How Subway Delays and the Homeless Crisis Are Intertwined

After years of decline, New York’s subway is showing signs of improvement, with the percentage of trains running on time creeping upward.

But at least one area is getting worse: disruptions involving homeless people.

Trains were delayed 659 times last year by homeless people walking on tracks, blocking train doors and engaging in other unruly behavior — a 54 percent increase from the 428 such delays in 2014, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subway.

And the disruptions have continued to escalate this year, with 313 train delays in the first three months.

“It’s a real challenge, and a growing challenge, and that’s consistent with the broader challenge in the city,” said Andy Byford, the official who oversees the subway. “We’re just not equipped to deal with this on our own.”