Clear 38° Good Afternoon
Clear 38° Good Afternoon

Worst Commute of the Week winner announced by Riders Alliance

The last five minutes of Jennifer Tang's ride home on the R train became two hours, she said.

The Riders Alliance announced the first winner of

The Riders Alliance announced the first winner of its competition for the worst commute of the week on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

The Riders Alliance awarded its first Worst Commute of the Week award Tuesday to a librarian from Queens for her story of an agonizing two-hour wait on an R train one stop from her home after skipping a restroom visit before leaving work.

The Riders Alliance awards are aimed at shaming Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state's legislature into enacting a long-term plan to fund and fix the city's declining subway system.

The inaugural winner, City University librarian Jennifer Tang, recounted being trapped underground on the train when the last five minutes of her ride home from Manhattan to Forest Hills on Jan. 20 deteriorated into two hours.

"I hadn't used the bathroom, figuring I only had a 30-minute commute from Manhattan to Queens," Tang, 49, said in an interview. Then the train stopped and an announcement warned of signal problems.

"Five minutes became 10 minutes, became 20 minutes, became one hour, became one hour and 50 minutes," said Tang, who was in pain and urgently hoping the subway would quickly reach her destination. "Now, before boarding the subway, even if it's for one stop, I use the bathroom."

The Riders Alliance invited commuters to share their stories using the hashtag #WorstCommute. Winners of the contest receive a chocolate MetroCard.

Cuomo, who controls the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Overall subway on-time performance has plummeted to 65 percent — a drop of 15 percentage points over the past several years and the worst of any major transit system in the world, the Riders Alliance said.

Train delays more than tripled from 2012 to 2017 and subway speeds are now slower than they were in 1950, it said.

Tang said the Jan. 20 incident stands out as a personal worst in a lifetime of subway riding: "Even in the '70s when I almost got mugged on the subway, I never had such as horrible experience on the train."

News photos & videos