Subway Delays Are Costing NYC Almost $400M Every Year

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Subway Delays Are Costing NYC Almost $400M Every Year

More subway-shaped bad news for New York City, but not JUST for straphangers, for all New Yorkers. A recent report shows that delays are costing the city a disturbing amount of money. Here are the details. 

If our subway was any worse it would qualify for medical marijuana. Our ailing public transport system swings from “terrible” to “bad” never quite reaching a mediocre “acceptable” service. We use it because we have precious little choice, and we have become so accustomed to delays we calculate them into our arrival times. More than just arriving late to the odd social function, a new report has calculated the financial impact our terminal-trains are having on the city at large.

Published by Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller, this new report estimates the financial impact on workers and businesses could reach up to $389 million a year. Check out the infographic below:


In order to put together this report, the comptroller’s matched average hourly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics with MTA data on ridership, wait times, and delays. As you can see above, the best case scenario would still cost the city upwards of $170 Million dollars:

Assuming an average hourly New York City wage of $34,[2] the estimated cost of delays varies with the extent of major delays.  Using the midpoint of the range of Wait Assessment delays for minor and medium delays (37.5% and 75% behind schedule, respectively, or 2 and 4 minutes on average, systemwide), and a major delay equal to 100% behind schedule, or 5 minutes systemwide, yields a low-end estimate of $170 million per year

Stringer’s study also broke down the subway into individual subway lines to see the financial impact of each line. By far the most costly line to NYC workers/businesses was the 5 train, which is believed to net losses of anywhere between $12.1 million to $31.5 million, annually:

This disturbing cost analysis came after the Stringer’s office surveyed straphangers to uncover the human impact of subway strife. That data revealed that 74% of people who took the survey reported being late to work, and 65% of respondents said, much more seriously, that the subway caused them to be late to pick up or drop off a child.

As most New Yorkers, we, like you, have our fingers crossed that the “Summer of Hell” doesn’t turn into the “Fall of Frustration,” leading into a “Winter of Weeping” for all straphangers.

Featured image source [flickr | Dan Phiffer]

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