It's all your fault, California Chrome. Bad horsey! Source: Wikipedia

It’s all your fault, California Chrome. Bad horsey! Source: Wikipedia

THE COMMUTE: Last winter, thousands of people waited three hours for New Jersey Transit trains at the Meadowlands to go home from the Super Bowl. That was mentioned last February in our discussion about how transit riders continually get screwed. Now, history has repeated itself at the Belmont Stakes: a three- to four-hour wait just to get out of the Belmont Racetrack parking lot or onto a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train. The New York Times reported on the transit aspect.

Everyone expects delays when large numbers of people have to be moved from a confined area. Taking 30 to 45 minutes or even an hour to get out of the parking lot is to be expected as is having to miss several trains. However, a three and a half-hour wait for a train is unacceptable. So why should this happen?

Poor planning and the lack of caring by those responsible is the answer. The MTA isn’t the only one at fault. Belmont Racetrack is mostly to blame. Transit riders always get screwed. However, in this case, the same was true for motorists as well. So what happened, why, and how could the situation have been made better? Also, why does it not always happen at large events? The LIRR provided 18 extra trains to take riders to the track. But these riders also had to go home, all leaving within about 90 minutes. The excuse provided by the railroad was that they planned for 20,000 additional riders when 36,000 actually showed up and they scrambled to find extra trains after the race.

This was no ordinary Belmont Stakes, but a race for the Triple Crown, which attracted record crowds under excellent weather conditions. Didn’t anyone realize that? Also, is 36,000 such a large, unmanageable number for mass transit commuters when about that number of people leave baseball games without major problems? Well, there are some crucial differences.

Commuter trains are not designed to handle such large crowds boarding at the same time. Unlike subway cars, which have three or four doors per car, commuter trains only have doors at the ends of the cars (usually two). Longer loading times limit the number of trains that a single platform could serve each hour, so without building additional platforms — which, of course, is not feasible for an event occurring once a year — capacity is constrained even if trains constantly left the station one after another.

So what else could the LIRR have done? Not much except operating as many buses as possible from the track to Jamaica and Flushing where commuters could have caught the subway as well as the LIRR. However, where would the buses come from? They would have to have made prior arrangements with New York City Transit, the MTA Bus Company, both operating under the same parent agency, or the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) buses and reimbursing them for the expense. Still, it would have made a minimal amount of difference reducing the wait by a half hour perhaps. The LIRR stated that if the trains ran like clockwork, which they obviously did not, another 30 minutes or so could have been saved. So those measures together could have reduced the delay by about a third — not insignificant, but still far from acceptable. Poor LIRR communication and inexperienced riders were also cited as problems.

What Else Could Have Been Done?

Clearly, the MTA by itself could not have done much more especially if trains were arriving and leaving as fast as the platforms could load the passengers. However, Belmont Park could have helped somewhat. The Belmont Stakes was the 11th out of 13 races held that day. If it had been moved up to be the ninth race instead, held two hours earlier, that would have staggered out the exiting crowds over a three-hour period instead of 90 minutes.

Clearly, Belmont had little regard for its 100,000 patrons. This was evidenced by the fact that few if any personnel or police were on duty to direct traffic out of the parking lots, causing traffic chaos according to some accounts on Twitter. Also, there were no lights in the parking lots, making it difficult to find your car, with some searching two hours in order to locate their automobile.

Some History

Although, the MTA does a competent job handling large crowds at Yankee Stadium and at Citi Field by providing extra trains, their record for handling large crowds was not always stellar. Prior to regularly measuring bus patronage through what they call “traffic checks,” begun in 1984 by then New York City Transit Authority head David Gunn, the MTA had no handle at all regarding non-rush hour bus usage. Schools and beaches were grossly underserved. Schools were only provided with two extra buses each at arrival and dismissal times. Regular buses were so overloaded that, what I frequently complain about, buses not stopping in Manhattan Beach due to the Kingsborough Community College traffic, was the case all over the city.

The same was true with providing enough service to beaches on hot summer weekends. There was never enough. The excuses were either a shortage of buses or a shortage of operators. I remember in the 1960s when, on a nice beach day, buses were so filled with beachgoers that other riders were forced to wait hours for a bus. The B49 and B68 buses would only stop to let riders off, and that was your only chance to get on. Waiting passengers at other stops were just out of luck. The B49 buses would usually only stop at transfer points between Farragut Road and Emmons Avenue on a hot summer weekend.

