For 2nd year, No. 7 train tops on Straphangers list

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For the second consecutive year, the No. 7 train has been designated New York City’s best subway, excelling in announcements, cleanliness and fewer breakdowns.

The transit activist agency Straphangers Campaign’s 13th-annual “State of the Subways” had designated the No. 7 the best subway last year and in 2000.

The No. 7 train runs from Times Square to Flushing-Main Street in Queens.

The C line was named the worst of the 21 subway lines because of below-average performance on the amount of scheduled service, delays caused by mechanical breakdowns, regularity of service and cleanliness. The C runs between East New York, Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan. It was the second straight year in last place for the C.

The survey did not take into account the massive service reductions that took effect in June. Dozens of car cleaning personnel, track cleaners and maintainers as well as 19 station announcers have been eliminated under the 2010 budget.

“The subways got better in the last half of 2009, but how will they fare in the wake of heavy service cuts in 2010?” asked Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign. “In future years, this survey will measure the success or failure of the subways in tough economic times.”

The overall car breakdown rate improved from an average mechanical failure every 134,795 miles in 2008 to 170,314 miles in the 12 months ending in May 2010 — a gain of 26 percent.

“We found 16 lines improved [Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and B, E, F, J/Z, L, M, N, Q, R, V and W] while five lines worsened [No. 2, A, C, D and G] and one stayed the same [No. 1],” the Straphangers said.

The Nos. 1 and 7 and V were the cleanest and the J/Z and R were the dirtiest.

The best chance of getting a seat was on the B; the worst chance of sitting down was on the No. 2.

Otherwise, the rankings were No. 7, L, No. 1, No. 6, Q, E, J/Z, M, No. 4, N, No. 5, W, No. 3, V, A, B, No. 2, D, R and C.

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

Updated 6:21 pm, October 10, 2011
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