Nearly a million New York City subway riders are about to see their commutes get a bit faster.
New York City Transit is promising to speed up service on multiple lines, and it's due in part to ridership still not yet having returned to pre-pandemic levels on a regular basis.
Starting Monday, service on the 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines will get sped up, providing a quicker ride to and from work for about 900,000 riders.
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"We're able to reduce the trips on those lines by about 10 minutes or so. Doesn't sound like a lot, but if you accumulate it over a day, it's quite a lot of time," said NYC Transit President Rich Davey.
The agency's "Speed Team" has been looking at where they can raise the speed limit on the tracks, and also is retraining operators.
"If we improve the speed limit, for example, and you're an operator who's been traveling that same route for 20 years, you might forget that 10 mph is not longer, maybe it's 20 mph," Davey said.
Another reason trains will be able to move around faster? Fewer people aboard.
Weekday trips are still only at about 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels. With fewer people to move around, "dwell" times at stations can also be shortened.
With fewer commuters on Mondays and Fridays as well, NYC transit is looking at making schedules on those days look more like a weekend.
Still, the chief concern among riders may not be timeliness, but safety. That crime and getting help for the homeless on the trains.
"We also have talked recently about adding cameras into our subway cars. We have 65 cars now with cameras, we'll get to 100 in the next few weeks," Davey said.
The changes made on Monday are in addition to ones recently made to speed up the A, D, N, Q, R and W lines, as well as 1 and 6 trains. However, those changes were smaller, with total travel time only reduced by a few minutes.
As for improvements on other lines, that could be coming later in the year, the agency said.
"The L coming up in our December pick. We haven't completed the analysis yet, but that's one where we're going to be working on that," said NYC Transit's Chief of Operations Planning, Judy McClain.