It certainly seems like rush hour's getting worse, what with delay after delay turning mornings and evenings into a claustrophobic circus of horrors. And it turns out you may be able to blame the parka-clad bodies softly crushing you like a bag full of cottonballs for your frequent tardiness—apparently, the subways are so overcrowded they've contributed to a significant increase in delays.
According to the Post, weekday trains were delayed a total of 14,843 times in December 2014, up 113 percent from the same month the year prior (for reference's sake, 30 percent of A and F trains were delayed in 2014.) The tabloid says one of the biggest contributing factors is that too goddamn many people are riding the trains, and crowding is making it all the more difficult for people to board and exit cars in a safe and timely fashion.
The MTA, which has not yet responded to our request for comment, knows this, and they've already assigned platform conductors to busy stations like 42nd Street-Grand Central in hopes of alleviating some of the crowding. At a board meeting in December, MTA chief Tom Prendergast floated the idea of putting even more platform conductors on duty in the mornings to keep subway doors from getting jammed.
Ridership is up significantly, and in September, the MTA released data showing that the 4 and 5 trains have a peak ridership as high as 103 percent at Union Square on the Bronx-bound tracks, and as high as 104 percent on the Brooklyn-bound tracks at 86th Street. Other trains are just as smushed—downtown 2,3 trains peaked at 99 percent capacity at 72nd Street, and the nefarious L hits 97 percent at Bedford Avenue. It seems likely that winter's ice and snow drives even more commuters and their puffy coats into the subway, now that biking and walking have become borderline treacherous in the tundra.
Before you start hurling curses at the MTA though, note that all those irritating weekend and overnight service changes we keep complaining about are thanks to track work that aims to keep trains running smoothly, presumably so an entire's evening commute doesn't unravel thanks to, say, a broken rail on the L train. With as many as six million people flooding the trains at a given time, there's a lot that needs to be done to prevent the system from imploding entirely, which is a thing that seems like it's happened before, but in fact has not. Hate-Tweet at will, but also let people off the train before you try squeezing in, we beg of you.