MTA Press Releases

Press Release
January 20, 2020
New Full-Year Data Shows Subway Hitting 6-Year Annual High with Weekday On-Time Performance Above 80% in 2019
December 2019 Was 7th Consecutive Month of On-Time Performance Above 80%; 2019 Full-Year Average OTP Exceeded 80% for First Time Since 2013, and is Nearly 20% Increase Over 2018
MTA New York City Transit today announced 2019 full-year statistics showing continued performance improvements on the subway thanks to the sustained success of both the Subway Action Plan and the Save Safe Seconds initiative. Weekday on-time performance (OTP) surpassed 80% for the seventh consecutive month in December 2019, and there were improvements on all other metrics tracked by the agency as well. Average full-year OTP also exceeded 80% in 2019 for the first time since 2013.

“Thanks to the relentless hard work of our team, I’m tremendously proud to say that improvements are now the norm on the subways,” said MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford. “I look forward to maintaining our upward trend in 2020 as we continue work on our Fast Forward Plan to modernize every aspect of our transit system and implement our part of the historic, unprecedented $51.5 billion MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program.”
“We are working hard to deliver improved service for our customers, and these gains in operational metrics reinforce the progress we are making,” said Sally Librera, NYC Transit’s Senior Vice President of the Department of Subways. “Customers can trust that we are committed to raising the bar even higher in 2020.”
Average weekday OTP in 2019 was 80.3%, a nearly 20% increase over 2018 when it was 67.1%. December 2019’s weekday OTP jumped 10.5% compared to December 2018. Customer-focused metrics such as Additional Platform Time, Additional Train Time and Customer Journey Time Performance also improved compared to last year, demonstrating that the incremental gains from the Safe Save Seconds campaign continue building to tangible service improvements felt by customers across the system.
NYC Transit also met its internal subway delay reduction target for the 16th month in a row, leading to the number of weekday delays decreasing by 25% year over year. For the month of December 2019, weekday major incidents fell 7.7% to 48. And for the full year, the number of major incidents decreased by nearly one-third, from an average of 68 per month in 2018 to 45.5 per month in 2019.
  •  Additional Platform Time, which measures the average added time customers wait for trains compared to the schedule: Time savings of 6 seconds, or a 7.7% drop from last year
  • Additional Train Time, which measures the average added time customers spend on a train compared to the schedule: Time savings of 14 seconds, or a drop of 20% from last year
  • Customer Journey Time Performance: 83% of customers completed their journeys within five minutes of the scheduled, compared to 80.2% last year. 
  • A contributing factor to the reduction in delays has been the significant progress made in reducing track debris fires, which are significantly down since NYC Transit started attacking this problem with new equipment in 2017. This has included clearing debris at an unprecedented rate using new platform-based mobile vacs, and vacuum trains that move around the system picking up trash. In 2019 compared to 2018, track debris fires were down significantly, to 262 from 341.
  • NYC Transit also recently announced new data showing that in addition to trains keeping on schedule better, trips are taking less time on every line in the system.
  • Compared to 2018 and 2017, trains are taking less time to go from terminal to terminal on every line of the subway system today, shaving minutes off of many trips. Overall, ‘A’ Division trains (the numbered lines) are running close to 4%, or about two and a half minutes, faster than last year, and close to 6%, or about three and a half minutes, faster than in 2017. On the ‘B’ Division (lettered lines), trains are running about 2%, or about one and a half minutes, faster than 2018, and close to 3%, or about two minutes, faster than in 2017.
  • There are signs that the recent trend in improving performance is attracting customers back to the subway system. Preliminary full-year data shows subway ridership slightly higher in 2019 than in 2018 for both weekdays and weekends (one percent for each). After several years of decreases, average weekday subway ridership increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and exceeded six million riders on two weekdays in November (the latest month with full data).
  • In terms of customer satisfaction, NYC Transit’s Customers Count survey saw a 9.4 percentage point improvement in satisfaction for the 4th quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. During that time, satisfaction increased on more than half the lines in the system and did not decrease on any line.
The Subway Action Plan launched at the direction of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in July 2017, and was funded by the Governor, Legislature and the City. With the goal of stabilizing and improving the 115-year old subway system, the plan’s extraordinary measures have been critical to recent performance improvements. Since the Subway Action Plan launched, MTA workers and contractors have:
  • Cleared more than 80,000 street grates (two passes of the entire system of more than 40,000) to prevent ingress of litter and leaves that build up on the tracks, causing fires and clogging drains.
  • Sealed more than 8,200 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.
  • Installed 55 miles of Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) across the system, replacing jointed rail, which is more prone to rail defects that delay trains.
  • Repaired more than 28,000 minor track defects that if not repaired can cause delays.
  • Performed more than 187 miles of track rail grinding to improve ride quality and reduce defects
  • Completed more than 1,500 priority maintenance and repair tasks to improve reliability of signal and switch equipment.
  • Repaired and rebuilt more than 2,000 signal components; as a result, signal-related major incidents have fallen by nearly 30% from 2017 to 2019.
  • 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
  • Completed a deep cleaning initiative of 107 subway stations and more than 3,000 subway cars.
  • Enhanced 217 stations via a focused cleaning and repair campaign led by Group Station Managers
The Save Safe Seconds Campaign was launched in 2018 as part of NYC Transit President Andy Byford’s Fast Forward Plan directive to improve subway service, particularly by focusing on the root causes of delays. Personnel have been engaged to help come up with ways to immediately improve subway performance and reduce delays, simply and affordably (or even at no cost) through better operating and service practices. The campaign has led to the intelligent and focused management of day to day train operations, including the repair of faulty speed-regulating signals, increase of speed limits and new instructions to train operators, in such a manner that allows for the safe increase of train speeds and, in turn, safely making subway trips take less time for customers. The campaign is led by NYC Transit’s Department of Subways Senior VP Sally Librera, in a partnership with NYC Transit’s labor partners, with the efforts of thousands train crew members and other front-line NYC Transit employees.