‘Worst subway ride of my entire life!’: Village signal problem triggers subway delays for hours Wednesday morning

A signal problem at the W 4th Street-Washington Square station derailed commutes for many New Yorkers Wednesday morning causing subway delays for more than three hours as the MTA rerouted or suspended service along its 6th Avenue line, carrying B, D, F, and M trains.

The transit troubles started around 8:45 a.m. with the signal malfunction at the Greenwich Village stop, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority diverted D and B trains to the C and A lines over on 8th Avenue.


At 9:38, the M line no longer ran in either direction between Delancey St-Essex Street station in the Lower East Side and Forest Hills-71 Av in Queens, and the B train was suspended entirely around 10:08 a.m.

Some southbound F trains bypassed Manhattan by running on the E line from Jackson Heights to Queens Plaza, and then continuing along the G line to Bergen Street in Brooklyn, while other F trains ran along the E from Jackson Heights to W 4 St-Wash Sq.

Some southbound D trains switched to the A line from 59 St-Columbus Circle to Jay St-MetroTech in Brooklyn, then rode along the F line to Coney Island.

MTA’s New York City Transit account warned to expect “extensive delays” on lines running on 6th Avenue which had to share the tracks with those running on 8th avenue, carrying the A, C, and E trains.

A component within the signal system failed, causing signals within the area of the downtown station to stop where they were, according to MTA spokesperson Joana Flores. 

That activated trains’s emergency brakes, blocking them from moving until field workers performed manual resets, the rep said. 

The incident led to more than 50 trains being late, which the MTA categorizes as a “major delay.”

Stranded straphangers quickly took to social media to vent at the transit agency.

“The worst subway ride of my entire life! Stuck for over 90 minutes now on this F train. Absolutely unacceptable,” wrote Elizabeth Ortiz on Twitter. “At 6 months pregnant, this is causing me a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety! Do better!”


About three-and-a-half hours after the initial outage, MTA announced that they fixed the signal issue at 12:17 p.m., but added there would still be leftover delays as they bring trains back to schedules on the A, C, E, B, D, F, and M lines. 

The head of the MTA’s internal rider advocacy group said the failures came at a terrible time as officials work to bring back ridership from the pandemic, and called on the state to invest in upgrades to the aging system, including by implementing the long-delayed Manhattan business district charge for drivers aimed at funding transit fixes. 

“Three-hour delays are the wrong way to welcome riders back to transit. This meltdown shows the critical need for investment in our transit system, including new signals, to improve reliability. Congestion Pricing will help deliver these funds but riders need relief now!” said Lisa Daglian, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, in a statement on Twitter. 

“We hope @NYCTSubway determines the cause of today’s failures and takes immediate measures to ensure it won’t happen again,” Daglian’s statement continued.

The F train’s route is on track to getting equipped with automated signaling systems known as Communications-based Train Control (CBTC), which allows MTA to run more trains. 

CBTC is coming to the F on its section south of Church Avenue in Brooklyn, also known as the Culver Line, after MTA installed it on the Queens Boulevard Line, but transit officials have not announced any plans to install the new tech along the 6th Avenue portion that went out of action Wednesday.