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Gov. Cuomo: NYC Subway Trains Will Soon Be Speeding Up

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There is some good news for commuters. Your daily subway ride may soon be faster.

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced trains will be speeding up for the first time in about two decades, CBS2's Reena Roy reported.

Slow service on the subways is a top complaint for most commuters.

"My train is usually delayed 10 minutes, 15 minutes," one straphanger told Roy.

"Pretty frustrating," another said.

FLASHBACKMTA: Subway Speeds Are Getting Faster

But now officials are promising a faster ride. The MTA and Transport Workers Union are working together to speed up some trains up to 50 percent.

Subway 1 Train
File - A 1 train pulls into a subway station. (credit: CBS2)

"If we can improve this, people will feel this immediately and dramatically," Cuomo said.

About 20 years ago, the speed limit was reduced after a series of rear-end crashes, including one in 1995 on the Williamsburg Bridge that left a motorman dead and more than 50 people injured.

And making service crawl even slower? Train operators, themselves. They often go under the limit because of faulty speed regulator devices, which can unnecessarily trigger emergency brakes, giving operators violations and delaying commuters by suddenly stopping trains, sometimes leaving them stranded in tunnels.

"They are taught to go slower than posted speeds to avoid possibly tripping a signal, which in many cases can cause a service delay up to 20 minutes," said the TWU's Eric Phillips.

To fix this, engineers will recalibrate the entire signal system.

When asked what will be done in the future to maintain the system so that this doesn't happen again, Cuomo said, "We have done it, and they are doing it. The MTA is moving to a new signal system now, the CBTC. They're ooking for new technology and better technology."

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He also admitted the MTA waited too long to finally act on years' long complaints from operators.

"That delay in making those changes, that can never happen again," Cuomo said.

Right now, engineers are working to determine the optimal speed limits for different trains and will be giving their recommendations to top MTA officials by the end of the year. It's all expected to be reviewed shortly after and that's when riders will hopefully begin seeing faster service.

The MTA has not specified what exact percentage of trains will speed up, but said it will be substantial.

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