Saturday, January 24, 2009


Most of you are probably convinced that the subway train you ride on every day must be the worst, most delayed line of them all. We're convinced of that because it's our primary route to work, school or play. Most of us don't have much else to compare it to. For instance, I take the F every day and I think it's the slowest of them all. The few times I've taken the G, I thought the same way. So, which line is the worst? I sought to find out.

A few months back, I subscribed to a new MTA service, which emails you instant reports on delays, everything from sick customers to water conditions. So, over the past week, I logged all of these events and came up with a fascinating assessment of the best and worst.

New York City Transit operates 24 lines on over 842 miles of track in four of the five boroughs of New York City. Staten Island has its own light rail system. Of those 24 lines, 11 of them had problems that caused delays in the one week period. 13 Lines, the 6, 7, J, L, M, N, Q, R, S and W reported no delays.

So you wonder, what's the worst. According to the weekly statistics tracked by the Blog, the 2 & 3 trains top the list with a total of eight incidents, all but one of them signal and mechanical problems. There was one "sick customer."

In the number two spot was the E & C lines, which tied for six delaying incidents. The problems included mechanical, signal, water and rail issues with a police investigation and a sick customer thrown in for good measure.

The B train came in a close third with five incidents in one week. The list shakes out like this:

1) 2/3

2) E/C

3) B

4) 1,2,F

5) D

6) 4/5, A, V

So at a glance, you'd suspect the train line most likely to have delays would be the 2/3 line. However, that's not totally accurate. For instance, last Monday, after boarding my F train at the Carroll St. station, the train was 45-minutes late arriving at my destination, 34th street in Manhattan. The conductor explained track work and a backlog of trains in the stations was to blame. However, there was no mention of that on any of the MTA's email alerts. So, imagine how many other delaying incidents were not reported. The MTA takes a lot of heat for delays, overcrowding and rising fares, but when all is said and done, the New York City Subway system is a pretty inexpensive, efficient way of getting around town. Give'm a break, now and then.

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