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NYC subway had rush hour delays nearly every day in August

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Signal malfunctions were to blame for most of those commute-ruining delays

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

If your morning commutes seemed worse in August than they have in previous months (or, hell, years), that’s because they were: According to a new analysis from the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group, there was only one day in August where the subway system did not experience some kind of day-ruining delays.

Of those delays, the majority were caused by signal problems—notably, the only line to not experience delays was the L, which has more modern signal system than other subway lines. Mechanical problems also proved to be a nuisance, causing nearly as many delays as signal malfunctions.

And, the report notes, the one day without a rush hour signal or mechanical delay—August 23—was not free from problems; someone pulled the emergency brake on the B/Q line in the morning, causing its own share of problems.

“We’ve gotten to the point where it’s far more common for riders to experience subway delays each day than to not,” Jaqi Cohen of the Straphangers Campaign said in a statement.

The worst offenders were the D and R lines—according to the Riders Alliance, those lines experienced 16 delays (either mechanical or signal-related) on the 23 days surveyed for the report. The N came in third place, with 15 delays.

An MTA spokesperson told AMNY that the report is an “oversimplification.”

The report comes on the heels of the one year anniversary of the Subway Action Plan, the MTA’s $836 million plan to fix the ailing subway system; in the year since it was implemented, there have been only modest improvements across the board. The head of NYC Transit, Andy Byford, has unveiled his own ambitious plan to completely overhaul the subway’s aging signals, but as of now, the billions of dollars needed to fund it are nowhere to be found.

(And as Second Ave. Sagas’ Benjamin Kabak told Curbed in July, “Unless there’s funding and political support for what the Fast Forward plan says, then it’s just a piece of paper with a bunch of words on it that won’t make anything better on its own.”)

Riders Alliance is pushing for that funding to come from congestion pricing, a plan that politicians (including Gov. Andrew Cuomo) say they support, but have done little to make a reality.

“The days of stop-gap measures have to be over,” Riders Alliance executive director John Raskin said in a statement. “It’s time for Governor Cuomo and members of the state legislature to pass congestion pricing and fund the MTA’s Fast Forward plan, so we can rebuild the transit system and end the pain for millions of New Yorkers who rely on it every day.”

But the time being, at least, subway riders can probably expect more of the same: