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Subway Riders Contend With Increasing Train Delays

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Subway delays are a growing problem in the Big Apple.

According to the latest MTA figures, straphangers are waiting longer for nearly every single train in the city, with the worst delays being found on the 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and N lines. All experienced double-digits drops in arrival times.

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The 3 train saw the most dramatic dip in performance. Last year, nearly 90 percent of its trains were on time. This year, only 71 percent.

The MTA blames the increase in delays on routine maintenance combined with particularly heavy track and signal work during the month of March and believes the numbers may be slightly misleading.

"It is an inconvenience but they have to do track work because our station needs more maintenance," straphanger Megan Heeley told CBS 2's Kathryn Brown.

"You can wait 25, 30 minutes, and then no trains are still there. And then it's like you're supposed to be on schedule and you're not," complained Kathleen Tricone of Brooklyn Heights.

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MTA board members highlighted the problem at a meeting Monday. Some called the steep increase in delays unacceptable but admitted that fixing the problem won't be quick or easy.

"On time" is defined as reaching destination within five minutes of the scheduled time, so many trains that are technically on time are also late.

"Yes, certainly there's a marked difference in the delays because you have to leave very early to get on the train to get to work," said straphanger Savi Mani.

"It becomes frustrating," said Julie Congress of the Upper East Side.

Only four trains showed improved service: L, D, E, and F.

Andrew Albert, New York City Transit Rider's Council Chair, said reliable service was nearly as important as timely service.

"The delays aren't going away," he said. "What the MTA needs to do is communicate better with its customers. It's trying to do that with real time information signs and with the text messages on your phones."

The MTA was also getting ready to replace its fleet of 40-foot buses with 700 new accordion-style buses which will offer roughly the same number of seats, but service will be less frequent.

It's part of an ongoing effort to reduce labor costs at some cost to commuters.

"They're getting worse and the reason they're getting worse is there's so much work going on all over the system because we're playing catch-up. There is so much that's been neglected over the years that we have to take care of -- signals and stations and track," Albert said.

Have you noticed an increase in subway delays? Sound off in our comments section below…

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