BROOKLYN - Though many New Yorkers are unaware, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority offers subway riders some help explaining their tardiness to angry bosses and teachers, officials say.

With train delays up 44 percent in the last two years, the MTA has composed delay verification letters, which riders can get for free if their subway commute makes them late to work or school. The letters will include specific dates and times in order to offer bosses and teachers proof that employees and students were truly delayed by transit.

According to the MTA, 34,000 straphangers already get the notes each year. Though the letters take about two weeks to arrive in the mail, the MTA is working to develop an electronic version on their Web site.