The F train rumbles into the Smith-9th Street station. Source: Emily Kay Bachman / Flickr

The F train rumbles into the Smith-9th Street station. Source: Emily Kay Bachman / Flickr

Allan Rosen is on vacation this week. Filling in for him is John Rozankowski, Ph.D., a long-time community activist with a keen interest in mass transit issues, who has contributed to Sheepshead Bites in the past.

THE COMMUTE: Once again I have the pleasure of filling-in for Allan Rosen, who is on vacation again. Isn’t he the lucky one? I’m John Rozankowski, author of “Bring On the Express – Nighttime.”

In his State of the MTA speech on March 3, 2008, MTA CEO Lee Sander said:

“The MTA network’s 55 miles of underused middle track on elevated subway lines also represent a tremendous opportunity that we must exploit. These lines, primarily in Brooklyn and the Bronx, might enable additional express services to be operated, shortening travel times between these boroughs and the Manhattan core.”

Ridership has been surging to heights unknown since the early 1950s and spreading throughout the daytime hours. On many lines, rush hour is really all-day and most of the evening. Most lines are running at capacity and trains are crushingly overcrowded.

More express service is the only feature that can make subway travel more bearable and more attractive. It’s more than saving time. It’s more than reducing the tedious boredom of too many stops as it is at night. Express service redistributes passenger loads more efficiently with benefits both to riders and the operators.

As riders head toward Manhattan, the train quickly fills up to a point that people can hardly move. Each station stop brings in more people, not only resulting in more jostling, shoving, pushing, and doors opening and closing several times, but also delays in the train “dwell time.” Repeating this at every station creates a miserable ride. On an express train, this phenomenon occurs at far fewer stations and, simultaneously, results in emptier locals, providing more comfort for riders at local-only stations.

Unlike Sander, the MTA doesn’t seem to place much value on express service. There are a number of lines where the express service span can be extended and others where express service can be initiated. The MTA’s principle objection and excuse is that wait times at local stations would increase to unacceptable levels. This could be true if alternate trains ran express but with the publication of schedules and countdown clocks, that is no longer necessary.

Today, only the #6 train has excellent all-day express service in the direction of heavy travel. It reverses direction at 12:30 p.m. Other lines could use significant improvement:

Express Service Too Short In Duration

  • #5 Bronx Express (6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.). This express should run mid-days and until 9:00 p.m. Some Dyre Avenue #5 trains should run express and some local during middays and late evenings. In addition, the 238th Street #5 should be given its own number and all of these #5’s should run as an all-day express in the direction of peak travel to New Lots Avenue.
  • #7 Flushing Express (6:21 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 2:50 p.m. to 9:38 p.m.). This should be all-day with a reversal time around 12:30 p.m. Many riders from the subway-less areas of eastern Queens switch from buses to continue their ride.
  • D Bronx Express (6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.). The p.m. run should be extended until 9:00 p.m.

Express Service Non-Existent

  • #1 Broadway. There are 16 stops between 242nd Street and 96th Street, creating an extremely long ride on a very heavily used line. The MTA recognized the problem and tried to deal with it, with the #1/#9 skip-stop service, north of 137th Street (1989-2005). The time saved was minimal with trains having to slow down almost to a stop at bypassed stations for safety reasons. The far bigger problem was that the skip/stop destroyed the connectivity between stations. For example, no one could travel from West 225th Street (#9) to Dyckman Street station (#1) without first diverting to West 242nd Street to switch trains.

What residents did want and the MTA ignored was a Thru Express between 96th Street and 145th Street. Five stations downtown and six stations uptown can be skipped thanks to a middle track, while 157th Street and 145th Street (downtown) can be bypassed on the local track to establish an express from 96th Street to the heavily used 168th Street Station. The #1 doesn’t merge with any other line, there are no capacity problems and during peak hours the service would involve re-scheduling some trains.

  • #4 Jerome. This line is jammed at all hours and cries for all-day express service in the direction of peak travel. The express should run from Burnside Avenue to East 149th Street. Since the #4 is at capacity during peak hours, headways at the bypassed stations can be increased by one minute from four to five minutes. Three express trains would be created at twenty minute intervals. The number of expresses could increase after the peak.
  • F Culver. There are 21 stops between Coney Island and East Broadway. Ten stations can be skipped during rush hours. The F express has a large and vocal constituency including Brooklyn borough presidents, state senators and other elected officials, backed by the Downtown Brooklyn Access Study and many riders.

An F express could also relieve the overcrowded B train. On the Brighton line, capacity is cut in half since B and Q trains have to merge at Prospect Park. There was even a proposal to connect the B to the F some years ago. An F express could redistribute the loads in a more comfortable fashion.

