NYC-Transit

nytimes.com
Every New York City Subway Line Is Getting Worse. Here’s Why. | Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Ford Fessenden, K.K. Rebecca Lai
The subway is at nearly six million riders each day — the highest level since the 1940s. Those extra riders are cramming onto a system that is essentially the same size it has been for decades.
By Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Ford Fessenden and K.K. Rebecca Lai

The root cause of subway problems in New York City is not aging equipment, which is still an issue. The root cause is population growth taxing the system:

The major cause of subway delays is a factor that basically didn’t exist 15 years ago: Overcrowding. The subway is a victim of its own success and the city’s resurgence. Large crowds slow down trains, which creates more crowding in a vicious circle that takes hours to unwind during every rush.

Subway ridership has risen dramatically since the 1990s, when about four million people used the system each day. Now it’s nearly six million riders each day — the highest level since the 1940s. Those extra riders are cramming onto a system that is essentially the same size it has been for decades.

And fixing the broken signals and splayed tracks won’t address the physical problems: how many people can you cram into the cars that the current lines can actually move around. Overcrowding slows everything down:

But how exactly does overcrowding cause delays? Subway officials say trains slow down as they face an onslaught of passengers at each station. “Dwell time” – the period a train spends in the station loading and unloading – balloons.

After a train starts to pick up large crowds, it becomes harder for people to get on and off, said Brussard Alston, a train operator for nearly two decades. The delay reverberates down the line as a queue of trains behind it backs up.

“Once the damage is done, it takes a while for it to dissipate,” Mr. Alston said.

As a computer scientist that used to teach queuing theory, this problem is intractable unless you make bigger stations and put more cars on the trains. But again, you reach limits based on how many trains the lines can actually handle, even if dwell time can be minimized.

Ultimately, the long-term solution is to dig more tunnels, and create new lines. Oh, and could you please start that process like 10 years ago, please?

2

Madrid is taking a cue from NYC transit and asking commuters to mind their manspreading

  • Ah, yes. Manspreading: the delicate art of men splaying out their legs in public spaces to take up as much room as possible.
  • The phenomenon is thusly named because men tend to be its biggest culprits, a detail that hasn’t been lost on Madrid’s transit authority, whose officials recently announced a new initiative to put an end to the habit.
  • According to CNN, new signs are set to appear on Madrid’s buses, depicting a cartoon man intentionally taking up more than one seat with an “x” in the top corner. Read more (6/9/`17)