service by time of day and destination. NJT has the worst service overall, but the Ronkonkoma to Penn Station trip on the LIRR is late one out of every four trips. MNRR riders from Scarborough have the best chances, with overall service late only one out of every 250 trips. But though commuters may not know the specific numbers, many assume the worst out of habit. One LIRR commuter said, "I plan on the six minutes extra; it’s part of my schedule."

Excuses for poor service range from difficulties with diesel engines, old trains, and backups caused by trains having to merge onto one track. But the problem is hardly new; the Times says back in 1955 the LIRR stopped publishing on-time performance stats because, "People just wouldn’t believe us." Still, you know Don Draper never had it this bad.