Yet, the MTA has adamantly refused. Why? As noted above, there is no need to run alternate trains express. As with the #4, increasing wait times by only one minute would create three F express trains. Why is the MTA so obsessively concerned about local riders? Is it because Carroll Gardens, Kensington and Park Slope are wealthy areas? Does the MTA oppose the #1 Thru Express because it would bypass the wealthy Upper West Side (both the #1 and #9 skip stop trains stopped in this section)? How about the middle class? Aren’t they New York City residents too?

In addition, the MTA points to high ridership statistics for the stations between Bergen Street and 7th Avenue. What is not clear is that a significant minority of these riders are G train riders. After all, those who campaigned for a G extension to Church Avenue want the G train and not the F train. Using these riders to inflate ridership statistics to deny an F express is disingenuous.

How Should It Be Done?

It’s so easy to do nothing. No one can correctly predict what benefits express service may yield without trying it out. The best way to introduce a new express service or even expand a current one is through pilot programs. A pilot program is not a final service change, which requires investment in new printed maps, new schedules and new permanent signs. (Up to date information can be provided on-line at a very low cost.) The pilot should run for a reasonable time to determine if it’s a success or failure. Riders must be well-informed before it takes place with special announcements by conductors on the line, on the MTA website, as well as the traditional posters.

The first step should be a consultation with the people who know most about the line — the train operators and conductors. They can provide more accurate information than any analysts unfamiliar with the line. The MTA traditionally has not taken full advantage of this resource. The chain of command, which every employee must follow, is often a hindrance in getting employee suggestions heard. This is why it is necessary for the MTA to solicit more input from its operating employees.

The next step should be a consultation with the affected community, i.e. community boards, precinct councils, major organizations and locally elected officials. Make operating personnel and subway riders part of the solution. And then the pilot can be launched.

After the pilot runs its course, review it with personnel and the riding public.

It’s time for the MTA to follow the lead of Sander and to reduce riding misery for the public.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA / NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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  • fdtutf

    “Ridership has been surging to heights unknown since the early 1950s and spreading throughout the daytime hours. On many lines, rush hour is really all-day and most of the evening. Most lines are running at capacity and trains are crushingly overcrowded.”

    So demand exceeds capacity on most lines.

    The rest of the article talks about converting some local runs to express runs, because that’s generally cost-neutral. (*Adding* express service alongside existing local service would incur additional expense.) However, the net effect of converting local runs to express runs is to provide significantly more capacity at express stations, while decreasing capacity at local stations. That’s only appropriate if demand is significantly higher at the express stations that will get increased service than it is at the local stations that will lose service. Is that the case in all of these proposals?

  • Henry

    The 7 used to have midday express, but due to all the CBTC work (which isn’t even close to completed), that was cancelled since it had to be suspended on most days anyways.

    The subway is not something you plan your life around; it’s a show-up-and-go service. Twenty minutes a day is not going to cut it for the majority of riders, since a local would be faster than waiting for an additional ten minutes on average.

    • winson

      yeah, but express service was reduced in hours. Prior to 2011, it started at 5:30 a.m. and ended at 10:30 p.m.

  • winson

    Yes, the 7 is plagued with constant midday construction, so no point in having an express run on midday hours. The 9 train should return and run express in peak direction north of 96th Street. 238th Street 5 trains should run express north of East 180th Street and the 4 currently has northbound-only express trains in the morning and evenings that run express after 167th Street and terminate at Burnside Avenue. There are a lot of unused express tracks in the city.

  • Eric Bolden

    The J also has a midday express that reverses around 12:30.
    (I wasn’t aware the 7 stopped running express service middays).

    They seriously were considering express on the F with the V extended to Church Ave. as the local, but the V got replaced with the M, and they’re not going to take that away now.

    Both riding and working the F, it is a long rolling up and down and left and right run and could use the express. The only way I could see them doing it now is extend some E’s as the local. Either that, or the alternating service.

  • f.

    4 line does not need Jerome Express… So call running express in Bronx. When you got baseball stadium near 4 line. That Yankee Stadium & so called for nor reason.. When you got 5 line help 4 line sometimes in Rush Hour for nor reason. When some 5 line last stop is 149 street Grand Concourse…. Few set of R142 of 2 & 5 line stored at Concourse yard or Jerome yard… If so called Jerome Express were to existed. Still it will cause effect on Pelham Express on 6 diamond.. There no point for 4 Jerome express to be existed.. I would say there is no pointed extended time hours of D Bronx Express… When you need B line to go to Bedford Park in Weekdays,,, now to existed B line run in weekend. But B line run on weekdays not Weekend… There is no point some 5 line should run express in Bronx sometimes weekdays or weeknights. when some 5 line last stop for nor reason is East 180 street in weekdays rush hour. Then become Not in Service usage

  • j.

    First all of false 1 line does not merge with any line.. 1 line does merge with 1 line that 3 line.. in some rush hours some 3 line are stored 137 street yard few set. as few percentage I can say 2 set or any set of 3 line does run with 1 line between 137 street city college to 96 street yard. As 3 express started from 96 street.. Incase some 2 line does go to 137 street yard for rush hour only… As some 5 line does run on 7th Avenue incase for reason from train dispatcher.. As some 5 line last stop is Bowling Green as it turn to run on 7th Avenue line start run on 7th Avenue line start from Chambers street . As some 2 line go to Lexington Avenue Line

  • disqus_C3sUyIRUYy

    First of all 7 line should not express in Queens in weekdays afternoon up to 9:38 p.m. & Why … When does some 7 line does become Not in Service . As it head to Corona Yard. When does some 7 line start to head Corona Yard for Not in Service usage. When train derailment can happened.. When some 7 line last stop is Willets Point – Citi Field in evening.. As some 7 line head to Corona Yard.

  • N.

    F line does not need Culver Express in Brooklyn .. Incase from Train dispatcher due to late schedule for what reason.. When there is some signal on A , C line… why does some A or C line stop at Kings Highway due to signal problem in between Metro Tech , borough hall connection with R line to Pitkin Avenue.. When there is track connection with F line , with A , C line in Metro Tech , Borough Hall with F line.

  • s.

    First of all why is 5 line helping the 4 line during Yankees Games, 4 line cannot run by it self … So if it were to be extended to 161 street Yankees Stadium during Yankees Games. Except 149 street Grand Concourse as it last stop during New York Yankees baseball game it great news . When 4 line cannot run it by it self & When 5 line stop at middle track at 4 line platform at 149 street Grand Concourse ..

  • k.

    4 line already have line that is merged as there is terminal in Manhattan … That need 4 line shared same equipment that R142A that 6 line ….. 4 & 6 line terminal is Bowling Green & Brooklyn Bridge City Hall. When 6 line need 4 line . As they want 4 line last stop is 3rd Avenue 138 street .. when there is G.O. ( general overhaul ) program in weekend when 4 line can last stop at 3rd Avenue 138 street. As the G.O. ( general overhaul ) program . As some weekend there G.O. program where 6 Pelham Express exist when only Pelham Bay Park bound 6 diamond run express in Bronx. between 3rd Avenue 138 street to Parkchester .. Good G.O. program very interested . good for Pelham Bay Park bound riders

  • n.

    Westchester -Pelham Yard home of 6 line used same cars with the 4 line that R142A . As some R142A of 4 line some mostly based out of Westchester Yard.. That why R142A of 4 line is mostly based out of Westchester Yard home of 6 line

    • Kriston Lewis

      Why’d you need seven different accounts to say that?

      • Kriston Lewis

        Make that eight.

  • Nick

    I lived in Brooklyn back in the 1980s. Even back then elected officials were trying to get the ‘F’ express service re-established. So don’t hold your breath.

    • BrooklynBus

      Back then city council majority leader Thomas Cuite of Carroll Gardens was the chief proponent against an F express. Because he was so powerful, no one had a chance against him even if everyone from southern Brooklyn was for it.

      Around 1993, the MTA proposed it, but withdrew the idea when their budget worsened laming they couldn’t afford the additional cost.

  • bikerchick

    Why can’t they get the B to run express on the weekends? The lower east side doesn’t stop running on the weekends and the B shouldn’t ether.

  • guest

    The NYC transit system is a laughing stock. It is the same or worse as it was 100 years ago. No improvements. No nothing. Just rising fares. Where are all the implementations that were supposed to be done? Where is the extension of the 2 and 5 to Voorhies Avenue? Where is the extension of the A and C lines into eastern Queens? Where is the extension of the eastern and northern bronx lines? Where are all the lines for the eastern half of manhattan? Gone into the pockets of the crooks at the head of the MTA. What a joke. We are all suckers.

    • BrooklynBus

      None of that is really true. There has been much improvement in the last 30 years and the MTA doesn’t have final say in what gets built. The governor deserves more blame tan the MTA.

  • Hoops and Horses

    This topic has been discussed over and over on various forums. The problem with a Culver Express on the (F) is the fact the main stops in Park Slope are LOCAL stations that otherwise would only be served by the (G) in the current setup. To me, the best way to see a Culver Express happen would be this:

    The (C) after West 4th going south would be diverted to the (F) line and go with the (F) through Rutgers and serve as the Culver Express, continuing to Coney Island and replacing the (F) after Church Avenue (the (G) and (F) would both terminate at Church Avenue in this setup). This would give riders along Park Slope (at express stations) AND riders at Coney Island a one-seat 8th Avenue option they currently don’t have (though the (C) would not run overnights and the (F) would run as it currently does then). For those along the Culver Line looking for (F) service (outside of overnights), there can be LIMITED (F) express service in the peak direction to Kings Highway in rush hours.

