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MTA Releases Fall 2023 Survey Results with Strongest Improvements in Customer Satisfaction Among Long Island Rail Road and Access-A-Ride Riders

Updated January 29, 2024 3:00 p.m.

Subway Scores Increase in Line and Station Satisfaction, and Safety on Trains and Stations  


Increased Satisfaction with Access-A-Ride On-Time Pickup and Travel Times  


LIRR Atlantic Terminal Customers Reporting Most Significant Improvement in Customer Satisfaction 




The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the results of the Fall 2023 Customers Count Survey, which launched on Nov. 6, 2023, and received responses from 108,000 customers, the largest participation since the first Customers Count Survey launched in Fall of 2021. The results showed increased overall satisfaction for Long Island Rail Road and Access-a-Ride (AAR) riders. All eight subway lines that increased service frequency, along with a few other lines, showed an improvement in line satisfaction. 


“Customers are rating their subway stations and lines better than in the past but seem to hold onto an overall negative perception of the subway system, and this is something we’re going to work on,” said MTA Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara. “These results, invaluable insight for every agency, are proof as to why these surveys are so essential in our effort to understand what is working and what areas we can focus on to improve the customer journey.”   


“We are grateful more than 100,000 customers participated in this survey – perhaps the largest of its kind in New York City,” said Chief of Strategic Initiatives Jon Kaufman. “With this large response rate, we are able to provide higher quality insights to our operating agencies and City partners about where exactly customers would value improvement – often enabling us to drill down to the specific bus route or particular station or line.”


“Transit customers are telling us loud and clear that our faster, cleaner, safer plan has made a difference to their experience, be it riding the subway, the bus, or paratransit,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “From enhanced station cleaning, investments in subway safety which reduced the 2023 crime rate, historic paratransit and subway On-Time Performance, and targeted improvements to bus service, we have focused on our customers’ priorities. We know there is work to be done in 2024 to reach our North Star objective, and New York City Transit has ambitious goals to deliver on the feedback of customers in the year ahead.”


While overall satisfaction with subways dipped to 52% in Fall 2023, down from 56% in Spring 2023, scores in the following categories all increased from Spring 2023: 


  • Overall subway line satisfaction (58%), increased by four percentage points

  • Overall station satisfaction (67%), increased by six percentage points 

  • Safety on trains (54%), increased by four percentage points 

  • Safety in stations (51%), increased by three percentage points 

  • Cleanliness on board trains (57%), increased by nine percentage points

It is important to note that this contradicting trend signals a negative sentiment that many customers have for the subway overall, even if they believe their own line or station has improved. The survey results indicate this perception is related to quality-of-life issues in the system, such as homelessness, and a belief that service is unreliable. 


Nearly all subway lines show increases in line satisfaction over Spring 2023. Notably, the  line and 42 St  train went up 9 percentage points; the  went up by eight and the  went up by seven percentage points. Satisfaction with  all increased by at least four percentage points.  


Having agents out of the booth has had a positive impact, with 70% of customers who interacted with a station agent saying they were satisfied with the interaction.  Customers who interact with agents outside of the booth feel better about the subway overall.


Overall satisfaction with Local Bus is 57%, down from 65% in Spring 2023, and down to 72% for Express Bus, from 79% in Spring 2023. Main drivers of the satisfaction decline for buses are service reliability, waiting times, and frequency of delays.   




Access-A-Ride's overall satisfaction is at 68%, up from 64% in Spring 2023. On-time pickup is the most important driver of overall satisfaction, and 59% said they were satisfied with on-time pickup in Fall 2023, up 8% points from Spring 2023. Frequent riders, those who ride three to four days a week, saw the largest increase in satisfaction at 69%, up five percentage points. Travel times and frequency of no-shows are also important drivers of overall satisfaction, and satisfaction with travel times increased four percentage points to 74% in Fall 2023. 


Long Island Rail Road   


The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is starting to bounce back after a decline in overall satisfaction in Spring 2023, which followed the opening of Grand Central Madison and unveiling of new schedules. Overall satisfaction with LIRR is 70%, up from 68% in Spring 2023, with the highest improvement in satisfaction coming from Atlantic Terminal customers, with a 10-percentage point increase in satisfaction, followed by Penn Station and Jamaica customers, each with a five-percentage point increase.  


Scores for customers who always transfer improved by five percentage points to 55%, and City Zone customers are the most satisfied group of LIRR riders, with an overall satisfaction rating at 76%. 


Station satisfaction with Penn Station is now at 77%, up from 58% a year ago in Fall 2022. All Penn Station metrics are up, but ratings for displays, lighting, signs and cleanliness are especially positive, reaching percentage scores in the 70s and 80s. Grand Central Madison remains one of the highest-rated stations in satisfaction with 97%, up one percentage point from the spring. 


“In the one-year since the opening of Grand Central Madison, we’re running more service than ever before. Customers have more options when it comes to transfers and going into the east side of Manhattan,” said Long Island Rail Road Acting President Rob Free. “Reliability continues to improve, and thanks to recent LIRR schedule changes, customers travelling to Atlantic Terminal have a smoother transfer experience. Better lighting, higher ceilings and new retailer in Penn Station are not going unnoticed by our customers either.”


“The 33 St LIRR Concourse is the model for Penn Station's future,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres Springer. “The positive response from riders shows the promise of increasing ceiling heights, widening concourses, and adding light as we seek to transform Penn Station.”


Metro-North Railroad  


Metro-North Railroad continues to be the highest-rated agency with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 86%. Particularly, the Harlem-125 St Station satisfaction rating saw an 11-percentage point increase from 64% to 75% in overall station satisfaction, with increases in every subcategory including customer satisfaction with the Harlem-125th Street Station restrooms, which went up 23 percentage points along with satisfaction with cleanliness, capacity on platforms, and elevators all up by at least seven percentage points.   


“With the Hartsdale and Scarsdale Metro-North stations recently becoming ADA accessible, our customers are seeing improvements to make the system accessible for everyone,” said Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi. “And with the recently announced construction of the Second Avenue Subway Phase Two getting underway soon, customers at Harlem-125 St Station will have even more connections to Metro-North.”