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Subway delays still persist months after Sandy

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Philip Newman

MTA delay alerts on subways rose 29 percent in January through March in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy compared with the same period of 2012, the Straphangers Campaign reported.

“Months after battering New York City, Superstorm Sandy continues to hurt subway service,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign.

The A train in the Rockaways is still out of service six months after the storm and Manhattan’s South Ferry station’s return is indefinite.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority returned much of the transit system to service within a few days after Sandy struck Oct. 29.

The corrosive residue from salt water that for a time engulfed many stations has been blamed for damage to the subway system.

“The signal system, in fact any equipment that is operated by electricity has been damaged,” said Deirdre Parker of New York City Transit.

The Straphangers Campaign’s report said delay alerts for the first 10 months of last year, which came before Sandy, were already outpacing delay alerts in the same period of 2011. The transit advocacy agency said there were 2,669 delay alerts between January and late October 2012 and 2,432 delay alerts in the same period of 2011.

Straphangers also said:

• The F had the dubious distinction of having the most MTA delay alerts of the 20 subway lines tracked. In the first 10 months of 2012 the F logged 225 alerts, up from 167 in the year-earlier span. And the F delays comprised 8 percent of all MTA incidents for the period.

The most improved subway line was the G, which had 19 percent fewer delay alerts, compared with the first 10 months of 2012 to the same period in 2011. The G went from 42 MTA delay alerts in 2011 to 34 alerts in 2012.

• L train performance declined the most — by 60 percent — from 84 alerts in 2011 to 134 alerts in 2012.

• Straphangers said Manhattan experienced the most delay alerts with 1,219 out of 2,669 in the first 10 months of 2012, nearly half of total delay alerts. The Bronx had the fewest in 2012 with 9 percent.

• The performance of Queens was the worst and rose from 392 alerts in 2011 to 458 in 2012, a 17 percent increase.

A delay is considered significant by the MTA which the results in an alert to riders “for any incidents that will result in a significant service impact that is expected to last eight to 10 minutes or more.”

The most alerts — 36 percent — were caused by mechanical problems.

The MTA Text Messaging and E-Mail Alert System began in late November 2008. More than 92,000 people subscribe to the free alert system for delays on subway lines and buses.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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