Is the NYC subway slow and inefficient?

FinDroid's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 566

Monkeys, I was going through this survey on WSJ. Here are a few findings:

  • Around 74% of New York City subway commuters reported arriving late to work or a meeting.
  • Around 71% of the riders said they experienced delays at least half the time they rode the subway.
  • Nearly three-quarters of surveyed riders gave the Metropolitan Transportation Authority a "C" grade, or lower, for overall service.

I was on a vacation in New York a couple of months ago and found the subway system to be fairly efficient and the article surprised me. But I am not sure if I am looking at it from the tourist perspective. Would like to know the community's views.

Comments (67)

Jul 10, 2017

The NYC subway is fine

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jul 10, 2017

It really depends on the subway line, what time you are riding and where you are coming from.

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Jul 10, 2017

Agree with this, I take the subway almost every day and it really depends on which line you take.

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Jul 10, 2017

If you live and commute within Manhattan, the subway is great.

The people who run into problems live near only a single line or where the trains slow down on the weekends - which is mainly the outer boroughs

Jul 10, 2017

Our subway system is total garbage. Go to any civilized country and you'll find trains that run on time, are clean, and don't have Freddy the 300 lb. homeless man jerking it next to the door on the last car.

I remember the first time I visited a city comparable to NYC - Shanghai - and was absolutely fucking stunned at the fact that the "arriving in x minutes" signs were correct. In Tokyo, society will legit frown upon you for messing up the schedule by holding doors open or being a nuisance otherwise. As much as I'm a die hard NYC native, I won't for a second fool myself into thinking our subway system is deserving of anything but total privatization. Sure some people will lose access, but so will Freddy.

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Jul 10, 2017

Lol wtf? Shanghai and Tokyo transit systems are publicly funded.

Jul 10, 2017

"Publicly funded" works differently in the US. Here that means "piece of union-enabled trash."

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Jul 10, 2017
DeepLearning:

Lol wtf? Shanghai and Tokyo transit systems are publicly funded.

No, a large part of Tokyo's system is private and profitable
https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2011/10/why...
NYC subway system or actually, NYC's infrastructure in general (let's not forget airports, Penn station, etc) are utterly unfit for a city that claims to be the best in the world.

Jul 10, 2017

@DeepLearning

Tokyo has two subway systems, Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway. Metro has been private since 2004 while Toei is still public. The Metro has far greater usage, almost 3x that of Toei.

The difference between the two is significant: Metro is profitable and is not in debt while Toei still owes a lot of money and has failed to make due on many of its planned lines.

Private rail systems are far more efficient/superior. Look at Hong Kong's MTR system for example - one of the best in the world. Compared to the MTA, CTA, DC Metro, it's not even comparable.

Jul 10, 2017
Kassad:

Our subway system is total garbage. Go to any civilized country and you'll find trains that run on time, are clean, and don't have Freddy the 300 lb. homeless man jerking it next to the door on the last car.

I remember the first time I visited a city comparable to NYC - Shanghai - and was absolutely fucking stunned at the fact that the "arriving in x minutes" signs were correct. In Tokyo, society will legit frown upon you for messing up the schedule by holding doors open or being a nuisance otherwise. As much as I'm a die hard NYC native, I won't for a second fool myself into thinking our subway system is deserving of anything but total privatization. Sure some people will lose access, but so will Freddy.

Whatever dude, I've been to subways all around the world including Shanghai and Beijing. NYC is pretty good. It's not super clean but gets the job done.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jul 10, 2017

I mean the D is pretty good. And can't knock the Q

Jul 10, 2017

Even though Cuomo is a blowhard, the current state of emergency for the system would be a compelling yes answer to your question:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/nyregion/cuomo-...

Jul 10, 2017

NYC's subway gets the job done (sure, there's delays all the time but everyone is used to it). The real problem is how dirty the subway system is.

Seoul probably has the most efficient and clean subway system in the world. However, only people who have been on subways like Seoul's will realize how inefficient NYC's is. As long as you've only experienced NYC's subway, it is good enough.

Jul 10, 2017

NY subway is better than DC metro. DC metro is never on time and breaks down all the damn time.

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Jul 10, 2017

This is so true

Jul 10, 2017

The NYC subway is shmelly as all hell

Jul 10, 2017
hightheta01:

The NYC subway is shmelly as all hell

So are you dude, take a shower

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jul 10, 2017

I ride the 6 pretty often..it's timely and actually not that smelly surprisingly.

