Beginning with the new year, we collected data from the MTA's website every ten minutes, each time recording which lines are delayed or experiencing other service disruptions1. Here's what we learned:
The most delayed line? That honor goes to the A
While it is the favorite line of Twitter trolls, the A train has been the bane of riders' existence in January, experiencing delays for over 11% of the time throughout the month. Check out the table below to see how your usual train performed:
Delays are most common from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
This chart shows the percentage of lines delayed throughout the day, by hour. The 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. hours are by far the highest, at about a 10% delay rate; in other words, across the entire month of January, 10% of the system was delayed during that time range, on average.
And weekdays tend to be much worse than weekends for delays
This chart is the same data as the chart above, but with weekdays and weekends separated. It's not a pretty picture for your typical weekday commuter.
Almost every line has more delays during rush hour
Let's narrow our focus to the morning rush, which we'll define here as times between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m, on weekdays only. In the table below, we can see delays spike on basically every line, going as high as 20.2% on the 4 train. Yes, more than 20% of the time during January the 4 was experiencing delays during a.m. rush hour.
Let's take a closer look at the three most-delayed lines, the A, 4, and D. The chart below shows the delay rate throughout the day; we can see that each line's peaks are in the morning rush hour period.
There wasn't a single morning last month without rush hour delays
You read that right: there wasn't a single weekday morning in January that didn't see at least one delay during the a.m. rush hour. In fact, the fewest number of lines delayed in a single morning was 5. The worst morning of the month was the final morning, where 19 of the 21 lines experienced a delay at some point in that three-hour span. (Only L and 1 train riders managed to escape the calamity.)
The MTA clearly tries to stack their planned work on weekends
On weekdays, the system as a whole runs with good service about 65% of the time, but that rate drops sharply on weekends, when more planned work is scheduled. The percentage of time with planned work exceeded time with good service for every Saturday and Sunday in January.
And planned work also peaks during late nights and mid-day periods
The chart below shows how late nights are typically used for planned work, as are midday hours between the morning and evening peak periods. Work drops drastically during rush hours.
One final crazy chart
It's a crowded chart, but bear with us: below we have the cumulative delay rate for each subway line, throughout the month of January. As an example, the B line didn't see any delays in the new year until the 4th, which is why its line was at 0% until that day.
Our old friend the A train has been "leading" the pack for most of the year.
Want to get the data yourself?
Readypipe users can use the Github Gist below to collect this data themselves. Readypipe is an all-in-one platform to run your web scrapers: just write the logic and it handles everything else. Readypipe is used by everyone from 3-person companies to 3,000-person companies: you can request access here.
Footnotes1. The "express" lines (the Z, 6X, and 7X) as well as the shuttle lines (S) are not included in any of these calculations.↩
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