If you're a daily commuter on the No. 2 subway line, the Straphangers Campaign offers a tiny morsel of good news. Of 19 lines the nonprofit watchdog rated in its 2014 State of the Subways Report Card, the 2 train checked in with a perfect score when it comes to onboard announcements passengers can actually hear.
The downside? Conductors on the line have way too many impromptu misadventures to announce. The Report Card calls the 2 the worst line in the city. Regular riders won't be shocked. They like trains that arrive predictably, move without breakdowns, and spare people the indignity of pressed-salami crowding. From Flatbush Avenue to 241st Street in the Bronx, that's not what they get on the 2.
According to the Straphangers:
The 2 train reaches stations at irregular intervals more often than most other lines -- with 73 percent arriving at regular times compared with 80 percent systemwide.
Riders on the 2 have a 23 percent chance of getting a seat compared with a 41 percent average on other lines.
Cars on the 2 break down more often than cars on other trains. On the 2 line, cars run an average of 128,000 miles between train-stopping mechanical failures. Systemwide the average is 153,400 miles between breakdowns.
Meanwhile, the 2 isn't the only line breaking down too much. From late 2011 to late 2013, Straphangers say, the miles traveled between breakdowns systemwide dropped by 11 percent -- 172,700 to 153,400.
That stat is a giant yellow caution signal -- telling us the state of good repair in parts of the system is headed south -- even as the MTA makes big improvements elsewhere.
On the plus side, the MTA has done much to revive the L train. Beleaguered by massive growth in Brooklyn, the L is now tied with the J/Z for the system's third-best line, say the Straphangers. Tops in the system is the No. 7 line and second-best is the No. 1.
The MTA can't allow some lines to surge ahead while others languidly roll backward. Albany and City Hall must ensure that the MTA has enough money to expand the system, update its technology and make sure the trains on all lines are going strong.