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Opinion: We’re the Best?

Source: 7 Train Blues Facebook

Source: 7 Train Blues Facebook

Opinion: Sept. 20, 2015

By Melissa Orlando, founder of Access Queens/7 Train Blues.

The 2015 State of the Subways Report Card is out and riders in Queens are confused. For the second year in a row, the 7 was ranked the best out of all of the subway lines. The best?

For the past nine months, via Facebook and Twitter, 7 train riders have been sharing information about delays, dangerous overcrowding, and near daily system issues such as stalled cars and signal malfunctions via 7 Train Blues.

These issues are constant and systemic and they certainly didn’t show up overnight. So we were in disbelief to learn that our train had been ranked number one by the Straphangers Campaign in its yearly report card of the NYC Subway system.

The Report Card ranks the subways on six different metrics and uses the previous year’s performance data to rank 19 subway lines. Each metric carries a different weight, with the most weight being given to the amount of scheduled service.

For those of us on the 7, and I’d imagine many of the other lines as well, the metrics seem to need adjustment. Some metrics, like the chance of getting a seat during rush hour, have become irrelevant, as the number of riders has skyrocketed in the past few years. Others, like the number of scheduled trains, become less relevant when there’s a 10-minute wait for a train during rush hour. Another metric is how clean is the subway, which is not going to get you to work on time.

The questions we hear every single day:

1) How long will I have to wait for a train?

2) Are there delays/service issues?

3) Will I be able to get on the train when it gets to the platform?

These are the key metrics that merit the most weight.

Was the 7 really that much better in 2014 (the data the study was based on) than this year?

There does seem to be a very steep decline in service this year, particularly after the snowstorms and dangerously cold temperatures this winter. But most of us that take the line regularly have a hard time believing that has been anything close to number one in many years.

The 7 has been plagued by service outages and dangerous overcrowding, as well as weekend service changes (not measured in this analysis) for years. At Access Queens, we’re asking that MTA conduct a full line review of the 7. With the opening of Hudson Yards, an examination of the line’s performance as well as a review of the loading guidelines are certainly in order.

On next year’s Report Card, we’d ask to see a greater focus on rider-reported data and would be happy to help in that regard. Our subways won’t improve if the baseline isn’t accurate and we’re not asking the most relevant questions.

If Mr. Russianoff – or anyone at the Straphangers Campaign – would like to join us during rush hour on the 7, we have many enthusiastic tour guides.

– Melissa Orlando is the founder of Access Queens/7 Train Blues.

These are the views of Melissa Orlando and do not reflect those of this publication.


email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

If the Mets play in the World Series, which seems very likely, let’s hope that the #7 is able to cope with the additional stress.

Bobby Rooney

well, it’s a good thing Kerry is bringing in 100,000+ refugees…hopefully to queens, that way the subway system will be far better, and there will be more jobs.


If you don’t think the 7 is the most reliable train in the system you must not take any others very often. Of course all of your miserable experiences will be mentally tied to the line you take multiple times a day rather than the G or the C, which you might take once a year.

Yes it’s crowded, yes weekend service changes can be a huge pain, but it’s still an extremely frequent and reliable train compared to other lines. That also doesn’t mean it doesn’t need more service and improvements.

Dale Cooper

I never comment on this site, but I came here to agree with you. I moved here six years ago from Forest Hills. Coming from the hell that is the E/F, when I started riding the 7 train, it was like I had died and gone to heaven. Yes, the 7 train weekend disruptions are a pain and yes sometimes, keyword “sometimes,” it can have an issue, but on the E/F line, platforms being so crowded you can’t walk down the stairs happen on a weekly basis, there is always a sick passenger, there are always signal problems, overcrowding is the norm, the aggressive panhandlers and mentally ill are almost nonexistent on the 7 as opposed to an almost daily occurrence on the E/F. Is the 7 perfect, no way, but compared to the rest of the transit system, it’s pretty great. However, that does say a lot about our transportation system if this is as good as it gets.


Thank you for this article! I was one of the confused. My son rides the 7 every day, and he was shocked when I showed him the so called, “report card”.


Raised in queens, love the neighborhood and the 7 train, but there is no way it’s number #1!!!

Sorry, even I can’t agree with that with all the problems these past few years. Who’s voting anyway????

Senator Michael Gianaris

“If the 7 train is the city’s best, I shudder to think of how bad the others must be. Despite this report, it is clear to any resident of western Queens that the 7 train line is in dire need of improvement. Between numerous malfunctions and scheduled shutdowns, it is clear the MTA has failed to recognize the rapid growth of our neighborhoods and must do more to improve train performance for Queens residents.”


then why do you use it during rush hour????

YOU made the choice to do this, and YOU can make a choice to find a flex time job or reverse commute to forest hills everyday and have a seat.

stop being a complainer……NYC is the most congested 9-5 M-F place i have ever lived we need 250,000 2nd and 3rd shift, holidays and weekend jobs to ease the problem


Well said! Thank you Melissa Orlando and everyone on the 7 Train Blues board for proving hard proof of what riders have been saying for years.

Avoid the Noid

Two additional metrics I’d like to see included are: will I be sexually assaulted by a man wearing a cowboy hat carrying an accordion, and will I see a Chinese woman picking her nose?
If this criteria is included the 7 train’s score will go down.


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