Slow subway trains got a bit faster while you were quarantined, MTA says

No. 6 subway train line

Subway car on the No. 6 line

NEW YORK — The MTA said its efforts to safely speed up trains has improved travel times and reduced the amount of time trains spent waiting in platforms, according to information released Tuesday.

More than 900 new digital timers were installed on some grade signals, and 270 civil speed increases took place over the past two years.

That wasted time sitting on the train idling at the platform? That decreased, the MTA said.

The chief problems that’ve led to slower train speeds and poor on-time performance have been aging and faulty signals and excessive time holding at station platforms, so on top of the 919 new timers, more than 150 slow-clearing timers were replaced and 413 out of 485 signals found to have been slow-clearing have been fixed.

New York City Transit identified 663 speed limits inside the system that could be raised; so far, 279 have been updated. Hundreds of other have been evaluated by safety and engineering professionals.

“We’ve continued to identify root causes for slower speeds, and we’ve continued to move rapidly to fix grade time signals that were defective and to increase speeds where it’s safe to do so,” said Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg. “But make no mistake, this is not the end. We will continue to inspect the system so that as new speed-related challenges emerge, we are prepared to address them promptly. We can’t return to an era when these things weren’t being effectively monitored – that’s not fair to our customers or our train operators, who need to be confident they can travel at the maximum safe speeds possible when moving our millions of customers.

Feinberg thanked train and speed safety task force chair Jane Garvey, TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano, former FRA Chief Safety Officer Bob Lauby, and the men and women of NYC Transit.

In 2018, the MTA created a dedicated SPEED team, and in 2019 the governor commissioned a Speed and Safety Task Force.

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