FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The MTA's own board members are frustrated by the "largely uninformative data" the transit agency releases each month on train delays.
Members of the transit and bus committee pressed the MTA at its monthly meeting Monday to collect and provide more detailed information on what causes the delays that plague the city's subway system.
"Is it other trains? Is it people on the tracks? Is it rats?" speculated committee member Andrew Albert.
"What remedies are understudied?" asked another committee member, Charles Moerdler, taking issue with the "largely uninformative data" the MTA issues in its monthly reports. "What solutions are on the horizon?"
Moerdler said that as far as riders are concerned, subway service rates between "poor" and "fuhgeddaboutit."
In particular, Moerdler criticized what he perceived as an apparently lack of effort to address overcrowding, typically the main cause of subway delays.
In November 2016 — the most recent month of data available — there was a total of 60,274 weekday train delays, 26,049 of which were due to overcrowding, according to MTA stats.
Data also shows more trains are breaking down more frequently. In 2015, trains averaged 134,916 miles without a breakdown, but in 2016, they made it only 113,179 miles, a 16 percent difference.
Moerdler encouraged the agency to produce more detailed reports on overcrowding that would show which lines are most impacted and at what times throughout the day that delays are most severe.
"A lot of work is going on behind these pages, behind this data," replied NYC Transit President Ronnie Hakim.
Echoing the transit experts DNAinfo New York previously consulted on potential solutions to overcrowding, Moerdler suggested several ways to tackle overcrowding in a conversation with reporters after the meeting.
"Some of us have been screaming for years we need to have platform conductors," Moerdler told reporters. "Some of us have been screaming for years that one of the things we need to do, and probably the most important things we need to do, is to put more trains in, lessen the headway."
Moerdler said new computer-based train control technology should be implemented to allow subways to run more frequently and closer together.
"We've got to spend the money to do it," he said.
Asked why these initiatives haven't been pursued, Moerdler said, "I have no clue."
"Believe me, I spent a lot of time thinking through exactly what the problem is and trying to figure out where it is," he said. "I looked around and there was amazement [the improved technology] hadn't occurred already."
Asked whether the data the MTA provides on service mean anything to the average New Yorker, Moerdler replied, "They mean it's lousy."
"Nobody can walk away from that," Moerdler said.
And Moerdler acknowledged the conflict in the impending fare hike, which the MTA board is set to vote on at their Wednesday morning meeting.
"That's the whole point," he said. "How can you in good conscience ask people for more and more money every couple of years and give them the same service? That's not acceptable."