It wasn’t hard to get subway riders to contribute their horror stories when we put out the call. Broken trains, dangerously crowded platforms, mass confusion when trains are canceled or rerouted…with record subway ridership, New Yorkers deserve better.
After we released our Subway Horror Stories book to draw attention to these problems, we and our allies were able to secure a commitment of almost $11 billion from Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to help fund the current MTA capital program. Now it’s time to hold our elected leaders to their promises.
Download the full Subway Horror Stories here!
The Broken Door
by Thomasin B, Brooklyn
I have been on an F train a few times that has a problem with a broken door. It’s the same routine: a door apparently won’t shut, and then the conductor yells at everyone on the train to “step in” and “get your bag out of the door,” and “we can’t move until the doors shut.” After 10 minutes or so the door somehow shuts, and then the same thing happens at the next station. After the third cycle of yelling and waiting, the conductor tells everyone to get off the train and wait for the next one, which takes another 10 minutes. This has happened to me at least 4 different times!
Misery in Bay Ridge
by Charlotte D, Brooklyn
The R train off peak, especially weekends and nights, is misery. There is no alternative in Bay Ridge except even scarcer buses. And the stations themselves are in terrible shape. Bay Ridge Ave. station floods with every rain, and it snows in enough to cover the benches.
I Got Out and Walked in the Rain
by Jordan W, Brooklyn
I got on the G train at Nassau Ave. The train took 10 minutes to crawl one stop, where it sat on the platform for 5 minutes before the conductor told everyone that it was the last stop. There were no announcements about what was happening, why, or what I should do as an alternative. I got out and walked in the rain to the next nearest train into Manhattan: the M/J at Marcy Ave. When I arrived there, the platform was already full, but I squeezed my way in. I waited for around 10 minutes, as more and more people came, until the first train arrived. It was too full for anyone to get on.
I Risk Being Dropped from English Class
by Maybe L, Queens
Just when you think it can’t get any worse than a crowded 7:00am N train that arrives tremendously late, it goes snail pace underground and takes almost 30 minutes to get to 36th Street from 20th Ave. Due to the poor service this/last week, I risk being dropped out of my English class because lateness is counted as an absence.
Delays on the B, Q, 4 and 5 Trains
by Eli S, Manhattan
Over the last couple of months, I have experienced significant delays on the B, Q, 4 and 5 trains. When a train arrives it is very crowded, causing me to wait for another and increasing my commuting time. It is significantly more uncomfortable to ride as a result. It is unfair to further burden New Yorkers to compensate for a never-closing MTA budget gap. It is in the best interest of NYC’s economy, tourism, and public safety, that the state legislature funds the MTA’s capital plan. Otherwise, I foresee increasingly dire circumstances, which will negatively ripple throughout the city.
45 Minutes Late to Daycare
by Jessica F, Brooklyn
On March 10, I was stuck on the F line due to a power outage at WTC. One power outage. 45 minutes to go three stops, I ended up having to get off the train to catch a cab so I could pick up my son 45 minutes late at daycare, paying a $40 cab ride to Brooklyn plus late charges from the daycare.
This is Beginning to Feel Like the 70s Again
by Bonnie N, Brooklyn
Going home, one day the MTA announced, as my C train sat at 42nd St., that there was no power at the World Trade Center stop; my conductor urged us to change for something else. So I trekked through two overcrowded passageways to catch a 7 train one stop to get to an F train, which barely had enough room for me to squeeze on. I’ve been riding the subways regularly since 1968; this is beginning to feel like the bad times in the 70s again.
It’s Like a Pack of Sardines
by Sherif S, Queens
I ride the F train from Jackson Heights to Midtown every day. When the trains are running like they’re supposed to, it’s great. My work commute is about 20 minutes maximum. That is if they’re running like they’re supposed to. More often than not, I arrive at the platform between 8:15 and 8:30 and it’s like a pack of sardines. After being greeted with this wonderful sight, the pushing and shoving starts. How many F trains go by before I can get on, you ask? On normal days, it’ll be one train, and I’ll get on the next (that is, of course, if the local train doesn’t arrive—dumping even more fellow passengers on the platform).
Trains Held at the Stations
by Rachel J, Brooklyn
Over the course of the last year, we have noticed Brooklyn R train service become notably less reliable and much more crowded. The trains are also held at the stations more frequently, adding 15-30 minutes to a trip.
The Platform Was Dangerously Crowded
by Shale M, Brooklyn
I was at Lorimer on the L train when I was informed a rail was broken in the tunnel. I took the G back to Broadway, and then the J to the 6. It took about 45 minutes, making me extremely late for work on a Monday morning. This morning, I played a fun game of musical chairs, as I was instructed to switch from the Rockaway-bound train to the Manhattan-bound train, and back again and again at the Bedford L stop. It was one of the most aggravating experiences I’ve ever had commuting. I spent over an hour trying to figure out what the hell was going on and how I was going to get to work. The platform was dangerously crowded with angry people, and the confusion was just ridiculous.