    To replace the (C) south of West 4th, the (E) could go back to being an 8th Avenue express with the (A) and become the Fulton Express to Lefferts Boulevard while the (A) becomes a 24/7 Fulton Local to Far Rockaway (and limited rush hour service to Rockaway Park). A supplemental (K) train, running 2-5 TPH can run between the current (E) terminal at Chambers and 168th like it did after being renamed from the (AA) in the 1980′s and in rush hours, select (E) trains can run 179th Street-Chambers in both directions (as a local) while the bulk of (E) trains run express Jamaica Center-Lefferts Boulevard.

    That said, this is not likely to happen at least until the Hudson Yards project in Manhattan is completed, if ever. It would mean three lines stopping on the “Local” track at Broadway-Lafayette (the (C), (F) and (M) trains), but if managed right it can be done.

  • hugh

    Capacity problem on 1 line or not… There were never a capacity problem on 1 line…. Still there will be congestion problem between 225 street through Dyckman Street…. When you live near Broadway draw bridge overpass Bronx & Manhattan.. Drive slow conductor will driving Broadway Draw Bridge .. Train derailment happen … First of all mostly 1 line will be congestion… When 1 line is also based out that 207 street yard where …. Westchester R142A , Corona Yard R62A , Unionport Yard R142 2 & 5 line , Concourse yard , Jerome yard R142 of 4 & R62 of 3 line so get fixed or repaired.. Where those cars get fixed , they will come out of 207 street yard , head back to the home yard .. Which car belong to what line to which yard. so deal with 1 line riders…

  • Mike

    Now whether additional express could or should be implemented is a debate-able point, and we here often debate such points. I however point to a particular passage in his text:

    Quoted Text:

    Unlike Sander, the MTA doesn’t seem to place much value on express service. There are a number of lines where the express service span can be extended and others where express service can be initiated. The MTA’s principle objection and excuse is that wait times at local stations would increase to unacceptable levels. This could be true if alternate trains ran express but with the publication of schedules and countdown clocks, that is no longer necessary.

    ————

    I simply do not understand why some folks think that a published schedule or count-down clocks actually improves the TRAVELING part of what is supposed to be rapid transit.

    Several times folks in various forums or places have expressed this attitude, “We’ll now that there are Count-Down clocks…”

    A simple Count-Down clock or a published schedule that shows infrequent service, does not make the transit service “more frequent”.

    There have been plenty of instances where the count-down clocks will say that the next train is 16, 20 or 22 minutes away! During those minutes, the rider is not actually moving – but simply standing in the station waiting for the next train that is far away. Exactly how does KNOWING that the train is 20 minutes or more away improve that rider’s ability to get to some place quickly? How is having a Count-Down clock a substitute for frequent train service?

    I live on Staten Island, and for years have taken the ferry, the buses, and the SIR. They all have schedules, and Bus-Time shows how far away are the buses. Now except for rush hours and very late nights, the boats run on the o’clock and “the thirty”. I know the schedule – big deal. Knowing that I have 29 or 59 minutes to wait for the next boat is simply not helping me get to my destination faster. Try it out. Watching the clock count-down the minutes still means that you’re in the station watching the clock count-down the minutes.

    Think of the thousands of riders of the LIRR, NJ-Transit, or Metro-North trains – these systems have used published schedules for decades. Is it about reducing what is supposed to be RAPID TRANSIT to the level of commuter rail?

    Count-Down clocks and followed schedules are good to reduce the anxiety that comes along with public transit. The questions about if and when the bus or train will arrive get reduced, and that is a good thing. I just believe that while you’re waiting at the station or bus stop, the rider is still NOT MOVING closer to their destination. A count-down clock does not improve TRAVELING when there is infrequent service.

    Maybe it is just me.
    Mike

  • Subway Stinker

    This column is unbearable and unreadable. Why, in a blog devoted to The Bay area are you posting about Bronx and Queens subway lines? It makes you irrelevant. There is a great need for the B to run 24/7 and not be a part time service. For example, the Q was very crowded on President’s Day, with no B service. Many people work and shop on P-day, but MTA ran a Saturday schedule. Head in the Sand, Ostritch planning. Enough about the IRT on this thread.

    • Kriston Lewis

      No way, not 24/7, 19/7 maybe. I’ve taken the Q around 3 AM on many occasions, and the train gets deserted after Church Av. Those expresses would be empty and the emptier trains would be magnets for muggers/troublemakers.

    • BrooklynBus

      Brooklyn riders also use trains and buses in other parts of the city also.

  • Andrew

    On many lines, rush hour is really all-day and most of the evening.

    A major exaggeration. Off-peak ridership has certainly been growing by leaps and bounds, but it’s still nowhere close to rush hour ridership.

    More express service is the only feature that can make subway travel more bearable and more attractive.