When I was in NYCT Operations Planning in 1982, I had a half dozen employees assist me, performing beach counts on those routes to document what I had been witnessing for 15 years. However, making schedule changes were not easy since the scheduling function was not part of Operations Planning back then. In 1981, on a hot night in August, about 500 beachgoers were stranded overnight in Orchard Beach in The Bronx and Riis Park in Gateway National Recreation Area because there were not enough buses to take everyone home before service ceased operation for the night.

Conclusion

Fewer people go to the beach today than in years past and there are more buses to serve them. Also, many schools now get 20 extra buses to handle the crowds when they used to get only two. The MTA routinely handles large crowds much better than it used to. However, unusual events, such as what happened at Belmont, still pose problems. A concerted effort on the part of Belmont Racetrack and the MTA could have resulted in lessening those problems. The MTA by itself could not have improved the situation very much.

All this leads to another interesting question: Given what happened at the Super Bowl and at Belmont, why did New York City believe that it was capable of handling a 2012 Olympics? And could this region handle the Olympics in the future? One thing is clear: California Chrome was not the only loser at the Belmont Stakes. Everyone who attended, whether you took the LIRR or drove, got screwed when it came to getting out of the park.

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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  • maxwell smart

    I guess the MTA said F U and the horse you rode in on

    • Allan Rosen

      As I stated, there was little more the MTA could have done without cooperation from Belmont Racetrack. I doubt there was any communication between the two.

  • Subway Stinker

    off topic…major headaches on the B, D lines this a.m. due to so called ‘sick passenger’ at Grand Street, so nothing was running; backed up to P Park for a while. Discharged at the park and train B went back to Brighton Beach empty. I don’t know why it takes so long to remove an aided case. Anywas, it made my a.m. commute miserable. I have another question. The whole time I was at Pros Park I did not see any sign of the Franklin Avenue shuttle. Has that been shut down on the downlow?

    • Allan Rosen

      The Franklin shuttle is still running. There should be three trains running during the rush hour. Maybe they had an unrelated problem as well. The sick passenger thing used to bother me as well when I rode daily. I think there are procedures in place that prevent them from removing the passenger until EMS arrives. Maybe they are afraid of lawsuits. I don’t see why most passengers can’t wait on the platform for EMS to minimize delays.

      So if the train was discharged, how long did everyone have to wait for a train that operated? On a side note, I also don’t understand why it sometimes takes three hours to evacuate passengers from a tunnel.

      • subway stinker

        I have a question for your question, Mr. Rosen. How do they get the Franklin Avenue shuttle over to the southbournd layover track at Prospect Park when it is not in use. Is there a secret switch track north of the Park station to route it down an alternate set of tracks?

        Regarding this morning’s train disruption, the northbound B that I was aboard, discharged all passengers, sat in station. Then the Motorman walked back to the rear of the B, and sat. And finally, the B went southbound on the northbound tracks I guess, until it could switch over to the Brighton bound side. It was quite a while before there was any citybound service since P.Park is a choke point as we all know.

        • MBer

          See this NYT article from 2008 on the delicate dance that takes place along this short route.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/nyregion/24shuttle.html

          • Allan Rosen

            I guess it’s been quite a while since they have used that third train during rush hours. If most of the line is now single tracked, it would no longer be possible to use all three trains at the same time.

          • Andrew

            The third train is a gap train. Even before the second track north of Botanic Garden was removed, I don’t think the line ever ran more than two trains, at least not in many decades.

          • Allan Rosen

            Can’t say for sure how long ago it was, but all three trains were definitely in use during the rush hour. Don’t believe it was “decades ago. Maybe ten or 15 years.

          • Andrew

            It has been physically impossible to operate more than two trains at a time on the shuttle since its reconstruction in 1999 (or was it 1998?).

            Prior to the reconstruction, it was physically possible, but I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t the practice as far back as the 70′s or 80′s, and probably earlier.

          • Allan Rosen

            When it was reconstructed, and Dean Street was eliminated, the only portion that was single tracked was north of Park Place. They still could have operated three trains. Any other single tracking was done at a later date. That was when they probably stopped operating the third train. Show me some proof that they ran two trains back in the 70s and 80s and then I would believe you.

          • Andrew

            When it was reconstructed, and Dean Street was eliminated, the only portion that was single tracked was north of Park Place. They still could have operated three trains. Any other single tracking was done at a later date.

            Seriously? Where do you come up with this stuff? The current track (and probably signal) layout is identical to the layout when the line reopened after its 1999 reconstruction.

            Dean Street, by the way, was closed permanently in 1995, although the physical station did remain in place until the line was rebuilt.

            That was when they probably stopped operating the third train.

