June 19, 2017: SUBWAY HORROR STORIES

Trains canceled after hours of delay and passengers stuck in crowded subway car. These horror stories that will drive you right off the rails!

TRANSCRIPT

> AND THAT WAS THE SCENE RECENTLY ON A CROWDED AND STEAMY NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY.

THE TRAIN BROKE DOWN LOSING LIGHTS AND AIR CONDITIONING.

AND PASSENGERS WERE STUCK INSIDE FOR OVER AN HOUR.

SO, HOW WAS YOUR DAILY COMMUTE ON THE SUBWAY?

DOES IT SEEM LIKE THERE ARE MORE DELAYS?

THE SYSTEM AT TIMES IS STRAINING TO HANDLE NEARLY 6 MILLION PASSENGERS EACH DAY.

UP FROM 4 MILLION IN THE 1990s.

AND THE AVERAGE DISTANCE THAT SUBWAY CARS TRAVEL BETWEEN BREAKDOWNS WAS ABOUT 120,000 MILES IN NOVEMBER, AS COMPARED TO 200,000 MILES BACK IN NOVEMBER OF 2010.

OUR NEXT GUEST IS DAN, THE TRANSPORTATION REPORTER FOR THE 'NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.'

IN A RECENT ARTICLE, HE MAKES THE CLAIM THAT WHEN THE SUBWAY ANNOUNCE RMT, QUOTE, WE'RE EXPERIENCING DELAYS, DUE TO TRAIN TRAFFIC AHEAD IS MADE, IT MAY WELL BE A LIE.

HE'S HERE TO EXPLAIN WHY AND TELL US MORE ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE SYSTEM.

DAN, ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK HERE WITH US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

THE PROVOCATIVE HEADLINE.

WHY WOULD THAT BE A LIE?

WELL, SURELY IT IS TRAIN TRAFFIC.

IT COULD NOT BE.

AND THAT -- GO INTO A SUBWAY STATION AND ASK SOMEONE, HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THERE IS TRAIN TRAFFIC AHEAD?

YOU WILL SEE THEIR EYES ROLL BACK FASTER THAN A SUBWAY CAR.

IT'S A PHRASE THAT PEOPLE HEAR SO OFTEN, AND IT JUST DOESN'T RING TRUE ANYMORE.

I'VE SPOKEN TO EVEN THE CONDUCTORS ON THE TRAIN.

THEY DON'T HAVE THE INFORMATION TO GIVE THE RIDERS DETAILS ABOUT WHAT THE NATURE OF THE --

EVEN CONDUCTORS DON'T HAVE IT.

EVEN THE CONDUCTORS DON'T HAVE IT.

THEY COMPLAIN ABOUT THAT.

SOMETIMES THEY SAY THEY'RE IN A DEAD ZONE AND THEY DON'T KNOW IF THEIR RADIO STATEMENT IS GOING TO THE RAILROAD CENTER.

THEY DON'T GET THE FEEDBACK THEY NEED.

THEY SAY THE CREWS WORKING IN THE RAIL CONTROL CENTER AREN'T GIVING THEM THE DETAILS THEY NEED TO TELL THE RIDERS WHY THEY'RE BEING HELD UP.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

THERE'S TRAIN TRAFFIC AHEAD.

THIS IS SOMETHING PEOPLE HEAR, EVEN FOR EXAMPLE, THIS IS A COMMON THING YOU HEAR, YOU'RE WAITING IN YOUR SUBWAY STATION.

IT TAKES ABOUT TEN MINUTES, MAYBE 15 BEFORE A TRAIN ARRIVES.

AND THEN YOU GET ON THE TRAIN, AND IT PLODS THROUGH THE TUNNEL AND YOU HEAR THIS TRAIN TRAFFIC AHEAD.

YOU WONDER, HOW COULD THERE BE TRAIN TRAFFIC, I HAVEN'T SEEN ONE IN 10, 15 MINUTES.

THIS IS WHAT THE RAIL CONDUCTORS TELL THE RIDERS.

