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Riders grade M train C, up from C−minus

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Straphangers have given the M subway line an overall grade of C, an improvement over last year’s C−minus in a Metropolitan Transportation Authority report card that praised better train announcements.

New York City Transit President Howard Roberts attributed some of the higher subway rider grades on the installation of new subway cars.

About 900 patrons of the M train responded to the questionnaires with 848 by mail and 52 on the Internet.

The M line runs from Middle Village⁄­Metropolitan Avenue in Queens to Bay Parkway⁄86th St. in Brooklyn during rush hours. During midday, the line operates between Middle Village and Chambers Street in Manhattan. In early morning hours and weekends, M service runs as a shuttle, connecting Middle Village with Myrtle Avenue.

In the MTA Report Card, the Satisfaction Index for Overall Service on the M increased from 88 percent in 2007 to 89 percent in 2008. Several large increases, however, were evident in some of the 21 subject areas: “Train announcements that are easy to hear” increased by 15 percentage points from 70 percent to 85 percent.

“Station announcements that are easy to hear” increased by 14 points from 63 percent to 77 percent. “Train announcements that are informative” went up by 13 percent from 73 percent to 86 percent and “Lack of scratchitti [scratched windows] in subway cars” increased by 12 points from 77 percent to 89 percent.

The NYCT reported that “Reasonable Waits for Trains” and “Station announcements that are informative” both got C−minuses in the latest poll, up from D−plus in 2007. “Cleanliness of subway cars” was graded C−plus in 2008, up from C−minus in 2007, while “Lack of graffiti in subway cars” moved up to B−minus in 2008 from C in 2007.

Overall, grades on the M line improved in 12 of the 22 areas riders were asked to grade, including the overall grade, while none declined.

“It is interesting to note that the greatest increase in grades, from a D−plus to a C−plus, was in “Train announcements that are easy to hear,” said Roberts. “This is most likely due to the replacement of older R42 subway cars with the new R160s. This positive result in customer satisfaction demonstrates how financial investment in new equipment through the MTA Capital Plan and effective maintenance of that equipment leads to improved service.”

The report card also asked straphangers to prioritize areas where they wanted to see improvements.

“Reasonable waits for trains” and “Minimal delays during trips” held the same positions in 2008 as in the previous year, while cleanliness of stations jumped to third place in 2008, up from fifth place in 2007 and rounding out the top three priorities for M riders in 2008.

Security and more room at the rush hour rounded out the other two of the top priority areas for M patrons.

“A sense of security in stations” ranked fourth, up from seventh place in 2007 and “Adequate room on board during rush hour rose from sixth place in 2007 to fifth place in 2008.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 136.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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