It’s no secret by now that the city’s subway delays are costing New Yorkers in more ways than one. A report published earlier this month by City Comptroller Scott Stringer concluded that the economic impact on the city from subway delays could range from $170.2 million to $389 million and an independent study conducted by the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO) seems to back that up, taking an even deeper look at how much delays are costing commuters.
While Stringer’s report paired up data on ridership, wait times, and delays from the MTA with average hourly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IBO combined the MTA’s wait assessment data with the difference between scheduled versus actual arrival times along with passenger counts and income statistics from the Census Bureau, reports the New York Times. Based upon this data, the IBO came up with a formula that calculated commuter hours lost due to subway delays and was able to determine the cost of delays.
The study found that subway delays are costing city residents roughly $864,000 a day when you translate it into lost work time. For riders that are commuting from outside of the city, the cost is around $257,000 a day and for subway riders who are making trips to places other than work, the cost is roughly $109,000. In all, the cost for a 12-month period that ended in May 2017 was around $1.23 million.
“Our city’s annual loss of $307 million to preventable subway delays is a critical derailment of the economic lives of many businesses and New Yorkers, particularly those from economically challenged communities who feel any hit to their wallet harder than those with access to alternate commuting options,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who requested the study.
The study also found that subway delays have gotten significantly worse over time (no surprise there). In 2012, the number of monthly delays averaged around 20,000 but in five years, that number has now ballooned to more than 67,000.
The greatest source of delays was found to be overcrowded trains, which results in longer on and off-boarding times for passengers and signal problems served as the second-highest cause of delays.