MTA Press Releases

Press Release
January 20, 2019
MTA New York City Transit Announces Continued Progress on Subway Action Plan

Program Contributes to Fourth Consecutive Month of Sustained Improvement

New Car and Station Heavy Duty Cleaning Initiative Launched


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced the latest progress on its Subway Action Plan to stabilize and improve subway performance. The fully funded $836 million plan is well underway and full completion is being accelerated.  The Subway Action Plan uses outside contractors and increased workforce hours to maximize progress. The MTA also announced that two more goals of the Subway Action Plan are being achieved with a new car and station heavy duty cleaning initiative.

"When we launched the Subway Action Plan in the summer of 2017, it was bold in its design," said MTA Acting Chair Fernando Ferrer. "With the SAP fully funded, we are accelerating the plan’s completion and are seeing the results. Our customers and the city are already benefiting from these programs, and we look forward to building upon this progress as the plan continues."

“This progress reflects the Subway Action Plan, our Save Safe Seconds focus on getting the basics right, and Fast Forward Plan goals, and means tangible gains for our customers,” said NYC Transit President Andy Byford. “While there’s more still to do, our customers are noticing improvements and that’s the right direction.”

Subway Action Plan initiatives are completed or underway. Work done under the Subway Action Plan includes:

  • As part of the Water Management Initiative, outside contractors have sealed more than 4,000 leaks to prevent water ingress that causes power and signal problems, deterioration of track and other equipment resulting in unplanned service changes, delays and track fires
  • Contractors and NYC Transit employees have cleaned drains along all 418 underground track miles at least once and cleaned all subway tracks between stations. This work prevents water from running along the track and causing electrical shorts and track component failures.
  • Cleared more than 40,000 street grates to prevent ingress of litter and leaves that build up on the track, causing fires and clogging drains.
  • Installed Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) across the system, replacing jointed rail, which is more prone to rail defects that delay trains.
  • Repaired almost 20,000 minor track defects that if not repaired can cause delays.
  • Using contractors and NYC Transit employees to repair or rebuild more than 1,700 signal components, drastically reducing the backlog of issues that can disrupt service.
  • Rebuilt and modernized more than 200 signal stops to be moisture proof and avoid service interruption.
  • Conducted a comprehensive inspection of door components across all fleets.
  • Made maintenance practices more efficient so cars can be put back into service more quickly.
  • Repaired door control units on over 1,000 cars in our oldest fleets to improve reliability of this critical component that cause 40 percent of car breakdowns.



The car and station heavy duty cleaning program is an essential component of the Subway Action Plan and coordinates with other Subway Action Plan initiatives.  It was launched in December 2018 and work is getting underway this month. The Subway Action Plan allocated approximately $200 million to the overall car and station program. This element of the car and station program involves numerous contractors to perform a one-time blitz targeting 100 priority stations and up to 3,000 cars - for intensive cleaning and refurbishment.  Funded by the Subway Action Plan, the plan is to show demonstrable results over the next several months.  Once refurbished, regular procedures can maintain the higher level of condition and service. An additional goal of the program is to give NYC Transit and its permanent workforce insight into new techniques, processes and materials that may enhance NYC Transit’s operations for many years to come.



New statistics released by the MTA show that Subway service in December marks the fourth month in a row of sustained improvement, with the best on-time performance in four years. The latest stats from the January 2019 Transit Committee report released on Jan. 18:

  • December is the fourth consecutive month that the Department of Subways exceeded its goal of reducing 10,000 delays each month. The number of weekday trains delayed were 45,418, down from 61,441 in December 2017. That is a decrease of more than 26%, and the lowest in nearly four years.
  • On-time performance on weekdays increased to 72.6%, the best performance in more than four years. That is up nearly 10% from last year, when it was 62.9% in December 2017.
  • Customers are waiting less time for their trains and spend less time on those trains to get to their destinations.
  • Additional Platform Time has gone down, which is the average amount of additional time that customers are waiting for trains. That number decreased to 1 minute, 18 seconds. One year ago, it was 1 minute, 28 seconds.
  • Additional Train Time, which is the average amount of additional time that customers spend on trains going to their destinations, also decreased. In December 2018, it was 1 minute, 10 seconds. One year ago, it was 1 minute, 28 seconds.
  • Debris fires were down 26% in 2018. This is attributable in part to the Subway Action Plan
  • Plan use of portable vacuums and an advanced new vacuum train, which are helping to remove potentially flammable materials and trash from tracks and platforms.
  • The number of major incidents involving persons on the tracks/police/medical assistance required was 15 in December, with eight of those from people walking between subway cars or being on the tracks. In response, NYC Transit has launched an awareness campaign on the dangers of walking between subway cars. The campaign is running on digital signage and screens throughout the system, and decals will be installed in subway cars to remind customers.


The Subway Action Plan was launched at the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo‎ in July 2017 to take extraordinary measures to stabilize and improve the more than 100-year old subway system. The program is jointly funded by New York State and New York City.