Today’s news:

Increases in late trains blamed on MTA work

Straphangers endured longer waits in March compared with a year ago due, in part, to MTA track and signal work on the numbered lines, including the No. 7. Some lettered lines, meanwhile, reported improved on-time records over 2010 such as the F, R and G.

Overall, the number of late trains increased by 10 percent citywide over March 2010, the New York City Transit Authority reported.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Kevin Ortiz said, “Delays on the numbered lines are largely attributable to track and signal work done during that time.”

NYC Transit Authority statistics showed that the No. 7 on-time record was down by 1.2 percent from 2010 and the N down by 7.6 percent.

Other trains with worse late records than in 2010 included the Q by 4.8 percent, the J/Z at 3.4 percent, the M by 7.5 percent, the Rockaway shuttle at 0.4 percent, the No. 1 at 2.3 percent, the No. 2 at 4.5 percent, the No. 3 at 2.8 percent, the D at 0.6 percent, the B at 0.7 percent, the No. 4 at 2.3 percent and the No. 5 at 1.2 percent.

Among lines that improved, the R was up by 1.4 percent, the F was up 3.8 percent, the G by 2.6 percent, the No. 6 at 2.3 percent, the L at 2.4 percent, the 42nd Street shuttle by 4.8 percent, the Franklin Avenue shuttle at 0.5 percent, the A at 2.5 percent, and the C at 2.1 percent.

The E was unchanged from 2010.

NYC Transit President Tom Prendergast told the MTA Transit Committee, “We’re still bound by the principle that evenness of service is by far the most important thing rather than just late, although we’d like to do both. But evenness of service is more important because that way you’re having less impact on customers.”

Prendergast also said the measurement system for lateness might need fixing, since a train is graded as late no matter whether it is five seconds late or five minutes late.

In other transit news:

• The MTA said it had bought 700 new buses at a cost of more than $400 million, with some scheduled to go into service in late summer.

• MTA Chairman Jay Walder said major repairs and renovations are under way to restore 53 dilapidated subway stations and plans are to begin work soon on fixing up more than 170 others.

• The MTA Board has approved the purchase of 328 low-floor, articulated buses to be manufactured in Plattsburgh, N.Y., protecting 220 jobs and contributing to the New York state economy.

• The MTA has refurbished its website, mta.info, to provide easier access to key travel information and add new features, including a new Trip Planner and App Center. It was the first redesign of the site since January 2010. The agency said the site had gained 65 percent more visitors since then.

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

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