    Oh? Have you run that by the many subway riders who travel to and from local stops?

    On an express train, this phenomenon occurs at far fewer stations and, simultaneously, results in emptier locals, providing more comfort for riders at local-only stations.

    On the contrary, haphazardly planned expresses, like many of the ones you suggest, will leave behind most riders, leading to overcrowded locals. This is what happened on Jerome Avenue in 2009, and it would likely be even worse if some of your other suggestions were implemented.

    Express Service Too Short In Duration

    By what criteria?

    #5 Bronx Express (6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.). This express should run mid-days and until 9:00 p.m.

    Service is a lot less frequent at 9:00 p.m. than during rush hours. You’re setting up local riders for unnecessarily long waits.

    Some Dyre Avenue #5 trains should run express and some local during middays and late evenings.

    Seriously? Why? The midday 5 runs every 8 minutes – so you’d have an express every 16?! Talk about unnecessary complexity.

    In addition, the 238th Street #5 should be given its own number and all of these #5’s should run as an all-day express in the direction of peak travel to New Lots Avenue.

    And you don’t even acknowledge the huge cost to running such a long line in addition to everything that’s currently offered.

    Nor do you give any indication that the ridership warrants it. If it runs on the same 8 minute headway as the midday 2, 3, and 5, then the upper White Plains Road line will see 15 tph, the lower White Plains Road line will see 22.5 tph, and the New Lots line will see 15 tph. I don’t think ridership on any of those line segments is high enough outside of rush hours to support that level of service. And midday GO’s, which are common on outdoor lines (where work can’t take place at night), would probably require that this new line of yours be canceled often.

    #7 Flushing Express (6:21 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 2:50 p.m. to 9:38 p.m.). This should be all-day with a reversal time around 12:30 p.m. Many riders from the subway-less areas of eastern Queens switch from buses to continue their ride.

    The midday 7 runs on a 6 minute headway. If half the trains run express, then the local stops see only a 12 minute headway. The local stops on the 7 are quite busy, and they include one very important transfer point.

    D Bronx Express (6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.). The p.m. run should be extended until 9:00 p.m.

    The D runs every 10 minutes. Are you proposing that local stops be served every 20 minutes, or are you proposing that the B be extended to the Bronx during that time? If the latter, again, does the ridership support running the B to the Bronx as late as 9? From what I’ve seen, it certainly does not.

    #1 Broadway. There are 16 stops between 242nd Street and 96th Street, creating an extremely long ride on a very heavily used line. The MTA recognized the problem and tried to deal with it, with the #1/#9 skip-stop service, north of 137th Street (1989-2005). The time saved was minimal with trains having to slow down almost to a stop at bypassed stations for safety reasons. The far bigger problem was that the skip/stop destroyed the connectivity between stations. For example, no one could travel from West 225th Street (#9) to Dyckman Street station (#1) without first diverting to West 242nd Street to switch trains.

    Actually, no, that was a minor issue. Skip-stop was eliminated because of significant ridership growth at the stops that alternate trains skipped.

    What residents did want and the MTA ignored was a Thru Express between 96th Street and 145th Street. Five stations downtown and six stations uptown can be skipped thanks to a middle track, while 157th Street and 145th Street (downtown) can be bypassed on the local track to establish an express from 96th Street to the heavily used 168th Street Station. The #1 doesn’t merge with any other line, there are no capacity problems and during peak hours the service would involve re-scheduling some trains.

    Brilliant idea! Have you bothered to look at the ridership at the stops south of 168th compared to the ridership at the stops north of 168th? Hint: the stops south of 168th are much busier.

    If alternate 1 trains ran express between 168th and 96th, then the locals would be severely overcrowded. And given the relatively short express run, expresses probably wouldn’t even have a chance to pass any locals – or, if they did, the locals would have to wait at 103rd for the expresses to get far enough ahead for the signals to clear.

    #4 Jerome. This line is jammed at all hours and cries for all-day express service in the direction of peak travel.

    More hyperbole. The line is not “jammed at all hours” and the many riders at local stops would strongly disagree with your cries. Rush hour express service was piloted in 2009. It led to overcrowded locals.

    The express should run from Burnside Avenue to East 149th Street. Since the #4 is at capacity during peak hours, headways at the bypassed stations can be increased by one minute from four to five minutes. Three express trains would be created at twenty minute intervals.

    Five minutes? How would that accomplish anything? The locals would run every four minutes, except when there’d be an eight minute gap to make way for an express. And the local following that eight minute gap would be extremely crowded.

    And how on earth is a 20 minute headway at all attractive? Nobody’s going to wait up to 20 minutes for an express that only saves 2 or 3.

    The number of expresses could increase after the peak.

    Um. Why? Oh, I see. You subscribe to the school of thought that the MTA has unlimited resources.

