Astoria’s N line ranks poorest in study on subway messages

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The N line that originates in Astoria had...

By Philip Newman

The Transit Authority has improved announcements aboard subway trains although such information on delays and other irregularities is still inadequate, a transit advocacy agency has determined in a new survey.

The N line that originates in Astoria had the worst performance in the city.

The Straphangers Campaign said it had found that basic announcements on subway trains were made 73 percent of the time so far this year compared to 69 percent in 2001 and 47 percent in 1999.

Such routine announcements involved the next station, transfer directions and other basic information.

The survey found, however, that in three of every four delays and disruptions, there was either no announcement or one that was obvious to passengers or inaudible, garbled or otherwise useless.

“We are glad there are more basic information announcements in subway cars, but we’'re disappointed that most riders are not getting the information they need to cope with delays and reroutings,” said Farouk Abdallah, who oversaw the survey “Riders should not be kept in the dark during delays,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers.

Other findings of the survey:

The best announcements were on the A and No. 2 lines with clear, ungarbled and audible advisories 90 percent of the time. The worst were the N and No. 5 lines where good announcements were provided 56 percent of the time.

The No. 2 line was the most improved over the past year when it was the system’s worst. That line went from 54 percent in 2001 to 90 percent this year. The No. 2 line now has many new cars with automated, recorded announcements.

The A, B , E, F, Q, Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 6 lines all achieved significant improvement on announcements over the past year.

Seven lines - the Nos. 3 and 5, C, D, J, N and R deteriorated on basic announcements since last year with the N the worst, dropping from 76 percent in 2001 to 56 percent in 2002.

The No. 7 and the G, L and M showed no change.

Those conducting the survey said that in three out of every four delays and disruptions, there was either no announcements or an inaudible, garbled or otherwise useless announcement. The Straphangers Campaign said there were too many announcements such as “we a have a red signal” or “we are being held by supervision” or comments using intra-Transit Authority jargon unhelpful to subway riders.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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