Far too often, subway elevators are turning into prisons for straphangers.

A subway elevator gets stuck nearly every day in the system, sometimes trapping passengers for an hour, according to transit reports obtained by amNewYork. On Tuesday, for example, 12 people were stuck in a sweltering lift for 66 minutes at the 168th Street station.

‘The breakdowns are especially frightening in the large, windowless elevators in deep Upper Manhattan stations.

Anna Jimenez, 21, a Washington Heights teacher, said she was recently trapped with 20 children at the 181st Street station.

“If it happens again, I hope I have a water bottle,” she said.

Elevators trapped passengers 91 times the first three months this year, up 18 percent from the same period in 2009, transit data shows.

Recent incidents include:

- Six riders got stuck in a windowless elevator at the 191st Street station for nearly an hour last month. On the same day, 15 straphangers were trapped at the 168th Street station on the No. 1, and seven others were stuck at Marcy Avenue stop

“The incident is really scary, and it makes me wary to ride the elevator down,” said rider Tahir Mfosh, 49, who was at the 168th Street station Tuesday.

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Still, incidents of elevator trapping people have started falling after peaking late last year, transit data shows. All devices are maintained on a monthly basis, and the MTA recently installed a system to send an alert when an elevator or escalator stops working, transit spokesman Charles Seaton said.

“The system ensures a rapid response by repair forces,” he said.
(With Tim Herrera)