On today’s INSIDER, I’ll discuss delivery delays plaguing the R211 order and why they shouldn’t preclude service increases. I’ll also explain why the remaining updates for
v1.0.0 v0.8.0 of the enhanced NYC subway are taking so long.
Service Delayed, Not Service Denied
The new R211 subway cars – first delayed due to COVID-19 and now delayed further due to production issues – are meant to replace the aging R44SI and R46 fleets and enable systemwide service increases. However, the base order is now slated for completion sometime in 2025, with an additional 640 units coming between 2025 and 2o26.
While this is certainly a bummer, it need not preclude service increases. The Riders Alliance’s #6MinuteService campaign isn’t predicated on the R211 delivery; their latest report suggests that NYC can run its subways and its 100 busiest bus lines every 6 minutes or better for a mere $250 million per year. I say mere because the six-minute service paradigm could pay for itself through fare revenue alone if it attracts just 91 million additional riders per year; this number, if added to 2022 ridership numbers, is still well below 100% of pre-pandemic ridership. (In 2019, the subway attracted nearly 1.7 billion riders; as of December 7th, 2022, that figure stands at less than 942 million.)
So what does this mean for NYTIP? My service plan for v0.8.0 assumes completion of the base R211 order; however, all proposed improvements except for the J extension to South Brooklyn are still feasible even without them. In fact, #6MinuteService could be implemented now even before implementing the subway redesigns proposed in v0.8.0!
Enhanced NYC Subway v0.8.0 Status
You might’ve noticed that I haven’t updated the enhanced NYC subway summary post to reflect v0.8.0 yet. There are a few reasons for that. First, there’s one more post I need to publish on the SIR before the update. Second, I’ve been hard at work creating a mock timetable that would accompany the updated service guide. I started that project in February; however, after several false starts and many do-overs – including nearly scrapping the whole thing – I’ve finally made significant progress. The mock timetable is
over 50% almost complete, with the entire IRT, two of the three shuttles, the SIR, and the B, C, D, and L lines all lines except the northbound J completed. It is my first attempt at creating a timetable, and while I don’t expect it to be perfect – there will likely be some mistakes – I think it’s a good way to visualize the extent and feasibility of the proposed service increases.
Lastly, I just haven’t had the time. A lot has happened in my personal space in recent months that made for a tough autumn – from an injury sustained in a bicycling accident in October to hospitalization of loved ones last month. Only now is some semblance of normalcy returning – though I have yet to get the bike fixed.
The Bottom Line
NYTIP has not gone dormant! New content is coming, though I can’t say how soon. I really want to flesh this thing out, especially in light of growing calls for regional rail and cats insisting that highway widening somehow advances “climate goals” (lol). Until next time, y’all!