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Byford: Subway Action Plan and Save Safe Seconds getting results

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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New York City Transit President Andy Byford. Wall Street Journal photo.

Statistics released Feb. 22 by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) show that New York City Transit (NYCT) subway performance, bolstered by the Subway Action Plan and Save Safe Seconds Campaign, “continues its months-long trend of improvement, with the best on-time performance, and the fewest number of delays, that the system has seen in four years.” However, constrained funding will limit just how far these programs will carry improvements.

The service improvements “represent demonstrable evidence of the effectiveness of the Subway Action Plan, which focuses on repairs and maintenance and was launched in the summer of 2017, as well as the Save Safe Seconds Campaign, which focuses on operational practices and was launched in the summer of 2018,” MTA said.

“Our concerted efforts are paying off in the form of fewer delays, less waiting, faster trips and an overall better experience for our customers,” said NYCT President Andy Byford, who joined the agency in January 2018. “These are sustainable improvements resulting from a ‘back to basics’ focus on maintenance and operational practices, but we’re also limited by an aging infrastructure. In order to achieve the subway system that New Yorkers deserve and that Transit employees are capable of delivering, we need sustainable, adequate funding through means such as congestion pricing to help us modernize the system.”

Weekday on-time performance in January was 76.7%, about 19 points higher than January 2018, which was 58.1%. January also represents the fifth consecutive month that the Department of Subways exceeded its goal of reducing 10,000 delays each month. In January 2019, there were 42,348 weekday delays, compared to 76,287 in January 2018. Weekday major incidents—incidents causing 50 or more delays—are also dramatically down in January, with 52 compared to 105 in January 2018.

Weekend on-time performance also significantly improved. In January 2019, compared to January 2018, there were seven major incidents compared to 14; 83.1% on-time performance compared to 64.7%; and 8,180 delays compared to 18,931.

Delay-inducing track fires caused by debris are also significantly down, “a direct result of aggressive debris cleanup under the Subway Action Plan,” MTA noted. “In January 2019, there were 23 track debris fires, compared to 42 in January 2018. In the 12 months leading up to January 2019, there were 322 track fires related to debris, compared to 452 the previous year.

Other metrics are also showing improvement. Additional unanticipated time spent waiting on platforms is down (to 1 minute 11 seconds, compared to 1 minute 35 seconds) and additional unanticipated time spent on trains is down (to 58 seconds, compared to 1 minute 46 seconds). MDBF (mean distance between failures) for subway cars is up slightly, as is elevator availability.


NYCT’s Byford: Now is the time to think big

Byford: From London to Sydney to Toronto to New York

NYCT’s Byford: “Customers can hold us to account”

60 Minutes got it right

NYCT: It’s about time

The New York Times Magazine: The Case for the Subway


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