Subway rush hour woes highlight M.T.A. communications issues

During the evening rush on Thursday, delays on the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, B, D, F, G, M, N, R, and W lines caused a rush hour meltdown for straphangers.

G train service, in its entirety, was suspended for over four hours, from around 4:30pm to almost 9pm, due to signal problems at Bergen Street. Many riders experienced extended commutes, and took photos of severe overcrowding conditions at stations:

“We faced significant challenges during tonight’s rush hour,” said NYC Transit Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer. The Daily News reported on Tuesday that NYC Transit President Andy Byford had created a new Chief Customer Officer position, and had hired Meyer to fill the slot.

Meyer added that the cause of the delays on the F and G trains was a “defective piece of equipment at Bergen Street,” and the agency would be starting a “full internal investigation of the signal malfunction.”

However, these delays point to a bigger issue inside the agency: its customer communications efforts are falling short.

When an incident first occurs, the M.T.A. often does not immediately update their website or Twitter feed with the new issue.

For several major incidents, the agency has first responded to individual customers on Twitter before publishing a general message through their GMS alerts system, or updating real-time data feeds and the website. This makes it extremely difficult for riders to take alternative routes home and avoid service disruptions.

Riders voiced their frustration about the lack of information provided to them on Twitter:

After a repeat of the signal failures at Bergen Street, the agency appeared to hesitate again in updating riders.

When asked about the apparent delay, in both subway service and customer communications, the official Twitter account responded by saying that they “hold on posting until we have a complete understanding of a situation.”

Note: Story updated with additional information.

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