These images of a ridiculous bus line caused by NYC subway delays show just miserable the state of public transit has become

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesNYC’s subway system has become increasingly unreliable.

  • On Tuesday morning, mechanical and signal problems resulted in delays for over six MTA subway lines used by commuters in NYC.
  • The delays began a little before 5:30 a.m. and continued throughout Tuesday morning.
  • Twitter users posted photos and videos of a line wrapping around a block in Astoria, Queens for the M60 bus that resulted from delays to the N train.

Delays have become an epidemic for the New York subway system, as just 65% of trains reach their destination within five minutes of their expected arrival. That’s the lowest rate among any major metropolitan rapid transit system.

On Tuesday morning, mechanical and signal problems resulted in delays for over six subway lines used by commuters. According to the MTA’s subway-focused Twitter account, the problems began a little before 5:30 a.m. and continued throughout Tuesday morning.

“It’s evident to me after just four weeks … and today is kind of typical of this, performance is nowhere near good enough,” New York City Transit Authority president Andy Byford said in an MTA board meeting on Tuesday. “We’re still struggling with far too many interruptions to service on the subway.”

Twitter users posted photos and videos of a line wrapping around a block in Astoria, Queens for the M60 bus that resulted from delays to the N train.

NYC’s subway problems have been building for decades

Decades of inadequate investment, an outdated signalling system, track fires, and overcrowding have contributed to the subway system’s frequent delays and put the MTA in a difficult position. The New York Times estimated that upgrading the signalling system for every subway line could take 50 years and $US20 billion, and the benefits from increased spending on maintenance could also take years to make a noticeable impact on delay frequency.

Even if the MTA decided to make those changes, it would need to raise a significant amount of money for them. Transit projects in New York are far more expensive than those in comparable cities throughout the world partly because of generous compensation for workers and high costs from contractors, both of whom are allowed to negotiate their rates without input from any New York City agencies.

There’s no easy fix

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have proposed congestion fees and additional taxes on the wealthy to help pay for improvements, but no comprehensive plan to fix the subway system has been put into place.

Improvements could also require subway lines and stations to close for significant amounts of time. The L line, which connects north Brooklyn to Manhattan, will close for 18 months for improvements in 2019, and three subway stations on the Upper West Side will close for six months in 2018 for upgrades.

For now, many New York City residents will have to cross their fingers every time they go to work.

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