MTA Study Explains Why the G Train Sucks So Much


Back in February, our friends at the MTA announced they would be conducting a full review of the G line, one that would take stock of the crosstown local’s many, many deficiencies. The results, G riders hoped, would eventually offer them some relief from the indignities endured on a daily basis. Yesterday, the MTA unveiled its findings.

“The review found several opportunities to improve service, including [adding] additional trains during the afternoon peak period to operate every 8 minutes instead of every 10 minutes,” the MTA said in a statement yesterday. The MTA will also be adjusting operating times, changing the location where trains stop within the station, and adding signs to indicate where passengers should wait to catch the train.

State Senator Daniel Squadron, who led a public campaign to get the G line reviewed, struck an upbeat note yesterday. “Now G train riders will be en route to much-needed relief that may one day lead to the G meaning great,” Squadron said in a statement.

For now though, G still means God-awful and the MTA study helped explain why.

According to the study, the G train actually has the best record of arriving either on schedule or close to it of any subway line in the New York City system. Seriously.

By the two standards the MTA uses to judge subway lines–“On Time Performance,” which measures how many trains arrive at their terminals within five minutes of their scheduled arrival times, and “Wait Assessment,” which measures the percentage of trains that arrive at stations within 25 percent of the scheduled wait time–the G performs better than almost every other line. (There are fewer delays on the G, researchers concluded, because its trains are about half the size of the average subway train.)

Those two measures though, researchers learned, don’t take the G’s adorable quirks into account.

See, the G is supposed to run every 10 minutes during the afternoon rush hour, but because it shares a set of tracks with the F line, some G trains are scheduled at 12 minute intervals to accommodate F trains. That means that if either the F or the G are running even just a measly three minutes late, a G rider who just missed the last train would end up waiting 15 minutes for the next train.

“This quirk of performance measurement can occur anywhere in the system, but the adverse effect on rider experience is amplified on the G line due to uneven, and relatively long, scheduled headways,” the report states.

See also: Miss G Train Pageant Slideshow

Now that the MTA understands some of the G’s problems, the organization is taking steps to fix them, but G riders shouldn’t be jumping for joy just yet. Instituting the necessary changes, the MTA said yesterday, will be “contingent on identifying $700,000 in additional funding for that service,” and before things can get better on the G, they are going to get worse: repairing damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy will require shutting the line down for 12 weekends in 2013, and five whole weeks in 2014.

Check out the MTA’s full G Line Review.