    F Culver. There are 21 stops between Coney Island and East Broadway. Ten stations can be skipped during rush hours. The F express has a large and vocal constituency including Brooklyn borough presidents, state senators and other elected officials, backed by the Downtown Brooklyn Access Study and many riders.

    Again, have you looked at the station-by-station ridership numbers?

    An F express could also relieve the overcrowded B train.

    Pardon? The F gets more crowded than the B.

    Not that an F express would have the effect you think it would. Cutting service in half at half of the line’s stations in Brooklyn, including some of the busiest, would make the F less attractive, not more.

    Even where both lines have express stops, they’re a mile apart. Few Brighton riders would find the Culver line of interest, express service or no.

    As noted above, there is no need to run alternate trains express. As with the #4, increasing wait times by only one minute would create three F express trains.

    Actually, it wouldn’t, but nice try.

    Why is the MTA so obsessively concerned about local riders?

    I don’t know. Maybe because they pay fares and have places to go, just like everybody else on the subway? Why do you think they should be ignored?

    Is it because Carroll Gardens, Kensington and Park Slope are wealthy areas?

    No, I suspect it’s because the stations north of Church simply have much higher ridership than the stations south of Church, and it would do the overall ridership a net disservice. But class-baiting is fun, isn’t it?

    (By the way, the primary Park Slope stop is an express station. But why let facts get in your way?)

    Does the MTA oppose the #1 Thru Express because it would bypass the wealthy Upper West Side (both the #1 and #9 skip stop trains stopped in this section)?

    I suspect the MTA opposes the #1 Thru Express because the stations it would bypass are far busier than the ones it would serve, and it would do the overall ridership a net disservice. But class-baiting is fun, isn’t it?

    (By the way, the stations that your proposed express would bypass are in Morningside Heights and Harlem, not in the Upper West Side. But why let facts get in your way?)

    In addition, the MTA points to high ridership statistics for the stations between Bergen Street and 7th Avenue. What is not clear is that a significant minority of these riders are G train riders. After all, those who campaigned for a G extension to Church Avenue want the G train and not the F train. Using these riders to inflate ridership statistics to deny an F express is disingenuous.

    During rush hours, the vast majority of riders at those stations need the F. Yes, some need the G, but that also applies south of Church.

    How Should It Be Done?

    It shouldn’t.

    No one can correctly predict what benefits express service may yield without trying it out.

    That’s nonsense. Simple station-by-station ridership counts tell quite a bit. Ridership modeling can be used to estimate where riders will go and what the net benefit would be (for many of your proposals it would be negative). The answer is often clear without having to mess up anybody’s commute with an unnecessarily pilot.

    The first step should be a consultation with the people who know most about the line — the train operators and conductors. They can provide more accurate information than any analysts unfamiliar with the line. The MTA traditionally has not taken full advantage of this resource. The chain of command, which every employee must follow, is often a hindrance in getting employee suggestions heard. This is why it is necessary for the MTA to solicit more input from its operating employees.

    The next step should be a consultation with the affected community, i.e. community boards, precinct councils, major organizations and locally elected officials. Make operating personnel and subway riders part of the solution. And then the pilot can be launched.

    After the pilot runs its course, review it with personnel and the riding public.

    I’m amused that the words analysis and data appear nowhere in this process – or in this entire article, for that matter.

    Come on. You’re proposing some changes that would give many people longer and more crowded commutes, and you’re ready to dump it on them for the duration of a pilot without so much as an analysis?

    It’s time for the MTA to follow the lead of Sander and to reduce riding misery for the public.

    You’re three CEO’s out of date. Have you asked Tom Prendergast, who knows a heck of a lot more about how to run a railroad than Sander ever did, what he thinks?

    • fdtutf

      Article: “Why is the MTA so obsessively concerned about local riders?”

      Andrew: “I don’t know. Maybe because they pay fares and have places to go, just like everybody else on the subway? Why do you think they should be ignored?”
      +1 to this. Actually, +1000 is more like it.

      • BrooklynBus

        Where did he ever say that local riders should be ignored? He is asking for speedier service for those making long commutes who use express service or need express service more.

        • fdtutf

          The only cost-neutral way to provide more express service is to provide less local service. That hurts local riders. But the author of this article seems to think that doesn’t matter.

          • BrooklynBus

            Usually any cost neutral change you make hurts some riders and helps some. The question to ask is are more riders helped than are hurt, not are you hurting anyone. If the latter is your goal, you will proably never make any changes.

            You also have to consider if a change will result in increased ridership which shortening trip times usually does.

          • Kriston Lewis

            You also have to consider if a change will result in increased ridership which shortening trip times usually does.

            That probably explains some of the bump in ridership along SBS corridors, if there’s a demand for faster service, then yes, provide it.

            Still, things like that shouldn’t come at the expense of local riders, why should they have to suffer extended wait times? Did everybody forget what happened on the B44 local all of a sudden?

