On yet another hot day at the end of August, New York City’s commuters found themselves scrambling to figure out how to get to work as subway train delays plagued the A, B, C, D, F, N, Q and R train lines. Between stalled trains and sick passengers, it seemed that arriving anywhere on time would be a mere fantasy.
Unfortunately, this situation has stopped surprising commuters, as many similar situations have happened during the past two months of the season aptly called “the summer of hell.” This title was coined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo when Amtrak announced that one of the city’s busiest transportation hubs, Pennsylvania Station, faced eight long weeks of track repairs, and several rail lines would be cut during this period. While it is true that riders of the Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit are the ones facing daily reroutes and taking alternative modes of transportation, subway riders are facing their own hellish summer. Much like Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has seen its own share of shortcomings due to outdated, crumbling infrastructure.
An F train stalled for over 45 minutes in June, trapping passengers inside with no air conditioning or light. A month later, a Q train derailed in Brooklyn due to a maintenance problem in one of the cars. While small improvements like Wi-Fi service and countdown clocks have been made to appease the everyday commuter, they are not enough to satisfy those who pay $2.75 per ride only to end up going nowhere and potentially risking their lives.
Many fingers are being pointed at Cuomo and at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The two government leaders have been at odds over the issue, with De Blasio calling for Albany to put more money into repairing the subways, and Cuomo responding that this is mainly an issue of the city, not the state.
New Yorkers however are not hesitating to blame both parties. A poll done by Baruch College and NY1 in May 2017 asked commuters who they feel is responsible for the problems with the subways. Votes on the blame were split evenly between the governor and the mayor, with nearly a third of the voters blaming Cuomo for the delays, and another third blaming De Blasio.
The summer is ending, but the problems will persist. Because Baruch is a commuter school, this issue directly affects students and professors who rely on the MTA to get to class on time. Although commuters can take extra steps to leave the house earlier and decrease the amount of trash they throw onto the tracks in order to combat these delays, they are not responsible for repairing a crumbling government agency.