The on-time performance of the New York City subway is improving, according to the MTA—and they have the stats to prove it, with recent information from the agency showing that the number of delays and major incidents have both dropped dramatically since last year.
But while the MTA’s stats can tell you how often trains are late, or how many times a signal problem screws up your commute, they don’t necessarily provide one crucial bit of intel: unpredictability.
Now, a new tool from the New York Times aims to show riders how reliable their commutes are. Simply enter your starting and ending point, and the widget will give you a number of data points: median trip time, how much time you should set aside for your commute on a good day (and on a bad one), and how that has changed over time.
The TL;DR? There’s a “wide and often frustrating variability in morning subway commutes,” according to the Times.
Let’s use this editor’s regular commute—from the Kingston-Throop Avenues station in Brooklyn to the Fulton Street transit hub in lower Manhattan—as an example. According to the Times’s tool, the typical commute time (not accounting for things like walking to and from the train) is 23 minutes. But the data shows that about one in 20 trips can actually take as long as 34 minutes, a big issue of reliability.
The tool also compares New Yorkers’ commutes to similar ones in London, where most of the signal systems for its Underground lines are in the midst of upgrades, or have already been updated. (Only two subway lines in New York—the 7 and the L—have updated signals.) A similar commute to the New York example above ranges from 21 minutes on a good day, to 27 minutes on a bad one—the variability is much easier to plan for.
According to the data, 61 percent of commutes have gotten faster and more reliable—but what that means day-to-day will, inevitably, vary. Check it out to see where yours ranks.