Update 1:26 p.m.: The MTA has released the complete survey info. You can get it at the bottom of this post.
The MTA is learning that when you ask honest opinion, you’ll get back an honest answer. And when it comes to the quality of service in the subways, honesty doesn’t lead to high grades.
Later today, the Authority will release the results of the rider report cards for the L train, but The Times’ Cityroom blog already has the story. While the 7 train received a C-minus a few weeks ago, the L train improves on that grade. By a little.
The old BMT 14th St./Canarsie line received a C from its riders. Sewell Chan, with an assist from transit beat writer William Neuman, has more on the grade breakdown:
The mediocre grade is somewhat surprising, given that New York City Transit has spent millions on a computerized system of speakers and electronic signs on the crosstown L line. Yet straphangers who took the survey were unimpressed; they gave a C grade when asked if station announcements on the line were easy to hear and a C-minus when asked if the announcements were informative….
Overall, L train riders said overcrowding was their top priority. Transit officials said they will go ahead with plans already in place to add trains to the line…The top three areas in which L riders wanted to see improvements were more room on board during peak hours; fewer delays during trips; and shorter wait times for trains.
For those of you keeping score — or is that grading? — at home, the L received a D for the “adequate room at rush hour” category only because
giving out an F was not an option a few customers must like feeling as though they’re on an overstuffed cattle car. (Ends up that F was an option!) I’ll have the full grade breakdown later today.
The MTA must be at least somewhat discouraged by this news. As Chan and Neuman note, the MTA has invested a highly-publicized $17.6 million into installing train information screens (that don’t work in an ideal way) and the capacity for automated trains (that don’t seem to work yet either) along stations in the L line. When train information displays at on the Brooklyn-bound 1st Ave. L platform are displaying the minutes until the next 8th Ave.-bound L train, L train riders are apt to rate the line poorly.
For his part, Howard Roberts was gracious in receiving the bad news. He said to Chan and Neuman that due to the overcrowding — which the MTA hopes to alleviate — and the constant service changes and shuttle buses, he was “not totally surprised” by the mediocre grade. But the MTA is now pulling down a C/C- on your typical grading scale.
I hope the MTA has plans to address the myriad concerns raised in these reports. We’re hearing the same issues — overcrowding, poor rush hour service, incomprehensible announcements — over and over again. And while a C may be good enough for the President of the United States, it sure isn’t acceptable to those of us riding the New York City subways every day.
|Rider Ratings of Service||2007 Grade|
|Minimal delays during trips||C-|
|Reasonable wait times for trains||C|
|Adequate room on board at rush hour||D|
|Sense of security in stations||C+|
|Sense of security on trains||C+|
|Working elevators and escalators in stations||C-|
|Signs in stations that help riders find their way||C+|
|Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way||B-|
|Cleanliness of stations||C-|
|Cleanliness of subway cars||C+|
|Station announcements that are easy to hear||C|
|Station announcements that are informative||C-|
|Train announcements that are easy to hear||C|
|Train announcements that are informative||C|
|Lack of graffiti in stations||C+|
|Lack of graffiti in subway cars||B-|
|Lack of scratchitti in subway cars||C+|
|Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel||C|
|Comfortable temperature in subway cars||B-|
|Ease of use of subway turnstiles||B-|
|Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines||B-|
And for your enjoyment, the aspects of the L line that need improvement, in ordering of ranking. While “adequate room on board at rush hour” is number one on the list, it didn’t get a failing grade.
1. Adequate room on board at rush hour
2. Minimal delays during trips
3. Reasonable wait times for trains
4. Cleanliness of stations
5. Sense of security in stations
6. Sense of security on trains
7. Station announcements that are easy to hear
8. Station announcements that are informative
9. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
10. Train announcements that are easy to hear
11. Train announcements that are informative
12. Working elevators and escalators in stations
13. Cleanliness of subway cars
14. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
15. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
16. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
17. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
18. Lack of scratchitti in subway car
19. Lack of graffiti in stations
20. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
21. Lack of graffiti in subway cars