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NEWS RELEASE

For more info, contact: Gene Russianoff or Farouk Abdallah at (212) 349-6460

 
Group Issues Rider Ratings of 15 Major Subway Stations

A Newly Re-Vamped 14th Street-Union Square Gets Best Ratings; 51st/Lexington Avenue the Worst

Riders Also Rate Broadway-Nassau Station Below Average; Station Slated for a Major Post-9/11 Overhaul

The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign today issued its annual ratings of the city's major subway stations, based on a poll of 4,206 riders.

Between May and August, the Straphangers Campaign distributed 45,000 postcards to riders at 15 highly-used city subway stations. Riders were asked to rate stations on a scale of "1" to "5" for cleanliness, security, crowding, ease of getting around; and information (signs and announcements).

Riders returned 4,206 usable responses, yielding a statistically valid sample. A rating "1" or "2" equaled a dissatisfactory rating. (See the attached tables.)

In the survey, riders expressed the most dissatisfaction with the 51st Street and Lexington Avenue station, which serves the 6, E, and F lines in Manhattan. It received overall unsatisfactory ratings from 49% of riders polled at the station. The station had the highest or next-to-the-highest percentage of unsatisfactory ratings on four of the five conditions surveyed in the poll—all but station information. In December 2000, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a $74 million contract to construct a new mezzanine level in the station to relieve overcrowding.

Riders expressed the least dissatisfaction with the recently-reconstructed 14th Street/Union Square station, which serves the L, N, R, 4, 5 and 6 lines in Manhattan. Overall, it received dissatisfactory ratings from only 24% of the riders polled at the station—and the lowest percentage of dissatisfactory ratings on cleanliness, security, and station information.

The Broadway-Nassau/Fulton Street station—which is slated for a major overhaul as part of the effort to rebuild lower Manhattan in the wake of the World Trade Center attack—fares poorly in the survey. Overall, 43% of the riders polled at the station were dissatisfied and the station received below average ratings on four of the five conditions measured. Riders expressed more dissatisfaction than average with the station's crowding, security, ease of movement, and information.

"Riders give good marks to a newly-rebuilt Union Square station and poor marks to two stations that are fortunately slated for rehabilitation," said campaign staff attorney Gene Russianoff.

Of the five measures surveyed, riders expressed the most dissatisfaction with crowding. Overall, 58% of those surveyed gave unsatisfactory ratings on station crowding.

Unhappiness with crowding reflects the large continued growth in ridership. Between 1996 and 2001, annual subway ridership grew 27%—from 1.1 billion to 1.4 billion; total average weekday ridership grew 38% between 1992 and 2001.

"Our survey shows that riders want more frequent service to relieve crowded subway stations," said Farouk Abdallah, the campaign organizer who oversaw the surveying.

Among the other key findings of the rider poll were:

• Crowding: Riders were the most unhappy about crowding at 34th Street/Penn Station (1/9,2,3) in Manhattan, where 81% of those polled gave a dissatisfied rating on crowding. Riders were least unhappy with crowding at Court Street/Borough Hall station (M,N,R,2,3,4,5), where one-third of those polled gave a dissatisfied rating on crowding.

• Cleanliness: The 14th Street and 6th Avenue station (F,L,1/9,2,3) in Manhattan received the poorest ratings on cleanliness, with 47% of riders dissatisfied; the 14th Street/Union Square station (L,N,R,4,5,6) had the best rating, with only 13% of riders dissatisfied.

• Security: The 14th Street and 6th Avenue station received the poorest rating on security, with 44% dissatisfied; the 14th Street/Union Square station had the best rating, with only 13% dissatisfied.

• Ease of Movement: Riders at the Court Street/Borough Hall station (M,N,R,2,3,4,5) were the least dissatisfied with the ease of movement at the station, with only 20% dissatisfied. Riders at the 51st Street and Lexington Avenue station felt it was the hardest to get around, with 55% dissatisfied.

• Station Information (Signs and Announcements): The14th Street/Union Square station got the best marks for available information, with only 19% of riders dissatisfied. The 14th Street and 6th Avenue station received the poorest rating on available information, with 43% dissatisfied.

The 15 stations in the survey were either the most-used in the system or the most-used in each of the four boroughs served by the subways. The stations were:

• Broadway Nassau/ Fulton Street station in Manhattan (A,C,J/Z,M,2,3,4,5):
• Chambers Street/World Trade Center station (A,C,E,2,3)
• Court Street/Borough Hall station in Brooklyn (M,N,R,2,3,4,5);
• Grand Central station in Manhattan (4,5,6,7,S);
• Main Street/Flushing (7);
• Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street station in Queens (E,F,G,R,7);
• Yankee Stadium/161st Street station in the Bronx (C,D,4);
• 14th Street/Union Square station in Manhattan (L,N,R,4,5,6);
• 14th Street and 6th Avenue station in Manhattan (F,L,1/9,2,3);
• 34th Street and 6th Avenue/Herald Square station (B,D,F,N,Q,R) in Manhattan;
• 34th Street/Penn Station in Manhattan (1/9,2,3);
• 47th-50th Street/Rockefeller Center station in Manhattan (B,D,F,Q);
• 51st Street and Lexington Avenue station in Manhattan (6, E, F);
• 59th Street and Lexington Avenue station in Manhattan (N,R,4,5,6);
and • 86th Street and Lexington Avenue station in Manhattan (4,5,6).

Because of major ongoing reconstruction work, the Times Square/42nd Street station was not included in the survey.

Last year, the Straphangers Campaign issued its first-ever rider poll of major subway stations. Due to changes in which stations were surveyed and in the methodology, last year's results cannot be compared to this year's.

The Straphangers Campaign's work to rate the quality of subway and bus service is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a leader in supporting the assessment of government services.

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