MTA chief on subway delays: 'We understand that everyone is frustrated'

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Kemberly Richardson has the details on the latest subway delays. (Photo/Shutterstock)

The MTA has ordered a top-to-bottom review of how it handles and responds to delays in New York City's subway system.

The announcement was made at a board meeting Wednesday morning. It comes on the heels of a number of recent incidents that delayed trains during rush hour, including some as recent as Tuesday.

The plan includes spending more money than ever before to improve the tracks, switches and signals, and to continue with the MTA's ongoing subway improvement plan.

"Subway delays have become increasingly frustrating for all of us," MTA Interim Executive Director Veronique Hakim said. "Let me at the outset say we understand that everyone is frustrated, they have a right to be. I am directing a top to bottom review of how we handle and respond to delays in the subway system."

Hakim added that the problems of the aging subway system can't be fixed overnight, but how the MTA responds to these events can certainly be improved.

"Some of these recent incidents highlight the fact that we need to improve our communication both within our subway system and on our trains affected by delays," she said. "But I want the riding public to know we are attacking this with an all hands on deck attitude in a number of ways."

But the confidence of straphangers is going to be tough to regain.

"Even when I give myself like 15 or 20 extra minutes, there are those days when there are signal problems and delays," subway rider Nicole Bonds said. "I end up being 15 minutes late for work."

Hakim said the MTA is spending $2.1 billion in the current capital campaign to modernize the signal system. For comparison's sake, the MTA spent $1.3 billion in 9 years starting in 2000 and $1.9 billion in the 4-year plan that started in 2010.

The MTA is already in the process of fixing old signals, Hakim said, installing modern equipment and doing all of that at an "unprecedented" pace. She noted that the signals that failed Tuesday at Herald Square were from the 1930s.

She said the new subway cars that the MTA will put into service at a future date will help improve service, too.

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