Today hasn’t been the best day of the year for me. I just wrapped up two hours spent dealing with a TimeBridge e-mail sent to every single one of my Gmail contacts. Prior to that, however, I had a lovely Monday morning commute.
Arriving at the 7th Ave. stop in Brooklyn at around 8:30 a.m., hordes of people standing on the platform greeted me. This should have been a warning sign, but when a B pulled up a few minutes later, I eagerly smushed myself into the packed car. I needed to get to class post haste, and the train had just enough room for me. After pulling in to De Kalb Ave., we sat for longer than normal, and once in the tunnel approaching the Manhattan Bridge, the dreaded announcement came.
“Due to a sick passenger at 7th Ave. in Manhattan, this train will be going up the Broadway line,” intoned the conductor. Why couldn’t she tell us this before leaving De Kalb? As we crossed the bridge, I spied a B train just sitting on the Sixth Ave. side, facing an interminable red signal. At Canal St., I switched to an uptown R and made it to class just a few minutes late.
Little was I surprised then upon scanning the daily headlines to come across a story on the increasing number of subway delays in The Post. While a sick passenger is hardly the same as an avoidable delay, the news is alarming nonetheless. Reports Bill Sanderson:
New Yorkers’ subway commutes have slowed significantly over the last three years, according to the latest NYC Transit data. The city is still far from the 1970s bad old days of broken-down, graffiti-scarred trains – but the downward trend in the quality of subway service is unmistakable.
Through June, the number of delayed trains is up an average 24 percent from two years earlier, and 71 percent from three years earlier. And the distance trains travel without breaking down was down 7 percent in July from two years earlier, and 17 percent from three years earlier.
Subway bosses blame the problems on more track work, heavy ridership, and less money for maintaining cars.
In other words, if your ride seems slower than it used to, that’s because it is, and this problem figures to get worse before it gets any better.