Bronx News
Oct 12, 2017

BRONX NEWS: MTA subway delays are costing morning commuters time and money

Morning straphangers give the MTA more than .75 a ride — collectively, they also fork over 34,900 hours a day, at a cost of .2 million, according to numbers crunchers at the city Independent Budget Office.

Each year since 2012, riders on every train line on the morning commute lost more hours of their day to debilitating subway delays, according to an Independent Budget Office report released Thursday.

“That the magnitude of subway delays is getting worse is not just a matter of perception,” the report’s author wrote.

The study, called “We are Being Held Momentarily” for a subway phrase that makes riders gnash their teeth, found delays on a typical weekday morning rush hour in May cost 1.5 million morning commuters 34,900 hours. That was a 45% increase from the 24,023 lost hours in a weekday in 2012.

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There’s more at stake than a personal toll on riders. Delays cost straphangers .2 million a day, or 7 million a year — not including holidays and weekends, according to the report.

The IBO report acknowledged the price of delays is “dwarfed by the size of the local economy.” Still, “it is likely that much of the cost of the time lost to subway delays actually falls on the commuters rather than their employers,” said the report, which was compiled at the request of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

People wind up staying at their jobs later to make up for lost time stuck on a train in the morning, or they routinely leave early for work to make sure they’re on time.

“I take the 6 to Pelham and then I gotta take a bus,” Antonio Rivera, 64, who travels between Manhattan and Co-Op City in the Bronx, said Thursday. “I think it’s getting worse. You lose money and time.”

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Attorney Ted Vialet, 70, of Brooklyn, said it’s a challenge to get to his office by 8:30 a.m. He leaves his Bedford-Stuyvesant place at 7 a.m. to catch the A train to lower Manhattan. Commuters who use the A, like Vialet, lose 2,775 hours a day from morning rush hour delays — among the highest in the transit system.

“Sometimes in the morning you can’t get on the train,” Vialet said. “I have to get up extra early to avoid being late. It can be stressful.”

The IBO also found in an August report, at the request of the Daily News, that city employees missed 17,143 hours of work this year because of delays.

The data in the report — crunching Metropolitan Transportation Authority performance and trip data, along with Census numbers — precedes the appointment of Joe Lhota to run the transit system at a time of crisis. Lhota has said his 6 million plan to stabilize the subway is showing promising signs in month-to-month data over the summer.

Transit woes cost city 17k hours in lost worker time through 2017

“Chairman Lhota’s Subway Action Plan is stabilizing the subway by targeting the biggest drivers of delays across the system — and that is exactly why we need City Hall and Mayor de Blasio to commit to paying its 50% share to fully implement the plan,” MTA spokesman John McCarthy said Thursday in a statement.

De Blasio spokesman Austin Finan said Lhota can ask the state to return money it raided from the MTA.

The mayor has been adamant about leaving the funding to the state, which runs the MTA and has raided the agency of transit-dedicated funds.

“(Lhota) should ask the State to return the nearly half-billion dollars it swiped from the authority he now oversees. It’s really that simple,” said Finan.

With Edgar Sandoval

taxes and spending

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MTA subway delays are costing morning commuters time and money

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