|Embargoed for Release:|
Monday, July 23, 2007, 12:30 p.m.
|For More Info: Gene Russianoff
(212) 349-6460 or (917) 575-9434
Straphangers Campaign Issues Annual “State of the Subways” Report Best: 1 with ‘MetroCard Rating’ of $1.25; Worst: C and W at 65¢
The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign today issued its tenth annual “State of the Subways” Report Card, rating the 1 as the best of 22 subway lines with a “MetroCard Rating” of $1.25 and the C and W the worst with a rating of 65 cents.
The 43-page report is based on an extensive review of official data on subway service, much of which has not been released before on a line-by-line basis. It includes detailed one-page profiles of 22 lines and a Straphangers Campaign “MetroCard Rating.”
The profiles show six measures of service, based on recent data from MTA New York City Transit, largely covering the last half of 2006. The measures are: the amount of scheduled service and the regularity of train arrivals; mechanical failures of subway cars; chance of getting a seat at the most congested point; cleanliness of subway car floors and seats; and adequacy of announcements.
The MetroCard Ratings are a shorthand tool to compare lines and are based on a formula developed in consultation with independent transportation experts. A line could receive a rating of $2.00 if it scored, on average, in the top 5% on the six measures of service.
“Overall, we document a subway system that is stalled, with slightly more breakdowns and no improvement in the number of irregular arrivals or subway car announcements,” said Gene Russianoff, Straphangers Campaign attorney.
Russianoff added: “The MTA faces billions of dollars in deficits in both its operating and rebuilding budgets. But riders are already paying more than their fair share. Any proposal to raise fares should only be seriously considered if and when the state legislature approves Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing proposal and other transit aid, which would raise billions of dollars to fix transit and take pressure off the budget.”
Our findings show the following picture of how New York City’s subways are doing:
1. The best subway line in the city is the 1 for the first time since we began these rankings, with a “MetroCard Rating” of $1.25. The previous top-rated line – the 6 – dropped to a third-place tie. The 1 ranked highest because it performs above average on four of six measures: frequently scheduled service, arriving with more regularity, fewer dirty cars, and better announcements. The line did not get a higher rating because it performed below average on: a chance of getting a seat during rush hours, and delays caused by mechanical breakdowns. The 1 runs between South Ferry in Lower Manhattan and 242nd Street in the Bronx.
2. The C and W were ranked the worst subway lines, with a MetroCard Rating of 65 cents. The C and W lines both have a low level of scheduled service, and each performs below average on three additional measures: car breakdowns, chance of getting a seat during rush hours and announcements. The C and W did not get lower ratings because they perform at or above the system average on arriving with regularity and above average on interior cleanliness. The C line operates between Euclid Avenue in Queens and 168th Street in Manhattan. The W line operates between Ditmas Boulevard in Queens and Whitehall Street in Manhattan.
3. Overall, we found a mixed picture for subway service. On the plus side, the cleanliness of the interior of cars improved form 79% rated clean in the second half of 2005 to 87% for the same time period in 2006. But car breakdowns worsened from a mechanical failure from every 178,085 miles in 2005 to one every 156,624 miles. Two measures remained unchanged: regularity of arriving trains and announcements. (We were unable to compare the remaining two measures.)
4. There are large disparities in how subway lines perform.1
• Breakdowns: Cars on the Q had the best record on delays caused by car mechanical failures: once every 376,877 miles. Cars on the G line had the worst, experiencing breakdown delays more than five times as often: once every 69,361 miles.
• Cleanliness: The B was the cleanest line, with only 6% of their cars having moderate or heavy dirt, while 32% of cars on the dirtiest line — the F — had moderate or heavy dirt, a rate more than five times higher.
• Chance of getting a seat: We rate a rider’s chance of getting a seat at the most congested point on the line. We found the best chance is on the G line, where riders had a 84% chance of getting a seat during rush hour.2 The W ranked worst and was much more overcrowded, with riders having only a 30% chance of getting a seat.
• Amount of scheduled service: The 6 and the 7 lines had the most scheduled service, with two-and-a-half minute intervals between trains during the morning rush hour. The M and W ranked worst, with ten-minute intervals between trains all day.
• Regularity of service: The G line had the greatest regularity of service, arriving within two to four minutes of its scheduled interval 91% of the time. The most irregular line is the 5, which performed with regularity only 81% of the time.
• In-car announcements: The 5 line had a perfect performance for adequate announcements made in its subway cars, missing no announcements. In contrast, the D and Q were the worst, missing announcements 18% of the time.
The Straphangers Campaign’s work to rate the quality of subway and bus service is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which is a leader in supporting the assessment of government services. The full report can be found on here.
2 New York City Transit does not include G line passenger counts in its annual Cordon Count, as the G is the only one of the twenty two major lines not to enter Manhattan’s central business district. For this reason, Straphangers Campaign conducted its own study of peak loading patterns on the G. For more details, see methodology.