Nos. 2, 5 subway lines lead way in service alerts

A train arrives to the Astor Place station early Friday, Dec. 16, 2005 in New York. (AP Photo/ Dima Gavrysh)

May 9, 2012 1:07:00 PM PDT
Ride the number 2 line and you will know how service delays can impact your daily routine.

"Most times you have to wait 15 minutes for the two to come, so it's always and issue when you're trying to get to school, or work, or wherever it may be," one straphanger said.

Tracking email and cell phones alerts to these delays from 2011, which the Straphangers Campaign calls "controllable significant incidents," they discovered the Number 2 line led the "worst" list with 251 service delays. That's 8% of nearly 3,000 for the year. The 5 line is next with 247 delays.

"By next year, we will be able to use 2011 alerts as a foundation to say whether the lines have gotten better, stayed the same or gotten worse," Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said.

Watch for signals and you will find the leading cause for many of the delays. More than 1-thousand times signals were to blame, followed by mechanical problems and switches.

The MTA agrees with the signal problems. "That is why signal upgrades remain a top priority and are a crucial part of our capital program," a MTA spokesperson said.

"They are planning to spend two billion dollars on new signal systems in the next couple of years and more in the future. It directly pays off in fewer delays," Russianoff said.

Guess what lines had the fewest delays? The G line with just 45 followed by the J and Z with 58.

The MTA says, "76,000 subway customers used the information in 7,800 alerts in 2011 to learn about service disruptions."

Information is power. It's the same way people love the countdown clocks in the system. They should be signing up for these alerts too," Russianoff said.

That way the next delay is not your next surprise.

To read the full report, visit

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