The Grades Are In: Straphanger’s Campaign Releases the State of the Subways Report Card

The Grades Are In: Straphanger’s Campaign Releases the State of the Subways Report Card

Every year, the NYPIRG Straphanger’s Campaign releases the State of the Subways Report Card. The 2012 results are out. Here’s what we know: Overall, the trains serving the Slope are fairly middle of the road (middle of the track?). Out of 20, the F comes in 8th, the R and the N are tied for 10th, the 3 comes in 12th, the D 13th, and the 2 14th. (I’m not counting all the trains that don’t head further east after Atlantic-Pacific Atlantic-Barclays, and the G doesn’t get a MetroCard rating at all.) In other words, it could be worse — but not that much worse.

According to the Straphanger’s, riders want:

…short waits, trains that arrive regularly, a chance for a seat, a clean car andunderstandable announcements that tell them what they need to know.

Yes. That’s true. That is what I want.

The report continues, laying out the criteria that determine the ratings:

The measures are: frequency of scheduled service; how regularly trains arrive; delays due to car mechanical problems; chance to get a seat at peak period; car cleanliness; and in-car announcements.Regularity of service is reported in an indicator called wait assessment, a measure of gaps in service or  bunching together of trains.

Okay! Let’s do this! But how?

The Straphanger’s (somewhat complicated) “MetroCard Rating” system assigns each line it’s “worth” in dollars:

First,we decided how much weight to give each of the six measures of transit service. Then we placed each line on a scale that permits fair comparisons. Under a formula we derived, a line whose performance fell exactly at the 50th percentile in this baseline would receive a MetroCard rating of $1.25 in this report. Any line at the 90th percentile of this range would receive a rating of $2.25, the current base fare.

(You can read more — so much more — about the methodology in the report itself.)

Overall, the Q outdoes the other 19 trains in the system (shuttles don’t count), winning the title of “The Best.” But even The Best isn’t all that great, it turns out: coming in at $1.60, the Q scores well on announcements (clear), mechanical breakdowns (minimal), seat availability (not bad), and car cleanliness (clean). It performed below average, though, on the other two criteria — both the amount and regularity of scheduled service were found wanting.

Meanwhile, the C beat out plenty of tough competition to maintain its position as “The Worst” for the 4th year running (mazel!). It’s infrequent, it’s dirty, there are frequent mechanical delays, and you can’t hear the announcements. On the plus side, though, it’s not particularly less regular than other trains, and — possibly thanks to it being lackluster in all other respects — you can usually get a seat.

The report also breaks down winners and losers by category. If getting a seat is your top priority, delays be damned, the R’s your train of choice. If running on schedule is your number one, it’s all about the J/Z.