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Subway rider advocates report deteriorating weekend service

Weekend subway service keeps getting worse, according to a new report by a transit advocacy agency.

And that is before the service cuts the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has planned for early summer.

The New York City Transit Riders Council said it discovered that the average weekend wait on “lettered” lines was eight to 10 minutes between trains, although almost a third of waits were longer.

The survey, titled “Don’t Count on It: A Study of Weekend Service Diversions,” also expressed concern about information on service change posters, calling some of it “a confusing mass of information near the station booth.”

“While our observations represent snapshots of service and our sample size is small, this result is consistent with the experience of many riders and with past statements of NYC Transit officials, who have acknowledged that during weekend periods they are sometimes unable to provide the level of service that is scheduled,” the Transit Riders Council said.

The council is a citizen advisory committee set up by the state Legislature nearly 30 years ago to make the voice of city subway and bus riders heard.

The report said the council finds what appears to be a routine practice of delayed weekend service unacceptable.

“If the amount of service provided must be reduced, we believe that NYC Transit management must acknowledge this fact to the rider,” it said.

“We often receive reports of weekend subway riders waiting 15 minutes or more for a train, when even accounting for any service changes, the scheduled headways, or periods of time between trains, remain at eight to 10 minutes.”

The group went on to say that it understood that changes in weekend subway schedules are a fact of life for straphangers, but it was troubled by the unpredictability of the service.

The lettered lines were chosen for the survey because, in contrast to the numbered lines, they are not included in the Transit Authority’s system, which has lighted signs that provide a flow of information on location of trains.

Andrew Albert, an MTA board member and chairman of the committee that carried out the survey, said “it’s bad news, but not surprising.”

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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