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Delays up on the subways, bus routes to have less frequent service

The MTA is still mulling over big subway and bus cuts, but straphangers have already gotten socked with slower service.

Weekday waits for some trains are way up from the previous year. At the same time, the MTA is reducing service on bus lines across the city because of declining ridership, officials said Monday.

“The subway system just has to work. We hope you do everything you can to stop this decline,” said Mark Lebow, an MTA board member.

Between November 2008 and 2009, the number of subways arriving more than five minutes late during the weekdays surged by 18 percent, according to NYC Transit data.

Performance particularly tanked last November on the No. 6, A, B and Q lines, with 95 percent of B trains arriving late and more than 200 delays on the No. 6, according to MTA data. Transit advocates fear that the waits will get worse this summer, when transit could start running fewer trains during midday hours as part of a “doomsday” service cuts proposal.

“The trains don’t run like clockwork,” said Andrew Albert, chair of the New York City Transit Riders Council.

Big construction projects on the A, B and Q lines have forced trains to move slower through construction sites, NYC Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges said. As for the No. 6, delays on the other Lexington Avenue trains sometimes impact the local line.

While weekend subway service seemed to improve, maintenance work still caused only 48 percent of trains to arrive on time last November.

Meanwhile, the MTA voted yesterday to reduce service — likely resulting in longer waits —  on 51 bus lines, including 19 in Manhattan, beginning in April. The weak economy has dampened ridership on the routes, and service reductions will save the agency nearly $6 million, officials said. About 20 other routes will benefit from more frequent service.

Other MTA news:
- Software developers have expressed interest in offering subway riders text messages on train schedules, similar to a new service that started up on the Long Island Rail Road.
- The MTA may require some users of its paratransit service to get a doctor to determine what climates cause their conditions to act up part of their eligibility for the ride.

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