            1998 car assignments: http://www.thejoekorner.com/carassignments/bmtasgn983.htm – two trainsets

            1990 car assignments: http://talk.nycsubway.org/perl/read?subtalk=279366 – two trainsets

            The current two-train operation with a ten-minute headway is perfectly adequate for today’s loads, and today’s loads on the line are the heaviest they’ve been in a very long time (probably over half a century), so it’s hard to comprehend why you think service would have been more frequent in the 1970′s and 1980′s (when ridership was so low that the shuttle was seriously considered for abandonment). If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that the line has probably run with two trainsets since the single crossover south of the Prospect Park portal was installed in the late 1950′s (prior to that point, an additional trainset would have been needed to make the relay move south of Prospect Park station).

            Show me some proof that they ran two trains back in the 70s and 80s and then I would believe you.

            I really don’t care in the slightest if you believe me. If you wish to believe that the track layout has changed since 1999 and that the shuttle operated with three trains up until that point, be my guest. This isn’t the first time you haven’t let facts get in the way of your preconceived notions, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

          • Allan Rosen

            First of all, you refuse to reveal your age, so I don’t know if you are talking from memory or books. Most likely you are too young to remember. However when I used the Brighton Line daily to commute from 1977 through 1996, there most certainly was three trains running because the southbound local track was always clear during rush hours.

            Second, you were the one who stated its been “decades” and now you state there were only two trains in the 1960s and 70s as well. Well you are wrong on both counts, because it has not been “decades”. Yet you insist on arguing and dispute everything I state saying where is your proof? But when I ask you for some, you come up only with speculations, accusations, and a statement that you don’t care if I believe you.

            The facts are that when Dean Street was closed, the line was single tracked north of Park Place. It is also possible when the line was rehabbed a few years later, that was when the single track was extended and the third train was removed. Also, if only two carsets were assigned to the line in 1988, where are the spares?. Why wouldn’t they be included? That info seems suspicious to me. In any instance, it has not been decades”

          • fdtutf

            “Second, you were the one who stated its been ‘decades’ and now you state there were only two trains in the 1960s and 70s as well. Well you are wrong on both counts, because it has not been ‘decades’.”

            Are you completely round the bend? The 1970s was four decades ago; the 1960s was five decades ago. Lift your head: It’s 2014.

          • Allan Rosen

            Yes they were four and five decades ago which because of your age seems lie ancient history. Why does it matter how long ago it was? Andrew is speculating that four and five decades ago there were only two trains on the Franklin Shuttle. I lived it and assure you that there were three trains during rush hours at that time which was the norm until the line was single tracked.

            So what if it is 2014. Do we just forget about the past because it was so long ago? I even remember riding the Franklin local when it went all the way to Brighton Beach on weekends before it was a full time shuttle. I’m proud of that, not ashamed of it. They used Lo V IRT cars too.

          • fdtutf

            Because of my age?!?!? You have no idea how old I am…or, more accurately, you appear to have an incorrect idea of my age.

            And you completely missed my point. The 1960s and the 1970s were, in fact, decades ago. That’s a mathematical fact, your or my or Andrew’s feelings in the matter notwithstanding.

          • Allan Rosen

            So what is the point you are trying to make by stating that they were decades ago? Was I disputing that?

          • Andrew

            Yes. Your language:

            Second, you were the one who stated its been “decades” and now you state there were only two trains in the 1960s and 70s as well. Well you are wrong on both counts, because it has not been “decades”

            Your earlier language:

            Don’t believe it was “decades ago. Maybe ten or 15 years.

          • Allan Rosen

            “Decades” means at least 20 years ago. If it was changed in 1995 or 1996, that has not been “decades.” This year is 2014, not 2015 or 2016.

          • Andrew

            “Decades” means at least 20 years ago. If it was changed in 1995 or 1996, that has not been “decades.” This year is 2014, not 2015 or 2016.

            In case you’ve forgotten, I posted a link to the 1990 car assignments. Two trains then. (And I suspect well before then as well, but I don’t have proof and am perfectly happy to see counter-proof of you have any to present.)

            Was 1990 decades ago?

          • Andrew

            when I used the Brighton Line daily to commute from 1977 through 1996, there most certainly was three trains running because the southbound local track was always clear during rush hours.

            Seriously? You take the presence or absence of a gap train to indicate the number of trains running on the line?

            A gap train is a spare train strategically placed so that it can cover in case of a failure on another train. It’s a tactic to improve reliability. It can be used whether the line runs one train, two trains, three trains, or 100 trains.

