Is the MTA being more forthcoming in real-time about subway delays?
Thursday in the city saw another mess of a morning commute on several subway lines, but there was little mystery behind who caused it. NY1 Transit Reporter has that story.
It was a rough morning Thursday for tens of thousands of straphangers in a season of subway misery.
A man teetered on the tracks beneath Greenwich Village, bringing service to a standstill on the 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 train lines.
Cellphone footage captured his ghost-like image. At one point, the man even laid across the tracks.
But the story took an unexpected turn. Arielle Shinder was on a 3 train that was stopped several miles up the line, near 103rd Street.
"They came on the announcement and said that the power was being shut down on the 1/2/3 line because of an intoxicated person on the tracks at 14th Street," Shinder recalled.
The no-minced-words update was a break from years of generic on-train announcements that riders loved to hate:
"We're being held in the station by the train's dispatcher. We should be moving shortly."
The true confessions approach toward delays reflects a promise made by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota as part of his plan to turn around the beleaguered transit system.
"I'd like to see the recorded announcements about train traffic, as well as police action, to stop," Lhota said July 25. "Let's tell the people. They deserve to know exactly what's causing the delay."
"I was glad to have a little bit more detail, because I think it was about a week ago, my train was extensively delayed and they gave us three different excuses," Shinder said. "So at that point it was hard to know what was true and what wasn't true."
Riders say the old policy of announcements that say next to nothing made them only more angry and frustrated.
"Like come on, just telling us it's delayed is not enough," one woman said.
"It usually always means a delay, and kind of an eyeroll sometimes," another straphanger said.
More specific service announcements are also being posted to countdown clocks and platform kiosks, although the information people get there isn't nearly as detailed as what is heard on trains.
As for the cause of Thursday's meltdown, police only described the man who went onto the tracks as a 46-year-old emotionally disturbed person, who was taken to Bellevue for observation.
After 38 minutes, power was restored and service was resumed — and this time, riders at least knew exactly why they were late for work.