          • BrooklynBus

            The B44 local is another story. People were complaining of regular 45 minute waits. That would never happen with more express subway service.

          • Andrew

            There are no regular 45 minute waits attributable to SBS. There were some severe delays when SBS first started up, but that was over four months ago.

            I agree completely that the B44 is a different story. Unlike local and express trains that have to share trackage downstream and have to be jointly scheduled, local and SBS buses can be independently scheduled, each matching its demand. New SBS lines can have their stops designated based on ridership, with adjustments made as necessary (as we’ve just seen), while express trains can only stop at stations where the track/platform layout permits, regardless of ridership. All subway trains have off-board fare payment and exclusive lanes (or tracks, as they’re more commonly known), so the incremental benefit even to through riders of express service is relatively small. And the distances between Rozankowski’s proposed express stops isis far greater than the distances between SBS stops. (You’ve complained many times about the distance between Kings Highway and Avenue U; meanwhile, you’re writing in favor of a nonstop run from 168th to 96th, nearly four miles!)

          • fdtutf

            “Usually any cost neutral change you make hurts some riders and helps some. The question to ask is are more riders helped than are hurt, not are you hurting anyone.”
            Precisely — yet I don’t see any discussion of this point in the article, just a bunch of “let’s have express runs here and here and here and here and here” with no consideration of the situation at the local stations that would then have less service.

          • Andrew

            It’s not only cost-neutrality, although that certainly plays a part. It’s also track capacity limitations. If there’s no track capacity for more trains, then the only way to institute express service is to reduce local service.

            I have no objection to crowded expresses bypassing quiet local stations, even if riders at those local stations have longer waits as a result. But most of Rozankowski’s proposals would lead to relatively empty expresses bypassing busy local stations, which is frankly absurd.

          • fdtutf

            Although the article only seems to be proposing additional express service outside the current peak periods. In the off-peak, I would assume there is track capacity to run expresses in most, if not all, of the locations proposed. (Most of the proposals are for extending current peak express runs into the off-peak periods; if the track capacity wasn’t there, the peak service couldn’t be run.)

          • Andrew

            He’s proposing rush hour express service on the 1, 4, and F. The 1 has very little room for more service; the 4 has absolutely none; the F can fit a grand total of one additional train. In all three cases, the locals will be severely overcrowded while the expresses will carry light loads.

          • BrooklynBus

            The 4 and 5 operate every 4 to 7 minutes each during the peak hour. You can run 30 trains per hour or at least that’s what tey used to run. That means there is room for additional 4 expresses.

          • Andrew

            I count 28 southbound expresses between 8 and 9 am at 125th. (The detailed train-by-train schedules can be generated on the Trip Planner site.) Given the daily slog every morning rush from 59th to 14th, I can assure you that there’s absolutely no room for any more southbound 4 or 5 trains in the peak period – if anything, the 28 tph currently scheduled can’t get through. The 30 tph rule of thumb is just a rule of thumb – depending on the exact signal design and on station dwells, the capacity of many lines is somewhat lower. In this case, dwells at 42nd and 14th (which has gap fillers) limit the headway.

            Any 4 trains that run express in the Bronx during this period would come at the expense of the local 4 service or, less likely, the 5.

        • Andrew

          Where did he ever say that local riders should be ignored?

          Right here: “Why is the MTA so obsessively concerned about local riders?”

          • BrooklynBus

            Sorry, that does not mean local riders should be ignored. It’s only your interpretation. He is saying they are more concerned about local riders than express riders. My assumption is he is saying they need to be concerned about both equally, not that local riders should be ignored.

          • Andrew

            Really? Where does he propose an impartial analysis that takes into account local ridership? I suggest you read my detailed response, if you haven’t already.

  • s.g

    Rumor is R142A #7666 – #7670 supposed to be come back to the 6 line.. The oldest car like R46 , already have break down it already 39 years old… It already having MDBF ( miles distance between failure ) problem the car is already old… It not like R62A… The fastest car is Interborough Rapid Transit (I.R.T) is R62…. When R211 built the topic can be bring back which car is the fastest ..or what ever. ( 6 ) Pelham express need more express service increase … As R142A is fastest as R62A cannot run speed in the 6 line. As the signal is already is 10 years old on Pelham Line , Lexington Avenue Line ,, As signal get replaced as the signal get age or older as the R142A or R62A. As R188 will replace R62A for sure. As 126 cars have been order.. as R188 ride will be smoother & quicker.. As Westchester Yard , … Kawasaki Rail car can help Westchester Yard for the R188 / R142A to be fixed ….

  • l.

