If you’re new to New York City, it won’t take long before you figure out how frustrating the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) train system can be.
Known colloquially among New Yorkers as “the subway,” our transit system is among the oldest in the country, first opening over 100 years ago in 1904. At the time, it was a technological marvel. With then-Mayor George McClellan conducting the first train, it would soon become a daily part of life for millions of New Yorkers to come.
However, the years have not been kind to our subway system, which is described by sophomore Ricardo Arias as, “tiring, lonesome and dirty.” As the years progress, massive delays and numerous weekends of track renovation have become more and more common, bringing us to the present day subway system.
In order to combat delays and make the subway system easier for New Yorkers, in July 2017 Governor Andrew Cuomo and the MTA launched a joint initiative to improve subway performance titled, “The Subway Action Plan.” The findings have been promising.
In a March 18 press release, the MTA announced that since the implementation of The Subway Action Plan, the subway has experienced “continued dramatic subway performance improvements … including the fewest number of weekday delays that the system has seen in almost five years.”
On paper, all these improvements are great — but have they been noticed by the strap-hangers that ride through the tunnels daily? We spoke to a few riders to find out.
Junior Fahim Nousad, who takes the F and E trains, seems to think otherwise. Nousad has not noticed much improvement in subway conditions.
“In fact, I’m seeing more express trains going local even on non-construction days. It’s ridiculous!”
Junior Natalia Loomis, who often finds herself on the F, L, 3 and A trains has noticed a difference in subway service depending on the area. While there are improvements happening, could it be that they’re not occuring in the outer boroughs like Queens and Brooklyn?
“In certain neighborhoods, I see that there’s more trains coming by more often, especially in the wealthier areas, but there’s definitely more work to be done.” Loomis said.
Junior Othon Kordistos commutes on the F and D trains, and agrees that these changes do not seem to be in effect in the outer boroughs as much as they do in Manhattan.
“I definitely don’t see any change. When I ride the train, it’s still dirty, still overcrowded, and still late. If the improvements they’re referring to are in reference to the Financial District, then I would have to agree,” Kordistos said. “But by no means would I use that as the standard for the rest of New York City.”
Junior Piero Fiorino has also failed to see any improvements at all in the past year that the Subway Action Plan has been implemented.
“I’ve only been in New York City about a year, since spring 2018, and I haven’t noticed much difference within that year.” Fiorino said.
Have St. John’s subway riders seen improvements? Like any other matter, it definitely depends on who you talk to.
While the MTA and the Governor Cuomo are pushing out numbers to make true their claim that the more than a century-old subway is improving, can we truly say that it is benefiting all New Yorkers, or just those living in Manhattan?
Though the MTA has a long way to go before they can even be mentioned in the same sentence as other great subway systems such as those in Japan or in Europe, it has to start somewhere. According to the numbers, they’re off to a promising start.