One of my favorite things to do during my commute, besides searching for subway etiquette violations to expose on Gothamist, is to photograph the train car number when I realize that the air-conditioning isn't working. That way, I can send a helpful Tweet to @NYCTSubway and help the MTA target which train cars need some time at the workshop.
— Jen Chung (@jenchung) June 15, 2018
Ugh I know her
— Michelle Collins (@michcoll) June 15, 2018
is 1872 the year it was built
— Colin Campbell (@colincampbell) June 15, 2018
Then, I realized that I had Tweeted about this same train car on Tuesday!
— Jen Chung (@jenchung) June 12, 2018
And the MTA's social media team (literally some of the most patient people in the world) responded:
Hi, Jen - thanks for flagging. We’ve notified supervision and will make repairs if needed. ^JV
— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) June 12, 2018
"If needed".... inspired by @MJHDBQ, I did some digging, and there have been many complaints about this specific train car from this month, last month, last year, 2016, 2015...
— Adrian Mak (@adrianmak) June 7, 2018
@NYCTSubway the heat is on in this uptown 1 train (just left Columbus circle) car 1872 😖
— Dara Swisher (@DaraSwisher) May 17, 2018
@NYCTSubway It's that time of year - no AC on 1 train car #1872
— Becky Spurr (@becky_spurr) May 23, 2017
Alright @NYCTSubway - noting the car # this time. Car 1872 on 1 NB. No A/C. Same occurrence yday - unsure of car #.
— Alexa Hess (@amh_hess) October 19, 2016
Adjacent hot cars! #1871 & #1872.
— Robert Eshleman (@RobertEshleman) August 12, 2016
@NYCTSubway there is no air conditioner on the 1 train - car 1872. And this has been common for days.
— Lauren A (@PlanetLaurenA) July 21, 2015
So what gives? When Gothamist explored this topic in 2011, we learned that one factor is that older train cars' air-conditioning system can be a "challenge". In 2016, an MTA spokesperson explained to WNYC that newer train cars (you know, like the ones on the F or L train) "have separate HVAC systems, where if one fails, you can use another within that car" but the R62As, used mostly for 1 and 6 train service, are from the 1980s. "The technology at the time provided for one compressor for each of the air units in the car," an MTA spokesman told us in 2011. "So if you lost that one compressor, you basically lost all of the air for that entire car."
Today, MTA spokesman Shams Tarek told me, "Cars with faulty HVAC systems don’t wait for regularly scheduled maintenance - they’re taken out of service and fixed and returned to service immediately."
My first activity on Twitter in 9 years is to let you know that on the No.1 line, Car 1847 has no AC. 9 years silence broken for this!! That should make the work order for the repair go to top of the list! :) Thanks.
— Tony Reen (@TonyReen) June 8, 2018
In addition to notifying the MTA, another helpful gesture is to warn others who are about to board the hot train car that there's no air-conditioning. Most people will appreciate it, while others will welcome the opportunity to Live Like A Victorian.