By Dave Jasmin ’20
Briinng…Briinng! It’s 7:30 a.m. and your alarm goes off. You realize you’re late for work so you quickly take a shower and rush out the house. You run to the nearest train station, swipe your MetroCard, and hop on a downtown 4 train to Manhattan. A few minutes after finding a seat you take a breather and realize you might just make it to work on time. But suddenly, the train stops and the conductor says, “Attention passengers, this is your conductor speaking. The train is being delayed due to train traffic ahead of us. We’ll be moving shortly.”
From the 112-year-old system to the constant rail disruptions, delays and other various incidents are the norm when it comes to taking the train in New York City. Every day brings another set of announcements about train service disruptions or signal problems. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) does its best to get its passengers to their designated destinations, but there always seems to be a delay on the way. The New York City subway system is one of the worst on-time performing transit systems in the country, and the government must create change to ensure that riders can get to where they need to go on time.
New York City’s subway system comprises 665 miles of track, 472 stations, and 27 subway lines and serves almost six million riders every day. The government doesn’t give any attention to the MTA and because of that, it’s beginning to deteriorate. According to the New York Times, Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York General Assembly, wanted to turn the Fulton Street Station into the “Grand Central” of Downtown Manhattan, but at the same time, the subways’ components are crippling, including signal failures, trash on the tracks, stalled trains, etc.
Alternate views about these delays are that the government focuses much of its attention on the subways and the reason that they are not running well is because of the MTA workers. The delays are usually caused because workers fail to do their job and because of that, trains can’t operate properly. According to the Daily News, “the MTA doesn’t give newly hired subway operators the same quality training they received years ago, leading to gaffes and screw-ups that delay rides and endanger straphangers.”
Many students, along with myself, take the trains in the morning to get to school, but due to significant delays, we usually end up getting to class late. In 2015, passengers were able to request late-to-work slips from the MTA to validate that delays caused them to be late. Today, students are not given that choice and because of that, they are marked late and/or absent. Alternatively, students are told to allot themselves extra time to get to their destinations, but sometimes it’s just out of their reach.
If the government focuses on increasing the efficiency of the subways and making sure the trains run smoothly, more passengers will feel comfortable taking the train. Currently, too many passengers resort to Ubers and/or Lyfts. According to the New York Times, the MTA will lose $10 million a year to Ubers and/or Lyfts. The system needs more capacity for trains to run efficiently, as well as new lines to help transport this growing population of subway riders.
These delays are beyond the workers because these incidents happen almost every day. No matter how much work the workers put in to provide a clean subway and a good commute, the government fails to provide stronger signals and new trains that will run smoother.
If anything needs to change, it must be the government’s methods of fixing the problems that occurs in our subway stations.