MTA subway delays caused by ‘rail conditions,’ signal problems, more issues

Delays and service changes continued Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, after widespread issues on Tuesday.
Delays and service changes continued Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, after widespread issues on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Signal problems, “rail conditions,” electrical repairs and other issues caused widespread subway delays Tuesday that continued Wednesday.

Due to signal problems and repair work between 47th-50th Streets-Rockefeller Center and Seventh Avenue on Wednesday, B, D, F, N, Q, R and W trains were running with service changes or delays throughout the day. The issue started Tuesday afternoon when the MTA said there was a switch box near the Rockefeller Center station that needed electrical repairs.

Before the problems in midtown, a rail condition on the Manhattan Bridge Tuesday caused delays on B, D, F, Q and R trains for more than four hours during the morning commute. Additionally, ice on the tracks, sick passengers and mechanical problems led to issues on the 4, 5, 7, A, C, E, J and M trains.

Commuters on Wednesday were frustrated by what seemed like never-ending transit woes.

“There’s not a single person in New York who hasn’t been affected by delays,” said Dimitri Mzhavia, 33, who was waiting for a B train at Herald Square. “It’s not easy to schedule appointments.”

Kyle Pierce, 37, who was waiting for an M at Herald Square, acknowledged that the MTA isn’t entirely to blame for the problems.

“I don’t blame it all on the MTA. It’s a funding issue,” he said.

The MTA, a state-run agency, is in need of another source of revenue in order to avoid a planned fare and toll hike in 2019. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has suggested that congestion pricing in the city could fund the transit system, but he hasn’t finalized his proposal or gotten support from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance, blasted Cuomo for not doing enough to help reverse the subway system’s crippling delays. He called on the governor to quickly finalize a plan to fund and modernize the system.

“New Yorkers with vivid memories of the ‘Summer of Hell’ are gearing up for a Winter of Heartache on the subway,” Raskin said in a statement Tuesday, adding a reference to Cuomo’s State of the State address last week.

“The governor himself said last week that ‘we can’t leave our riders stranded anymore.’ And yet today, hundreds of thousands of transit riders were again stranded, with no relief in sight.”

The MTA is working to address the soaring delays through its Subway Action Plan, announced in July, spokesman Jon Weinstein said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“We faced a number of challenges this morning and our crews were deployed in force to make repairs and keep the trains moving and we deeply regret any inconvenience to our riders,” Weinstein said. “We are deploying thousands of workers to modernize and stabilize the system with the implementation of our aggressive Subway Action Plan, which since taking effect in July, has cut major incidents by nearly 40 percent.”

But many commuters Tuesday and Wednesday were tired of subway delays making them late to work and other commitments.

Bay Ridge resident Jordan Rathkopf, 37, who was late to a meeting Tuesday morning, said he wonders if anyone believes him anymore.

“It’s like saying, ‘the dog ate my homework.’ ”

With Rajvi Desai, Vincent Barone and Polly Higgins

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