Subway riders don’t need statistics to know that the transit system could use some help these days, but the situation started really looking grim when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit released a report in late July saying that the 4 train, which supposedly makes express stops between Woodlawn and Crown Heights, suffered the poorest on-time performance record of all the lines, and will only get worse.
Performance problems have been blamed on budget cuts for car maintenance, fueling more talk about increased fare and privatization to cover an apparent $900 million budget gap. Other problems, like on-board fainting spells, seemingly arbitrary train traffic and those people who insist on sitting next to you when there really isn’t room, well, those were not included in the report.
It really doesn’t look good for the transit system however, when a survey by riders advocacy group the Straphangers Campaign found the L train to be the city’s best.
There are a lot of nice things to say about the L: it’s great for watching people, it stays cold in the summer and, honestly, it’s the party line that all of the other trains are jealous of—does the 3 run from dinner on the West side to a totally crazy party in Bushwick? No way.
Despite its charms, though, the train is always under construction on weekends, makes long, scary pauses under the East River and can barely run fast enough to keep stations from overflowing during rush hour. And that’s before all those new condos in Williamsburg are teeming with commuters.
Somehow, though, the Grey line is New York’s finest? Fainters aside, it’s time for the MTA to really get it together before our rep as the country’s most efficient city is brutally tarnished.