35 Minutes to Go One Mile
by Lauren H, Queens
Each morning I ride the Q69 or Q100 down 21st Street to the F train station at Queensbridge. The traffic has been so bad on 21st Street that my bus ride takes much longer than it would have taken me to walk. The worst was 35 minutes to go one mile! Then of course I get to the F train and I can barely squeeze onto the train because it is so crowded.
Hostile and Dangerous for Seniors
by Karalyn S, Brooklyn
As someone with a disability who uses public transit, the overcrowded trains and long wait times make it almost impossible for me to get a seat. The overcrowded conditions makes commuting more hostile and dangerous for seniors and disabled people.
I Was Late to School Every Day
by Noelle F, Brooklyn
From January to the end of March 2014, the 6 train was crowded and delayed every day. It was so hard for me to get to school and I was late every day. I almost got suspended for this because my teacher thought I was cutting. Now I have to go out of my way by taking a crosstown bus to the C train, which takes extra time.
Every Morning Begins with Being Shoved
by Ana N, Manhattan
Recently, every morning begins with being shoved and crammed into the 6 train after already having let two or three completely full trains pass by. I stand on the crowded platform with people pushing past me and worry about falling onto the tracks. I’m a woman in my early 20s and every day I have to stand brushed up against men if I want to be able to get to work on time. For the NYC subway system, this type of service is unacceptable. The people who take the trains every morning during rush hour should be able to expect reliable service.
We Arrived Tired and Cold
by Matteo C, Queens
On March 15, it took me and my wife almost two hours to go from Long Island City to the Upper West Side. Usually on a regular day that trip should take about 30 min if the trains work on schedule. We arrived at our final destination tired and cold.
Two and a Half Hours Late
by Daren R, Bronx
There have been many unfortunate events when taking the D train, but this one was pretty bad. The doors were broken on the D train and every time the train reached a stop everybody had to wait a good six minutes or so because the train conductor was trying to close the doors and call for help. Unfortunately help didn’t come until about three to four stops into my ride. After about ten minutes of long, uncomfortable waiting, we were told to get off the train and transfer over to the B train. This was a problem because the B is a local train. Then for some odd reason had to transfer again because that B train was no longer going along the normal B route. So I had wait for another D or B train alongside hundreds of other people all because one train malfunctioned. I got home about two and a half hours later than I usually do.
Trying to Get to College
by Tenzing D, Queens
I take the Q60 bus or R or M train to the Jackson Heights and then a 7 train to LaGuardia Community College. I prefer Q60, because I do not need to change to go to LaGuardia Community College. However, the bus service is very bad. I was waiting and waiting for bus in the morning and the bus never comes even after waiting for more than 30 or 40 minutes. Sometimes when the bus comes, it does not stop. There is no clear reason why this happens. If they raise the fare, it will put more pressure on students and low income earning families who depend on the MTA bus and train services to commute within the five boroughs.
Trains Failing, Rails Breaking…
by Benjamin S, Brooklyn
The mornings on the L train are crazy as it is, with too many people, not enough trains, and delays. The L train tends to have a lot of breakdowns due to either trains failing, rails breaking, or investigations. There are mornings when you are trying to get to work or to an appointment early and you find that trains are jam-packed, and you stand waiting ten or more minutes for one to arrive that isn’t as crowded. You also find that in the evenings and weekends, trains are far and few in between. There have been way too many “We are delayed because of train traffic ahead” and “Apologizing for the inconveniences” recently. We need to have better-equipped trains to accommodate a rising population and New Yorkers moving to farther areas of Brooklyn and Queens.
Stuck in Between Stations
by Stephanie R, Queens
I ride the 7 train every morning and I’ve been having bad luck taking the train anywhere, especially to school. The conductors always change their mind if it is express or local and they are always delayed or stuck in-between stations. My previous experience was horrible—I was stuck in between stations for three hours. I never made it to school—and it took me to two hours to get home. Please before you try to raise the prices, make the commute easier!
Can’t Fit on the First Few Trains
by Stephanie R, Queens
I have had many crowded-platform, body-crunching, stuck-underground-between-stations-for-30-minutes, and similar experiences, but rather than tell any one story, I’d like to say that I find it sad that on a daily basis, I make a point to get to my station early because I know I most likely won’t be able to fit on the first few trains that go by. Even when they are running well, they are packed to capacity, which leads to delays on a regular basis. At least once a week (usually twice) there’s some sort of delay on a line that I use (L/G/E/M) that causes me to have to alter my commute. I’m not sure how anyone feels that this is acceptable from a system that we pay to use. I am fine with fare hikes, so long as the result is service that is actually reliable.