A LOT OF TIMES THEY'RE NOT ARMED WITH THE INFORMATION AND THEY ESSENTIALLY HAVE TO USE THIS FALLBACK OPTION.

THEY HAVE PLENTY OF OPTIONS TO, YOU KNOW, APPROVE ANNOUNCEMENTS THAT THEY CAN TELL THE RIDERS.

BUT IF THEY DON'T KNOW, THEY CAN'T TELL THE RIDERS.

WE CAN PROBABLY BORROW A LINE FROM THE '60s PAUL NEWMAN MOVIE 'COOL HAND LUKE,' I DON'T KNOW, YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT OLD ENOUGH, BUT WHAT HE SAYS IS, WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE.

ABSOLUTELY.

ONE POINT ON THAT.

SURE, IF THERE IS TRAIN TRAFFIC, MAYBE YOU CAN TELL THE RIDERS THAT.

BUT WHY IS THERE TRAIN TRAFFIC?

WAS THERE A SIGNAL THAT WAS BROKEN?

ARE YOU STILL RECOVERING FROM A PREVIOUS INCIDENT, YOU KNOW, A MILE UP THE LINE?

YOU COULD ALWAYS GIVE MORE INFORMATION.

AND RIDERS REALLY WANT THAT.

FOR THE LONGEST TIME, PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT HOW GREAT THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY SYSTEM WAS.

IT WAS RELIABLE, GOT YOU TO WORK, IT WAS EFFICIENT, IT WAS COST-EFFECTIVE.

WHY ARE WE SEEING SO MANY PROBLEMS NOW THAT SEEM TO BE POPPING UP JUST RECENTLY?

YOU KNOW, I WANT TO RECALL A LITTLE NEWS REEL DOCUMENTARY I SAW, FROM LIKE 1961, OR THE EARLY '60s CALLED THE DAILY MIRACLE.

IT JUST SHOWED AN EFFICIENT SUBWAY SYSTEM, MAYBE IT HAS A FEW PROBLEMS, BUT BOY, DOES IT GET YOU EVERYWHERE YOU NEED TO GO, AND ON TIME, MAYBE WITH A FEW MINUTES TO SPARE TO PICK UP SOME BREAKFAST.

THAT WAS THE '60s.

IT IS NOT LIKE THAT ANYMORE.

IT'S REALLY BECOME A CRISIS.

IT'S THE BIGGEST CRISIS OF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM SINCE THE EARLY '80s, LATE '70s WHEN IT WAS REALLY IN THE PITS.

I DON'T RECALL THAT, I'M TOO YOUNG.

BUT I CERTAINLY HAVE SEEN THE MOVIES, AND IT WAS BAD.

WE'RE FACING SOMETHING -- IT'S CREEPING UP TO THAT.

IT'S NOT AS DANGEROUS AS IT WAS IN THE '80s, BUT SURELY IT'S BECOMING JUST AS UNRELIABLE.

IS IT TOO SIMPLE TO SAY, WELL, IT'S BECAUSE OF THE DRAMATIC INCREASE IN RIDERSHIP?

NO.

AND THAT'S WHAT MTA OFFICIALS LIKE TO SAY, THAT THEY'RE A VICTIM OF THEIR OWN SUCCESS.

THEY'RE NOT A VICTIM OF THEIR OWN SUCCESS.

IT IS THE WAY THE SUBWAY SYSTEM IS OPERATED.

I'VE DONE EXCLUSIVE REPORTING ON THIS.

I UNCOVERED AN INTERNAL REPORT, BASICALLY DISCOUNTING WHAT MTA OFFICIALS TELL THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE NATURE OF DELAYS AND THE WAY THEY RUN SERVICE.

THERE'S BEEN A MANTRA AT THE MTA, THAT THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU THE RIDER ON THE PLATFORM SEE A STEADY FLOW OF TRAINS.

AND EVEN IF THEY HAVE TO HOLD A TRAIN FROM MOVING, HOLD IT IN A STATION, SKIP STOPS, THAT'S THEIR GOAL.

NOT TO GET IT RUNNING ON SCHEDULE.

