A troubling trend in the city's subways has riders, advocates and even some MTA board members alarmed. Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has the story.
Jam-packed and going nowhere. For many subway riders — it's a daily tale of woe.
"The trains are so crowded and they're so slow and people are getting sick," said one rider. "The 4, 5 and 6, all three trains, need to have better situations in the morning."
"It is a lot more uncomfortable taking the subway with the overcrowding," said another.
The MTA's own numbers back the complaints.
Trains are breaking down more frequently, riders are waiting longer for trains and on-time performance is slipping.
On Monday, some of the agency's own board members said not enough is being done to reduce the delays.
"Service as a whole ranges in the view of the ridership as somewhere between 'poor' and 'fugeddaboutit,'" said board member Charles Moerdler.
Numbers released Monday show more than 60,000 delays in weekday service in November, an increase of nearly 0,000 delays over November 2015. Overcrowding was to blame for nearly half of the late trains.
"When I look at the 5 line, on-time performance is at 37 percent now and we started up in the 80s and 90s in 2013," said Ellyn Shannon, with the Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.
"Nobody can walk away from that," said Moerdler. "You can put sugar, you can put paint on the pig, it ain't going to be anything other than a pig."
A big reason for the overcrowding is surging ridership. The subways carried 5.7 million people on an average weekday in 2015 — the most since the 1940s. Numbers for 2016 are not yet available.
"The issue isn't just what it is and beating ourselves up as to how bad it is, because I think there's uniform agreement on that," said Moerdler. "I think the issue is, 'What are we doing to fix it?'"
Officials say new signal systems should ease the delays, by allowing more trains to run per hour.
The 7 line will be the second to get the new signals, later this year.
The slam on subway service came as the MTA board this week decides by just how much to raise the fare — which would be the sixth fare hike since 2008.