Jul 10, 2017

The 4/5/6 while marginally cleaner than other lines, are the bane of my existence. The Q opening on the UES was the best shit ever.

Jul 15, 2017
Craig McDermott:

The 4/5/6 while marginally cleaner than other lines, are the bane of my existence. The Q opening on the UES was the best shit ever.

next best ever opening will be 2nd ave

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jul 10, 2017

there's an NYC subway themed hipster bar in Buenos Aires, hilarious

http://www.thebubble.com/uptown-ba-brings-speakeas...

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

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Jul 10, 2017

Holy shit, do any of you people actually live in NYC and ride the subway on a daily basis? "subways here are pretty good"....whaaaaaaaat? NYC subways are decrepit, destitute, and borderline non-functional, in the sense that commuter volume is legitimately becoming a capacity issue. These trains were not built to handle nearly the amount of passengers riding them in 2017. The subways are operating on near maximum capacity, and with railway issues every day. We are in dire need of overhaul and modernization. We need more trains on the track with a modernized signal / switch system (read: not manual). Source: someone who takes the 1/2/3 line every day.

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Jul 11, 2017

I used to ride the 4/5/6 every day, I feel your pain.

Jul 15, 2017
iggs99988:

Holy shit, do any of you people actually live in NYC and ride the subway on a daily basis? "subways here are pretty good"....whaaaaaaaat? NYC subways are decrepit, destitute, and borderline non-functional, in the sense that commuter volume is legitimately becoming a capacity issue. These trains were not built to handle nearly the amount of passengers riding them in 2017. The subways are operating on near maximum capacity, and with railway issues every day. We are in dire need of overhaul and modernization. We need more trains on the track with a modernized signal / switch system (read: not manual). Source: someone who takes the 1/2/3 line every day.

that was your first mistake ... picking the west side

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jul 11, 2017

I think we can say 60% of the time it works everytime!

During the weekday most trains in Manhattan are awesome, and especially rush hour. I've taken 1,2,3,4,5,6 F,M, are all really fast and the spacing is like once every 2-3 minutes at rush hour. Weekends the trains run less frequently but people are generally in less of a hurry then. Trains are dirty, so what, there are 8 million New Yorkers most of whom take the train.

Jul 15, 2017
Jul 15, 2017

just curious, what kind of altercation?

Jul 15, 2017

Majority of problems stems from the train being packed with people

like the 4 train, weekday, rush hour. Im standing on the platform and it filled to the brim with people. LEGIT filled with people-- there are people standing so far out on the ledge that if they shift their weight to one side, their head's will collide with the incoming train. SO PACKED, the same "people" (cant seem to find a better word to replace people) that should have gotten hit by the train could not get into the damn train.

Now if you can only imagine, in the context that I described above, some guy with a huge ass mountain bike, trying to squeeze his f&cking bike into the train. Constantly ramming the damn sh!t into the train, but you know, I know, hell everybody knows that there is no way this big thing will fit, yet not one person said a single word to this guy-- even when his dirty bike is being rammed again and again into their legs. And when someone finally speaks up the bike guy justify his action by saying "its only one stop" "its only one stop".

Thats the damn problem. you got people trying to get on the train even if it means their presence will violate another persons' space. The above circumstances are what I consider on the light side of the situation, usually when you tried to tell them "hey man your causing me some great discomfort here", they'll tell you "its your fault", "move over buddy".
lol

That situation above did not happen to me, and so I find it very funny. But I get into very similar situations and it is horrible.

Jul 15, 2017

Second this. I was on vacation last week in NYC... "For passengers going to X station please move to the first 5 carriages" wtf lol? I was about to pass out on the 11th carriage with a full suit on as it was.

Jul 15, 2017

Public transportation across the entire U.S. is abysmal. Europe and China/Japan are light years ahead. The worst part about the NY subway is just how disorganized it is.

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Jul 15, 2017

I find Boston's subway system to be less of a hassle.

Jul 15, 2017

oho, you must have not been here this past winter

Jul 15, 2017

While I have never seen an altercation on the subway the green line would get packed as hell and is above ground so it is very slow and gets closed when it snows. Once you get underground the 3 branches of the green line merge and the 4th merges a couple of stops down so you can end up just sitting there in a subway traffic jam.

While the green line is shit, the underground section of the red line isn't bad. I can't really compare it to the NYC subway system but taking an hour plus to go 3-4 miles makes walking more fun on a nice day.

Jul 15, 2017

I hate how the stations don't have A/C. I'm sweating my ass off waiting on the platform during the summer months.