    As I know for rumor R142A #7211 – #7220 … Never meant to be converted for R188… It was just for test train. But not capability to run for service know as R188. As I know for rumor as I do know…. R188 #7211 – #7220 soon to be converted back R142A… R142A #7211 – #7220… Usually R142A #7211 – #7220 mean to run for service.. So the great thing to convert R188 back to R142A that #7211- #7220 to become R142A again. R188 know as R142A #7211 – #7220 never meant for service it was just test train.. As I know R188 #7899 original number R142A #7209 should return back to Kawasaki Yonkers Plant but how.. R188 #7211 – #7220 were just meant for test train. Not for passanger use. Some how R142A #7211 – #7220 should return to 6 line… R62A #1726 – #1730 , #1736 – #1740 soon to come on 6 line when R188 #7855 – #7865 run on 7 line. Welcome back R62A #1726 – #1730 , #1736 – #1740. As 6 line got… R62A #1716 – #1750 ( 35 cars )

  • s. k

    First of all why is R142A #7221 – #7590 going to Kawasaki Rail Car industry…. To get rebuilted but R142A #7211 – #7590 aren’t capability to get retrofitted those cars are age between 11 – 14 that built in 2001 – 2004. They are getting old.. But those car need to be rebuilded those car are falling apart. What are the chance air conditioner that HAVC … wont work & R142A #7221 – #7590 are in bad condition those car need to be fixed at Kawasaki Rail Car where built at… 7 line need to wait to get R142A when R62A retire as R142A #7211 – #7590 wont be capability to run CBTC when time will tell. Why is R142a mostly. #7811 – #7898 being delivered now. It was built early. But no one could not stand R142A #7811 – #7898 not being delivered… The only chance is 7 line might not be CBTC capability .. Because CBTC capability been failed twice… If R142A cannot run CBTC. The oldest R142A #7211 – #7590. Then why is the r62A able to run CBTC on 7 line. CBTC been failed twice on the 7 line on the R188… No problem R62A… .. Time will tell when the propulsion is the fault that R188 or R142A cannot run on 7 line

  • sam

    Remember if mostly is R142A #7811 – #7898 failed again to run in service a new 88 sets… This is the mostly reason… R142a or R188 aren’t capability to run outside mostly that where 7 line mostly run outside in Queens …. R188 was also meant to run underground tunnel. not mostly outside… Then why underground tunnel exist… Mostly all I.R.T run outside & underground tunnel. but 7 line mostly run outside in Queens. But 3 stop in Manhattan in underground tunnel. that how generic similraties when there are already problem R32 on C line. Where C line mostly run underground tunnel. While 7 line run outside …. Where are the chance R188 or mostly R142A will have problem running on 7 line….. If R142A or R188 #7811 – #7898 still failing to run service on 7 line….. This is the problem 7 line cannot able to handle: that Bombardier Propulsion MITARC .. Bombardier Propulsion MITARC is the system mostly I.R.T will use… but 7 line cannot handle … It is the third rail shoe ,, that Bombardier MITRAC propulsion is causing the problem …. That why first everyone thought R142A will be good to run on 7 line the Propulsion system would be fix. But the Bombarider Propulsion system is causing the problem of the 7 line . that Corona Yard cannot handle R142A / R188

  • sally

    Remember everyone R142A will be stay on the 6 line #7221 – #7590 possibility….. Remember the only way you can find out if R142A #7211 – #7215 / #7216 – #7220 are unable to run service a converted R188 … #7211 – #7220 … 6 line will still able to keep their R142A. #7211 – #7590 but they need to be converted back to R142A.. But they need to go under repair… but what will happened to R142A #7811 – #7898… when they delivered is completed.. R142A #7211 – #7220 will be back on 6 line service.. 6 line will still able to R142A #7211 – #7590 … it only up to R142A #7211 – #7220 if it is unable to run in service… R188 #7211 – #7220 will be converted to back to R142A… Why do converted R188 have to go back Kawasaki Rail Car in Yonkers , NY . to become R142A again #7211 – #7590 .. If R142A #7211 – #7220 are unable to run in service. 6 line will get back 460 cars R142A #7211 – #7670 it depends on R142A #7211 – #7220 mostly.

  • k.

    The rumors as the date been set 6 will be all R142A again in May 4 , 2014…. As when R142A #7211 – #7295 get repaired at Kawasaki Rail Car in Yonkers , New York as rumors…. As R142A #7211 – #7295 will be converted back to R142A … By again all R142a will be converted back R142A. as originally plan R142A #7211 – #7295 be converted to R188 . That been cancelled. Due to mechincal problem on R142A #7211 – #7220 set to go back at Westchester Yard in May , 4 of 2014…. As may 4 , 2014 6 line will be all R142A again May 4 , 2014 #7211 – #7670 … first the delivery need to be completed R142A #7811 – #7898…. When R142A #7211 – #7295 get repaired at Kawasaki Rail Car Factory in Yonkers , New York. 7 line will be all R62A again in May 4 , 2014.