MTA Crew Shortages Causing Subway Delays

An MTA subway train above ground in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

The MTA is losing thousands of workers, leading to extensive subway delays throughout the city.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, 6% of the MTA’s workforce, or 4,5000 employees, have either left, been fired, or succumbed to the virus.

Also at the beginning of the pandemic, MTA leaders enacted a hiring freeze as ridership plummeted and revenue tanked. So though hundreds of conductors and subway operators have retired, the MTA has only now begun to hire new crews to replace them, and it is not enough.

Subway conductors who open train doors require 2-3 months of training, and subway operators who drive the trains require 7-8 months of training.

NYC Transit Chief Operating Officer Demetrius Crichlow said the crew shortage resulted in “lower service delivery and slightly longer additional platform times [in June], which are indicators of longer waiting times.”

Agency records show that 8,046 subway runs were canceled in May 2021 because there weren’t enough workers available to run the trains, as opposed to 861 rides canceled in May 2019. More than 5,000 subway runs were canceled during the first 16 days of July due to the same issue.


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