A guide to understanding service statuses

Our service status tool is designed to give you a quick snapshot of any service issues that may affect your trips. The service status tells you if your train is running “express to local,” if there are “buses detoured,” or if you should “expect delays” during planned work that requires us to run trains less frequently or at slower speeds.  

When you click on a status, you’ll see a service alert that explains the service change, the reason for the change, and alternate travel options. Our customer experience teams monitor subway, bus, and rail service and translate the impact of disruptions into service alerts. We produce service statuses and alerts so that you can make the best travel decisions for you. 

You see these service statuses on screens in subway stations and onboard buses, on our homepage, in the MYmta app, the MTA TrainTime apps, and in other popular transit apps. 

Snapshot of service status section of mta.info. Subway bullets separated into different categories
Snapshot of service status section of mta.info. Railroad lines separated into different categories

How it works

While we are continuously working to provide more targeted, helpful information, one downfall of line-wide alerts is that service statuses may or may not apply to an entire line. When A trains run local in Brooklyn, Inwood riders may not notice any difference.  

We aim to alert you when disruptions affect a significant portion of a line’s riders, or when headways are significantly impacted. If neither are happening, you’ll see a default status of “No Active Alerts” for subway lines and bus routes, and “On or Close” for commuter rail. In some cases, we may remove a single subway train from service, or trains may be slightly delayed, and you still see “No Active Alerts.” If there are multiple alerts for a line or route, we display the status with the most severe impact to your travel on the homepage.

Statuses overview

Below are the service statuses used for unplanned service disruptions, along with example scenarios illustrating when each status is used. For the most part, alerts about planned work look the same, but start with “Planned.” 

New York City Transit Subways

Status

Use

No Active Alerts

When a line has no active disruption to its service.

Boarding Change

When you have to board the train from a different platform in the station.

Slow Speeds

When trains travel at slower than normal speeds along a short segment of track, but all scheduled stops are made. This typically happens when crews are on the tracks conducting inspections and routine maintenance.

Delays

When you may experience a longer than scheduled wait for your train, or when your travel time is longer than scheduled.

Some Delays

When only a particular section of a subway line is disrupted. This may be used when a single train is removed from service, creating a large gap, or as we work to get trains back on schedule after a disruption.

Expect Delays

When planned work requires us to run trains less frequently. For example, if 4 and 5 trains are local in Manhattan, 6 trains would run less frequently to maintain even spacing between trains on Lexington Ave.

Multiple Impacts

When multiple service changes apply to a single disruption — for example, M trains running on the express track in Queens then on the F line towards Manhattan.

Stations Skipped

When trains skip a station in one direction. If you’re on the platform waiting to board, you’ll see a train come through the station without stopping. In this case, you may need to travel in the opposite direction to reach your destination. If the train you’re traveling on skips your destination, you may need to “back ride,” or travel past your destination, then take a local train in the opposite direction.

Express to Local

When trains that normally runs express needs to use local tracks. If you’re aboard an express train, you will see your train running along the local track.

Local to Express

When trains that normally run local need to use express tracks, so local stops are skipped. In this case, if you’re aboard a train or on the platform, you may need to “back ride,” or travel past your destination, then take a local train in the opposite direction.

Trains Rerouted

When trains are diverted to a different line than they normally travel. For example, 2 trains may need to run on the 5 line between the Bronx and Brooklyn. In this case, you will see 2 trains at 5 train stations. If you need to get to a 2 station, you should transfer to a 3 train.

Some Reroutes

When some, but not all trains are diverted to a different line to reduce train congestion on a segment that is experiencing a disruption in service. This keeps your train moving while avoiding the segment experiencing a disruption.

Part Suspended

When major disruptions prevent us from running trains in either direction at multiple stations. For example, when service ends before a train’s normal terminal or when service runs in two sections. This typically happens because we have removed third rail power to allow for train crews or emergency response teams to perform an investigation.

Suspended

When we temporarily stop running service on an entire line. This is rare, but it can happen during a major storm. During severe disruptions, we may also temporarily halt service on one line to alleviate congestion on train tracks that multiple lines share.

New York City Transit Buses

Status

Use

No Active Alerts

When a bus route has no active disruption in service.

Boarding Change

When you have to cross the street or walk a block to board the bus.

Extra Service

When bus service is increased on a route. For example, to provide you with a connection to the subway, we added trips to M14A bus route during the L Project.

Buses Detoured

When a disruption causes a bus to travel on a route different than its normal route.

Delays

When a bus route is running behind schedule because of an unplanned service disruption.

Part Suspended

When a major disruption causes a bus route to end before reaching its scheduled terminal or when service runs in two sections. For example, if there is a closure of the Williamsburg Bridge, the B39 bus may end its service before crossing between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Suspended

When we temporarily stop running service on an entire route. This is rare, but it can happen during a major storm.

Long Island Rail Road

Status

Use

On or Close

When a branch has no active disruption in service. Generally, this means that all trains are operating within a few minutes of schedule.

Saturday Schedule

Used on the Sunday before the Memorial Day, and Labor Day holidays.

Sunday Schedule

Used on the Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day holidays.

Holiday Schedule

Holidays when extra service is provided. (Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve)

Planned Work

When repairs and improvements cause reroutes to trains, or suspension in service.

Extra Service

When service is increased on a branch as an alternative for disruptions or planned work on another branch. For example, we often provide additional Hempstead Branch service when the LIRR Expansion Project requires us to suspend service through Mineola.

Schedule Change

When an update to rail schedules causes a change to departure or arrival times.

Boarding Change

When you have to board the train from a different platform in the station.

Expect Delays

When there is an incident on a branch that has not yet caused delays, but is likely to cause delays in the near future.

Some Delays

When individual trains are delayed but the majority of the branch is on or close to schedule.

Special Event

When events such as Forest Hills concerts, Mets games, and golf tournaments result in service changes to a branch.

Stations Skipped

Used in situations which call for a station to be bypassed in one or both directions.

Busing

When buses replace trains on a section of a branch impacted by planned work or a service disruption.

Part Suspended

When service is suspended on a clearly defined section of a branch.

Suspended

When we temporarily stop running service on an entire branch.

No Scheduled Service

Used for Belmont Park on days when no service operates.

Metro-North Railroad

Status

Use

On or Close

Most trains are on schedule or less than six minutes behind schedule.

Saturday Schedule

Used on days other than a holiday where you would see service running on a Saturday schedule.

Sunday Schedule

Used on days other than a holiday where you would see service running on a Sunday schedule.

Holiday Schedule

Holidays when service is provided. (Thanksgiving, New Year's Day)

Planned Work

When repairs and improvements cause reroutes to trains, or suspension in service.

Extra Service

When you have more frequent options compared to the standard schedule. This is often used to note getaway service before holidays.

Schedule Change

When updated schedules trigger a change to departure/arrival times or train stopping patterns.

Boarding Change

When you have to board the train from a different platform in the station.

Expect Delays

When trains are running 10+ minutes late.

Multiple Impacts

When multiple service changes apply to a single disruption or multiple disruptions impact a line.

Some Delays

When only a portion of a main line is delayed but the majority of the line is on or close to schedule, or when there are lingering delays while we recover from a disruption.

Special Event

When events such as major events at Yankee Stadium, and golf tournaments result in service changes to a branch.

Stations Skipped

When trains bypass a station in one or both directions.

Busing

When bus service is provided to replace train service.

Part Suspended

When we temporarily stop running service on a portion of a main line.

Suspended

When we temporarily stop running service on the main line or an entire branch.

No Scheduled Service

When there aren’t any trains scheduled to operate on a specific line.