Jul 15, 2017

Why in the fuck would you ever engage anyone on the subway? I've been here almost a decade and have yet to even exchange words or eye contact with a stranger once underground

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Jul 15, 2017

You know you've made it in NYC when you can say it's been years since you've been on the subway.

The subway is hell on Earth during the summer.

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Jul 15, 2017

Uber is probably better in NYC anyway

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Jul 15, 2017

The problem is, even if you have the money to cab/uber whenever you want, during rush hour the subway will be faster than a cab a lot of times.

Jul 15, 2017

Today in my relatively short subway ride home three separate homeless guys made the rounds...making speeches, begging, singing, smelling like old socks, etc.

Jul 15, 2017

All your negatives listed is positives for me. After grueling hours of pitch-books and fucking research. The subway is just theater to me. If you have lived long enough you would be immuned to the BS and just enjoy it. Thats just me.lol

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Jul 15, 2017

NYC in general sucks, but during the summer it's literally hell on earth. The underground subway stations feel like Dante's Inferno, the trains are frequently behind schedule, and the smell of perspiration and other ungodly stuff makes me want to vomit. NYC Is a truly disgusting city with crappy infrastructure yet makes people pay a ridiculous city tax on top of the state tax. Of course, you get very little in return since the tax dollars go towards giving lavish salaries and pension plans to public employees. Then you have the rent. Yeah, enjoy paying $2500/month for a TINY studio in a crappy building. Jesus fucking christ, NYC is the biggest scam out there.

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Jul 15, 2017
MBAGrad2015:

NYC in general sucks, but during the summer it's literally hell on earth. The underground subway stations feel like Dante's Inferno, the trains are frequently behind schedule, and the smell of perspiration and other ungodly stuff makes me want to vomit. NYC Is a truly disgusting city with crappy infrastructure yet makes people pay a ridiculous city tax on top of the state tax. Of course, you get very little in return since the tax dollars go towards giving lavish salaries and pension plans to public employees. Then you have the rent. Yeah, enjoy paying $2500/month for a TINY studio in a crappy building. Jesus fucking christ, NYC is the biggest scam out there.

And here we go again...

Jul 15, 2017

I enjoyed your imagery.

Jul 15, 2017
Brady4MVP:

Woe is me! Woe is me! NYC Sucks!!! Liberals and filthy homeless people!!! I wish I was in San Fran where rent is cheap and everyone is conservative.

FTFY. But we still love you Brady.

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Jul 15, 2017
LeverageMill:

The subway is the worst thing in NYC. I probably create 50% of the problem, but I have an altercation at least once every 2 months.
I am never good at these situations, so when I voice my opinion, I always end up losing, which pisses me off even more. I know in life there isnt anyone that is immune to bad experiences but sometimes this shit consumes me.
FACK THE SUBWAY!!! RAWRR

OP, are you a dude or a chick?

Jul 15, 2017

ouch. oh comon, dont tell me to adapt or die.

Jul 15, 2017

That's what I thought when I lived there and now I totally miss how convenient the subway in NYC is. Yeah it's dirty and hot, but honestly still better than the public transportation in any other US city.

Jul 15, 2017
JustADude:

That's what I thought when I lived there and now I totally miss how convenient the subway in NYC is. Yeah it's dirty and hot, but honestly still better than the public transportation in any other US city.

This. It's a lot more usable than the systems in Boston, Chicago and DC. Yeah the stations are disgustingly hot and the trains are always packed, but if you use it earlier than the usual rush you can mitigate some of it.

Jul 15, 2017

Lol'd at the poster who said that he has been in NYC for a decade but has not yet exchanged a single word / made eye contact with a stranger. How is that even possible?

Jul 15, 2017
tzhou91:

Lol'd at the poster who said that he has been in NYC for a decade but has not yet exchanged a single word / made eye contact with a stranger. How is that even possible?

That's what the overwhelming majority of people do.

Jul 15, 2017

Come to Toronto, our entire subway system was shut down one morning. And delays happen like clockwork. NYC subways are heaven compared to Toronto. THe only positive is that the trains come (or they're supposed to at least) every 90 seconds during rush hour.

Jul 15, 2017

Ever been to DC ? I think the NYC subway system is significantly better than DC. I do not use the DC Subway any longer after a few issues that seemed to happen almost everytime I ride it. Also, paying by distance makes it extremely expensive.

Jul 15, 2017
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Jul 15, 2017