MTA blames 'isolated case of human error' for nightmare commute from Queens

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) -- Signal problems created a commuting nightmare for riders traveling from Queens to Manhattan Monday morning, with the MTA blaming an "isolated case of human error."

The issue near Grand Central-42nd Street significantly disrupted a.m. rush-hour service on the 7 line, with Manhattan-bound service suspended for a time.

On Monday afternoon, Vice President of MTA NYC Transit Sally Librera said the incident was the result of a mistake made during weekend track work.

"Significant disruption on 7 line passengers this morning was an isolated case of human error," she said. "Track work in the area over the weekend, in order to do work, we removed transponder. And when we returned it, it was returned to the incorrect location. Because it was in the incorrect location, our signals weren't able to correctly identify the placement of the train, and they appropriately slowed trains down and spaced them farther out so we can operate safely."

Some Hudson Yards-bound 7 trains were terminating at 74th Street-Broadway, Queensboro Plaza or Hunters Point Avenue.

The R, N, Q, F, M, B and D lines were also impacted, causing headaches for commuters kicking off their first full week after the holidays.

Riders were advised to expect delays on northbound R trains while they shared the local track with N trains because of a signal problem at 36th Street in Brooklyn.

Southbound F and M trains have also resumed making regular stops between Queens and Manhattan after the malfunctioning switch at 36th Street in Queens was repaired.

"This morning's citywide signal meltdown is an unacceptable reminder of how far Governor Cuomo still has to go to fix the subway," Riders Alliance Policy and Communications Director Danny Pearlstein said. "Once again this new year, New Yorkers look to our governor to put transit reliability at the top of his agenda. Congestion pricing is coming, the MTA has a plan to modernize signals, and the governor needs to make it all happen on time. To get the job done, he'll need to keep a laser-like focus on the core infrastructure that matters most to New Yorkers."

Commuters were urged to take the LIRR, which was cross-honoring MetroCard holders at no additional charge at Flushing/Main Street, Woodside, and Penn Station in both directions.

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