Power outage at DeKalb Avenue causes service changes, delays, MTA says

Service changes were in effect on several lines due to power outages at DeKalb Avenue on May 9 and May 7, the MTA said.
Service changes were in effect on several lines due to power outages at DeKalb Avenue on May 9 and May 7, the MTA said. Photo Credit: Google Maps

The MTA and governor’s office blamed Con Edison for the two power outages at the DeKalb Avenue station that caused service interruptions and delays on several subway lines on Tuesday morning and Sunday afternoon.

“The two most recent subway disruptions were caused by ConEd system failures, which is exactly why the Governor directed a state investigation into the last incident and why today he has directed the MTA to call on ConEd to identify the cause and propose a real and improved response plan for the future,” spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo Jon Weinstein said in a statement.

But ConEd has not found any issue with its equipment that would have caused the power loss Tuesday morning, a spokesman said.

The company has taken responsibility for the dip in power on Sunday that led to signal problems at the DeKalb station. A transformer at its substation at 89 John St. in DUMBO ruptured at about 12:20 p.m. on Sunday, causing a “voltage dip,” the company said in a statement. That equipment failure also led to an oil spill in the East River, causing delays on the NYC Ferry on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday evening, the company had not found “any low voltage” on its equipment that would have caused the loss in power at the DeKalb station on Tuesday morning, a spokesman said.

The power outage at about 8:30 a.m. shut down B train service and forced service changes on the D, N, Q and R trains, the MTA said.

Southbound D trains were rerouted to the C line in Manhattan and the F line in Brooklyn. Some downtown N and Q trains were terminating at Canal Street, and R trains were running along the N line between Canal Street and Atlantic Avenue.

Regular service was restored a little over an hour later, the agency said.

The same train lines, excluding the B train which does not run on weekends, were impacted by the outage on Sunday. Service changes were in effect between about 12:35 and 3 p.m., the MTA said.

John Raskin, the executive director at the transit advocacy group Riders Alliance, said the subway system has reached a “crisis” and referenced his recent criticism of Cuomo, who the alliance believes is underfunding mass transit.

“It’s getting to the point where people regularly leave for work without knowing if or when they will get there,” Raskin said in a email. “There’s clearly a crisis in subway reliability, and Governor Cuomo is totally missing in action.”

Cuomo’s office argued that the governor has made “unprecedented investment to fix” the subway system.

“Our commitment to the subways includes the largest Capital Plan in history – with more than $14 billion for New York City Transit alone – and nearly $4.5 billion this year in operating support,” Weinstein said in a statement.

Meanwhile, commuters Tuesday morning expressed frustrations with the service disruptions and lack of information from the MTA.

Derek Humphrey, 38, who was trying to get on a Q or B train at the Church Avenue station, said he was afraid he would lose hours – and $100 as a result – at his part time job in Midtown due to the delays.

“It’s pretty inconsistent,” he said of the service. “It’s seemingly never going to get any better. It’s frustrating.”

Kristy Harper Buchanan, an art curator from Corning New York, was in the city to attend a conference at the Brooklyn Museum. She missed her moment at the conference because it took her over an hour to get to the museum from Columbus Circle.

“It’s hard to keep commitments when you can’t rely on public transportation,” she said, adding that the MTA needs a better way to communicate problems. “You can’t hear anything that the driver’s saying.”

With Ivan Pereira

More from around NYC