By Philip Newman
Announcements as to the next station, delays and other information are available only 46 percent of the time on the J/Z, according to a survey by the transit activist agency Straphangers Campaign.The best subway line in the system for announcements was the No. 5 on Lexington Avenue, which has high-tech automated announcements both audible and in electronic-lighted display. It provided announcements 98 percent of the time.No subway line serving Queens was in the top six in terms of providing reliable and regular announcements, according to the survey. But the G lines rated seventh best at 77 percent of the time.Elsewhere in the borough, it was the N at 72 percent, F at 70 percent, V at 69 percent, W at 69 percent, A at 68 percent, Q at 68 percent, 7 at 67 percent, R at 66 percent, E at 66 percent and M at 56 percent”In five of every six delays, the survey found no announcement or an inaudible, garbled or useless one,” said Neysa Pranger of the Straphangers.”Riders need better announcements to get around the system and to cope with delays and reroutings, particularly in the wake of last week's disruptions to the A and C lines,” Pranger said.Guidelines issued by the Transit Authority require conductors to tell passengers basic information including what train they are riding, where it is going and at which stations they can transfer.As New York City subway veterans know, this does not always happen. The survey said that on the M and J/Z lines, there was no announcement at all 16 percent of the time.The Straphangers said 51 percent of announcements were rated useless, such as “we have a red signal” or “we are being held by dispatch.”Garbled announcements were particularly prevalent on the No. 7 (27 percent) A (26 percent) E (27 percent) M (29 percent) Q (24 percent and J/Z (38 percent).The Straphangers report also found:For subway lines overall, adequate basic announcements increased from 67 percent in 2003 to 73 percent in 2004.Eight lines improved in basic announcements between 2003 and 2004 – the 1/9, 4, 5, B, D, N and V. The most improved line was the B, which increased from a system low of 42 percent in 2003 to 73 percent in 2004.Reach contributing writer by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.