NEW YORK (TIP): Too many New York City subway stations are in disrepair and New York City Transit’s repair program is progressing too slowly, according to a report issued by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Only 51 of the city’s 468 stations were free of defects, and just 1-in-4 had most or all of their station components in good repair.
“New York City Transit reports it is making progress on repairing stations but the pace is too slow and much more work needs to be done,” DiNapoli said.
“Worn or damaged stairs and platform edges pose risks for riders, while broken tiles, lights and peeling paint leave riders with a low opinion of the transit system.”
DiNapoli’s office examined data from New York City Transit (NYCT), a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which determines station conditions by surveying “structural” components -such as stairs, columns and platform edges, as well as “architectural” components – such as tile, paint and lighting. The survey rates components on a scale of 1 to 5. NYCT considers those it rated under 3 to be free of defects and in a “state of good repair.” Components rated 3 or higher are worn or damaged. The survey does not consider cleanliness, routine maintenance needs or the condition of elevators and escalators.
According to the latest survey, more than one-quarter of all structural components had defects. At 94 stations, at least half of the structural components needed repairs. The subway stations in Brooklyn and Queens had the largest percentage of components with defects (one-third).
Nearly half of all platform edges (43 percent), which are important to rider safety, had defects in need of repair. While 33 percent of platform edges had a moderate level of deterioration, 10 percent exhibited serious defects.
NYCT data also showed that 27 percent of station components – such as ceilings or columns – needed to be painted. Also, the tile or other finish on one-third of all subway platform walls and floors did not meet the NYCT’s minimum standards and needed to be repaired.
Over the past three decades, NYCT had renovated 241 stations from top-to-bottom at a cost of $4.5 billion. However, NYCT did not commit resources to maintain the newly renovated stations, which have deteriorated over time. Starting in 2010, NYCT changed the way it addresses station conditions by giving priority to the most deteriorated structural components. NYCT estimates that it needs to invest more than $5 billion over the next 20 years to bring the stations to what it considers a state of good repair.
NYCT surveys station conditions every five years. If the survey reveals acondition that poses an imminent safety risk, NYCT reported that it immediately makes a temporary or permanent repair. DiNapoli’s report is based on NYCT’s 2012 survey, which is the latest available data on station conditions.