SO THEY JUST COMPLETELY IGNORED ON-TIME PERFORMANCE OF ITS TRAINS, BECAUSE THEY FIGURE, AS LONG AS WE'RE GETTING THE TRAINS TO THE STATION PICKING PEOPLE UP, THEY'LL BE OPERATE.

THAT'S NOT THE CASE.

THE INTERNAL SUBWAY REPORTS SAID THERE'S NO RELATIONSHIP TO THAT.

YOU'RE NOT IMPROVING THE WAIT TIMES OF PEOPLE ON THE PLATFORM BY MAKING TRAINS RUN OFF SCHEDULE AND RUN LATE.

THEY FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF THAT.

THE REPORT, WHEN I BROUGHT IT TO THE MTA, THEY BASICALLY DISMISSED IT.

ALSO, THERE'S NOT A PREMIUM ON SPEED.

THEY JUST DON'T SEE SPEED AS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR, BECAUSE THEY'RE CONCERNED WITH SAFETY.

BUT THERE'S NO EFFORT TO BALANCE SAFETY WITH SPEED.

YOU'VE GOT TO -- IT'S RAPID TRANSIT.

YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER THAT.

AND THESE TRAIN SPEEDS HAVE BEEN GOING INCREDIBLY SLOW.

ARE THERE CERTAIN LINES THAT ARE BETTER OR WORSE?

ABSOLUTELY.

BUT IT REALLY IS -- IT DEPENDS ON THE TYPE OF TRAIN CARS THEY USE.

IT DEPENDS ON THE NUMBER OF PASSENGERS THEY CARRY.

THE BEST PERFORMING LINE IS THE L TRAIN.

BUT IF YOU SPEAK TO SOME L TRAIN RIDERS, THEY'RE GOING TO COMPLAIN, IT GETS SO CROWDED, I CAN'T EVEN BOARD.

IS THAT GOOD SERVICE?

IS THAT HELPING PEOPLE?

EVEN THE TRAIN CARS, THEY USE THE VERY NEW TRAIN CARS.

THERE'S A PERIOD WHERE ALL THE OLD TRAIN CARS WERE FILLED PRIOR TO 1990.

AND THEN IN THE 2000s THEY STARTED GETTING NEW CARS.

EVEN SOME OF THOSE NEW CARS ARE UNDERPERFORMING THE OLD, STURDIER TRAIN CARS BUILT BY SOME FAMOUS NAMES THAT AREN'T EVEN AROUND ANYMORE.

IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE NATURE OF THE LINE.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU, IS THERE A REASON FOR HOPE?

IS THERE A PLAN IN PLACE?

ARE STEPS BEING TAKEN?

YES, THE MTA AND GOVERNOR CUOMO, AND JUST A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND, GOVERNOR CUOMO CONTROLS THE MTA.

HE APPOINTS ITS CHAIR.

HE HAS IMMENSE SWAY AT THE MTA.

HIS PROJECTS GET FRONT LOADED.

AND HE SAYS HE HAS A PLAN.

HE'S INTRODUCED WHAT HE CALLS A GENIUS COMPETITION.

HE WILL GIVE ANYONE $3 MILLION TO COME UP WITH A GENIUS WAY TO FIX THE SUBWAY.

IN THE MEANTIME, THE ATTENTION REALLY NEEDS TO BE FOCUSED ON WHAT CAN YOU DO RIGHT NOW.

AND THAT IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

THE MTA SAYS THEY HAVE A SIX-POINT PLAN TO TACKLE IT.

A LOT OF THOSE POINTS HAS BEEN STUFF THEY'VE BEEN TRYING ALREADY TO SEEMINGLY NO EFFECT.

SO IT'S GOING TO TAKE A LOT MORE THAN A COMPETITION.

IT'S GOING TO TAKE A LOT MORE THAN SIMPLY DOING WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING TO FIX THIS SUBWAY, WHICH IS IN CRISIS.

DAN, WE APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU.

AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO TALK WITH YOU AS WE MOVE FORWARD, SEE WHAT KIND OF PROGRESS IS BEING MADE.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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