Walked 46 Blocks Home
by Emily P, Brooklyn
Last week due to melting snow, there were no N, D, or R trains in service going to Bay Ridge from Atlantic terminal. There was no alternate transportation offered, so people who were commuting that way either had to spring for a cab or take the B63 along 5th Ave. Tons of people were left standing in the rain for the bus, and some people like me just gave up and walked home (I live 46 blocks from Atlantic Ave.).
R Train Moving at the Pace of a Snail
by Jeff D, Brooklyn
This morning during rush hour, the R train took over 30 minutes to go seven stops from Prospect Ave to Whitehall, which is almost double its estimated commute time of 17 minutes. Thanks for moving at a pace of a snail, R train.
Pushed Off a Crowded Train and Broke my Fibula
by Sandra Y, Manhattan
On an overcrowded 4/5 train which was impossible to get on in the first place, I tried to transfer to the 6 train across the platform and no one would move or get out to let me off—if you move to let someone off, you might not get back on. I pushed my way through and then someone shoved me off the train onto the platform. I fell and broke my fibula.
Three Hours to Get Home
by Mylin R, Bronx
Although the fares continue to increase, the service is rapidly deteriorating! I left work at 6:00pm and did not get home until 9:00pm! An entire three hours trying to navigate the subway system, taking alternate routes, only to be met with inadequate service and crowded slow trains! It is absolutely absurd and something must be done about this. We New Yorkers deserve to have peace of mind and a reliable subway system, particularly when we continue to be hit with fare increases and continue to see no results from the use of our hard-earned money.
The Rats Are On the Steps
by Francine A, Manhattan
I am in the subway every morning at 4:45 am and the rats in this subway station are so horrible that sometimes you can’t even walk up and down the steps because the rats are on the steps to the platform. They get really close to people—it’s disgusting and dangerous. Please get rid of the rats before someone gets bitten!
Peeling Ceilings and Rusted-Out Columns
by Asya B, Brooklyn
I live by an elevated train (the Brighton Beach B/Q). A couple of weeks ago a huge eight-inch pipe that hung under the overpass fell off and hit the ground right at the crosswalk underneath. It’s lucky no one was hurt or killed. The condition of the subway bridges and other structures scares me . . . most of the stations I take, especially Bleecker Street, have awful peeling ceilings and rusted-out columns. I look at them every day and wonder if anyone is inspecting the structural supports to make sure they’re in good shape, or whether anyone who rides the subway is taking their life in their hands.
The Q Train Sat in the Tunnel For Half an Hour
by Kamala S, Brooklyn
I have too many horror stories. . . . Shall I tell the one where I was an hour late to an important rehearsal because the Q train inexplicably sat in the tunnel for half an hour with no announcement? Or how about the time I was almost late to a performance because everyone was unceremoniously kicked off a downtown A train and left to wait 20 minutes until another one showed up? Or how about the daily horror of trying to get to midtown during rush hour? Today alone, there was a “sick passenger” on the Q and then “signal problems” on the 5 train. I can’t remember the last time I tried to get somewhere when there wasn’t an issue. Instead of collecting horror stories, you might have less work gathering good transit experiences because I guarantee there are less of them!
When the C Train Comes, There is No Space
by Liesl E, Brooklyn
I dread commuting to work every day and especially this past month the trains have been overly crowded. I need to take the C train at Lafayette to Spring Street. The train only comes every 10-12 minutes and when it arrives there is absolutely no space. At Canal Street there are often signal problems, forcing riders to go express or walk. Some nights I can’t even get home during rush hour because trains aren’t running or are overly crowded. I have to take another train line that is completely out of the way. My average commute time has almost doubled.
Standing Room Only at the Very First Stop
by Cynthia D, Bronx
Last week for over 30 minutes there was no 4, 5 or 6 train service. For the past two months even though I get on at the very first stop (Pelham Bay 6 train) there has been standing room only. I think that it is disgraceful that passengers have to stand up at the first stop. There used to be trains waiting at the Pelham Bay Station but now you have to wait for a train to pull into the station. The bus and subway service has been performing horribly these past few months. It makes me want to get back in my car and drive to work. I stopped driving one year ago because I wanted to do my part for the environment, but with such very poor service I am tempted to go back to driving.
Took me 90 Minutes to Get to Union Square
by Alexandra K, Brooklyn
It took me 90 minutes and endless subway transfers to get from Greenpoint to Union Square on March 17, and along the way the subway door smashed my finger. Later today, police stopped my R train looking for someone and I had to get off and walk to another station and find a different route—for the second time that day.