|Embargoed for Release: |
Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
|For More Information Contact:
Gene Russianoff (917) 575-9434
Cate Contino (516) 455-7192
Straphangers Campaign Analyzes Thousands of MTA Alerts of Subway Delays
F Had Most Delay Alerts in First Ten Months of 2012 Before Superstorm Sandy;
G Had the Fewest
Delay Alerts Increased Most on the L and Least on the G Between The First Ten Months of 2011 and 2012
Delay Alerts Increased Post-Superstorm Sandy, Comparing First Three Months of 2012 with 2013
The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign today released its second annual analysis of MTA electronic alerts, issued in real time to tell riders of significant incidents most often leading to delays. The group solely analyzed alerts of controllable delays deemed under MTA New York City Transits control.
The review found that in the first ten months of 2012 prior to Superstorm Sandy in late October 2012 the F had had the most MTA electronic alerts of delays of the 20 subway lines reviewed. Alerts for delays on the F comprised 8% of 2,669 MTA alerts. The G had the fewest MTA delay alerts with 34 or 1% of a total of 2,669.
The MTA does not report the duration of a delay, so it is not possible to determine how long it lasted or its severity.
The Straphangers Campaign also reviewed how subway service was performing in the first three months of 2013 post-Sandy compared to the first three months of 2012.
We found that the number of MTA electronic delay alerts increased by 29% between the two periods. There was a marked increase in delays attributed to track, switch and mechanical problems. (See Table One.)
Months after battering New York City, Superstorm Sandy continues to hurt subway service, said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign.
The group also noted that delay alerts for the first ten months of 2012 before Sandy were already outpacing delay alerts in the same period for 2011. There were 2,432 delay alerts between January and late October 2011 and 2,669 delay for the same period in 2012 or 10% more.
The groups other findings for delay alerts include, as shown in Tables Two to Five:
The MTA deems an incident significant and instructs its personnel to send an alert to riders for any incidents that will result in a significant service impact that is expected to last 8 to 10 minutes or more, according to transit officials.
The Campaign analyzed thousands of real-time alerts the MTA sent to riders who subscribe to the agencys Email and Text Message Alert System. The alerts are intended to provide up-to-the-minute information about whether a subway line is experiencing a significant delay-generating incident and whether riders should consider taking an alternate route.1
The Straphangers Campaign reviewed 4,022 alerts issued by the MTA in first ten months of 2012, prior to Superstorm Sandy.
The Campaign used MTA alerts for 20 subway lines, but not any of the shuttles. The Straphangers Campaign also removed irrelevant data, leaving 3,887 alerts. (See methodology.)
The group then classified the electronic alert incidents into two categories. The first was controllable, including such things as signal or mechanical problems. The second was uncontrollable, such as police activity or a sick passenger.
The Campaign concluded it was not fair to hold transit officials accountable for many of these uncontrollable incidents. As a result, the Campaign eliminated all 1,218 alerts of uncontrollable incidents, leaving a total of 2,669 alerts for controllable incidents.
The group also wanted to take a look how service was performing in 2013, post-Sandy. It reviewed the first three months of 2013 compared to the first three months of 2012.
The MTAs electronic alerts paint a picture of the problems that affect riders, but they also raise further questions, said Cate Contino, the coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign. Contino said questions included:
The MTA launched its Text Messaging and Email Alert System in late November of 2008. The service is free. Riders can sign up to receive these alerts by going to http://www.mymtaalerts.com.
More than 92,000 individuals currently subscribe to the MTAs alerts for subway and bus delays.
The Straphangers Campaign is posting the spreadsheet containing the data for alerts on our website in the hope that other researchers and application developers make good use of the data.
1 Transit officials explained that while many significant incidents lead to sizeable delays, not all do. For example, some sick passenger incidents are lengthy, some are not. MTA alerts do not measure the duration of an incident. (See attachments.)
News Release | Methodology
Table One | Table Two | Table Three
Table Four-A and Four-B | Table Five-A and Five-B
Attachments from MTA | 2013 Analysis of Elecrtonic Alerts
Electronic Alert data from 2011, 2012, and first 3 months of 2013