New York’s subways and buses are still understaffed

The MTA is still struggling to staff trains and buses, a year after the Post Office and other outlets reported that a shortage of workers was causing train delays and cancellations, officials said.

New York City Transit President Rich Davey said in a memo Friday that he plans to form a “working group” to address ongoing challenges with “crew availability,” which MTA data said was due in June quarter of weekday train delays.

“The most important factor in improving service delivery is maintaining consistent and adequate staffing,” Davey wrote in the memo provided to The Post.

The MTA’s operational workforce has shrunk significantly in the depths of the COVID-19 crisis, as pensions soared and officials imposed a hiring freeze to make up for lost revenue.

Officials have since hired more staff, but the agency has yet to match the number of bus and train operators it had on the payroll before the pandemic, a senior official said.

The agency will be fully staffed on buses by the end of the summer and on trains by early 2023, the official said – later than previously announced.

A general view of an MTA bus as seen in New York, NY on July 9, 2022.
Traffic officials reported nearly 33,000 weekday delays in June.
Christopher Sadowski

In the meantime, the working groups hope to take steps to incentivize good participation.

A care and awareness program piloted at two bus depots in 2019 is resuming, the official said.

The program aims to provide social services and other resources to support workers who have been injured at work for any reason and has been shown to increase employee availability by 25% during the pilot.

“It’s not just about hiring, it’s also about creating a safe work environment for employees,” the official said.

“The bottom line is that we need more people, and when we have them, we need them to run our trains and buses so we can reduce or eliminate those wait times and service disruptions.”

The Post reported in June 2021 that staff shortages due to lack of train attendants, train operators and bus drivers had resulted in thousands of subway and bus cancellations.

By December, officials had declared a partial victory – but the number of crew delays has since risen by 7%.

Traffic officials reported nearly 33,000 weekday delays in June, the most recent month for available statistics. About 8,676 of those were caused by staff shortages — more than any other category.

At weekends, the proportion of staff-related delays was even higher at 32.6%. New York’s subways and buses are still understaffed


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