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4 out of 5 morning commutes were delayed by signal problems in 2019: report

January 14, 2020 Jonathan Sperling

Signal malfunctions delayed subway trains on 78 percent of weekday morning commutes in 2019, according to a new analysis from a group of public transit advocates.

Members of Riders Alliance, TransitCenter, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Reinvent Albany studied MTA alert data to gauge the progress of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Subway Action Plan, which started in 2017. Despite the high numbers, it’s still an upgrade from 2018, when malfunctioning signals resulted in delays in 92 percent of morning commutes.

The 2018 report found that the F train, which runs through Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, experienced the most rush hour signal delays, followed by the 5 train, the M train and the A train. The 2019 report did not provide a similar breakdown.

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“Four out of five mornings with signal problems is still pretty bad,” Riders Alliance Communications Director Danny Pearlstein said in a statement. “The governor needs [to] tell us when we can expect meaningful improvements. With congestion pricing coming and the MTA Capital Program approved, New Yorkers need to know when signal upgrades will happen on subway lines across the city.”

The report comes as Cuomo’s Subway Action Plan approaches its Jan. 15 deadline, and at the start of the 2020-2024 MTA Capital Program, which promises to improve subway infrastructure citywide and increase station accessibility.

“Despite Governor Cuomo’s promises of a subway rebound, riders are not yet out of the woods,” said Colin Wright, a senior associate at TransitCenter. “This data shows riders are still too often delayed by signal meltdowns and malfunctioning subway cars. Governor Cuomo and the MTA have broadly described how they plan to fix the subway, but they need to fill in the details with a timetable for signal improvements and other critical upgrades riders are depending on.”

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