Your Train Is Usually On Time, and Getting More Reliable Every Year, You Ungrateful Whiner

Categories: G-Train Woes, MTA

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On time, yes. But the MTA still refuses to make party cars widely accessible.
We understand how great complaining is, especially complaining about "your" train and how long you have to wait for it. The G train kills love! The R causes ebola! The 2 and 3 killed both your grandparents! (First one, then the other, obviously. Not both at the same time. That would be too awful. Plus, the trains run on the same track, so we're not sure how that would work. This got dark quickly, didn't it?)

Far be it from us to deprive you of that complaining high. But no matter how much you like to kvetch that your train is always late, it's not actually true. You can see that for yourself by analyzing the performance data the MTA releases every month . Or, if you're a normal person, you can take a shortcut and look at Mike Vanger's New York City Subway Investigation.

Vanger is a graduate student in the Analytics program at Northwestern University and a Chicago-dweller, but he chose to focus on New York for a final project in an independent web development course. He took four years of data from the MTA and made an app that analyzed, and plotted in a handy, readable format, just how often the trains show up on time each month.

The results are, in short, pretty damn good. Overall, the trains showed up on time 80.3 percent of the time in June of this year, the most recent month for which data is available. That's an improvement over January 2009, when they showed up around 75.5 percent of the time. And in general, almost every subway line shows steady improvement over time, with the exception of the M, which has nose-dived from a high of 88 percent on time in March 2010 to 78.3 percent on time this June.

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As you might expect, there's variation between subway lines. Although you might not believe this, the G is the most reliable, with 84.3 percent showing-up-on-timeness. The 2 and 4 are both surprisingly bad, with the 2 taking honors for the lowest on-time rate ever: just 66 percent, back in December 2010.

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But there's one slight issue with the data.


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