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Overcrowding is to blame for a 113 percent spike in train delays

Will Gleason

No, you’re not going crazy. The subway really has been running with a lot more delays recently, contributing to plenty of soul-crushing rush hour commutes and late mornings at the office. Feel free to forward this post along to your boss. 

New data—containing some of the most depressing numbers we’ve ever seen outside of tax season—was released by the MTA on Monday, and it paints a pretty bleak picture of New York’s subway system. In December 2014, there were a whopping 14,843 delays. That’s a 113 percent increase from the previous year. According to the New York Post, the delays weren’t constrained by the workweek either. Weekend delays were up 146 percent with 2,314 delays.

The reason? Apparently, the subway is getting too popular for its own good. The MTA cites overcrowding as the primary reason for delays, combined with other pesky human behaviors like blocking subway doors and slow boarding. They hope to address some of that with their new Courtesy Campaign, featuring posters discouraging things like manspreading and holding doors. (They could also just distribute our list of 20 things any good NYC commuter should know.)

Overall, our current suffering may just be a case of short-term pain for long-term gain. Another contributing factor to current delays is ongoing repairs of Superstorm Sandy damage and maintenance work that’s part of the MTA’s capital plan. The planned work is expected to contribute to more reliable trains in the future.

So you can at least keep that nice thought in mind, when the L train turns you into a weekday Cinderella next month.


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