Subway System Is in Crisis Right as Commuters Need It Most

Transit groups rallied to fix the NYC subways outside Cuomo's office Wednesday. Checkey Beckford reports.

(Published Thursday, June 29, 2017)

What to Know

  • Gov. Cuomo has declared an MTA state of emergency, asking the new chairman Joe Lhota to do a series of urgent reviews

  • The city's subways and commuter trains have been plagued by rising delays and unreliable service

  • MTA Chairman Lhota has been tasked with coming up with a reorganization plan in 30 days and an equipment review in 60 days.

Power outages. Signal problems. Mechanical breakdowns. A derailment. A declared state of emergency. Tens of thousands of subway riders have been stranded on jam-packed trains and overcrowded platforms in recent months as the 112-year-old system's aging infrastructure buckles under increased ridership.

Volume is expected to rise during unprecedented summer repair work at New York's Penn Station, and the entire system is in crisis at precisely the moment commuters need it most. (See timeline below.)

The situation has become so dire extensive delays and suspensions are the norm. "Good service" status on the MTA website brews skepticism. Riders report taking alternate routes involving multiple trains because they simply don't believe theirs will run as scheduled. Despite MTA vows to review "every inch" of track and overhaul the signal system, the mistrust is real -- and growing.

Gov. Cuomo has warned riders to expect a "summer of hell." But for many -- from those who tried to claw their way out of a powerless F train to those who navigated dark, smoke-filled tunnels after a derailment -- the nightmare has already begun. Use #TrainPain4NY to share your stories.