The subway nudges of the Straphangers Campaign issued their annual State of the Subways report. The 7 train was their favorite, which in their MetroCard rating system means it’s almost worth the price of a pre-fare-hike ride ($1.55); on the GCT-to-Flushing line you’re more likely to get a train and a seat than on the average line. The Straphangers’ worst is the C, which rates 50 cents. But in general they find the subways in pretty good operation.
There, wasn’t that fun? The Straphangers report always gets big play in the news because it’s simple, it’s list-y, and it’s something to whom We the People can relate. Also, since it follows standard, quotidian measures of performance — on-time operation, cleanliness, etc. — it does not get into bigger issues like the massive service cuts the MTA has promised. In fact, if you remove stops from a train’s route, as is proposed for the W, or eliminate night service, the line may operate more efficiently by the Straphangers’ metric. Thus a totally devastated subway system might set a record for high marks.
Plus, it’s the buses that really suck. We also notice there’s no category for robot conductor stop-skipping.
Update: In comments a Straphangers spokesperson rebuts. He’s correct that the service cutbacks promised by the MTA should have been rendered in that past tense, but we expect those threats to be made with each budget until someone gets serious — which is to say, when it’s too late.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 15, 2009