            Second, you were the one who stated its been “decades” and now you state there were only two trains in the 1960s and 70s as well. Well you are wrong on both counts, because it has not been “decades”.

            I provided proof that there were only two trains in 1990, over two decades ago.

            The facts are that when Dean Street was closed, the line was single tracked north of Park Place. It is also possible when the line was rehabbed a few years later, that was when the single track was extended and the third train was removed.

            The facts are that moving an interlocking requires years of design and construction and is extremely expensive and disruptive. The north terminal interlocking was most assuredly not moved in 1995 (during a budget crisis, on a line that was falling apart) and again in 1999!

            Since the single crossover between Botanic Garden and Prospect Park was installed in the late 1950′s, there were no changes to the track or switch layout on the line until the 1999 rebuild.

            Also, if only two carsets were assigned to the line in 1988, where are the spares?. Why wouldn’t they be included? That info seems suspicious to me.

            Spares are whatever cars are assigned to a shop that aren’t needed for service. Where are they? Presumably mostly at Coney Island Yard or in the maintenance shop. The line-by-line car assignments show cars and trains required for service, excluding spares.

            In any instance, it has not been decades”

            Again, I provided proof for 1990 (24 years ago). Do you seriously think service was more frequent in the 1980′s or 1970′s than it is today?

          • Allan Rosen

            How else would you interpret a gap train sitting at Prospect Park on the southbound track at all times except during the rush hour? It had to be in service at that time. Are you saying it was moved to the yard during the rush hours and moved back to Prospect Park at other times? That woud be utterly ridiculous.

            Your proof isn’t convincing. If a third train is sitting at Prospect Park for use on the Franklin Shuttle and service is alternating so that all three trains are used, it is assigned to that line.

            I am not saying anything about interlockings or crossovers. All I am saying is at the MTA decided to close Dean Street in 1995 and single track the line north of Dean Street to save money. If that required the building of an expensive interlocking, it would not make sense to close the station. Any other single tracking was done in 1999 and that’s when service must have Ben reduced to two trains.

          • Andrew

            How else would you interpret a gap train sitting at Prospect Park on the southbound track at all times except during the rush hour? It had to be in service at that time. Are you saying it was moved to the yard during the rush hours and moved back to Prospect Park at other times? That woud be utterly ridiculous.

            (Pardon me for not reading your mind. You said that you never saw the gap reason during rush hours; you didn’t say that you saw it at other times.)

            Perhaps those cars were coupled to another short train during rush hours to make a full-length train. (Off-peak short trains used to be much more common than they are now.)

            Or perhaps your observations weren’t quite as thorough as you think. In the 80′s and 90′s I noticed the gap train on some occasions and not on others, but I don’t recall any particular tend with respect to rush hours. My guess is that on some days there simply weren’t enough cars available to support a gap train, so on those days there was no gap train.

            Your proof isn’t convincing.

            The official car assignments from 1990 and 1998 aren’t convincing? Wow, just wow.

            If a third train is sitting at Prospect Park for use on the Franklin Shuttle and service is alternating so that all three trains are used, it is assigned to that line.

            I have no idea what this means. If the service requires three trains, the car assignment shows three trains. If the service requires two trains, the car assignment shows two trains.

            In this case, both the 1998 and the 1990 car assignments show two trains. What do you think that means?

            I am not saying anything about interlockings or crossovers. All I am saying is at the MTA decided to close Dean Street in 1995 and single track the line north of Dean Street to save money.

            Going from two tracks to one requires an interlocking. As I said before, the track configuration was unchanged in 1995.

            If that required the building of an expensive interlocking, it would not make sense to close the station.

            Nothing required the building of an expensive interlocking in 1995. The Dean Street station was closed and trains simply bypassed the station, on the same exact tracks they had previously used when the station was open, and I have no idea why you think otherwise.

            The track layout of the shuttle in 1998, before the reconstruction, was identical to the track layout in 1960.

            Any other single tracking was done in 1999 and that’s when service must have Ben reduced to two trains.

            Then why do the car assignments from 1998 and 1990 show only two trains in service on the line?

        • Andrew

          I have a question for your question, Mr. Rosen. How do they get the Franklin Avenue shuttle over to the southbournd layover track at Prospect Park when it is not in use. Is there a secret switch track north of the Park station to route it down an alternate set of tracks?

          I’m not Mr. Rosen, but there is a single crossover between Botanic Garden and Prospect Park. Normally, trains use it to cross from the southbound track (O1) to the northbound (O2), but trains can also go straight and remain on O1.
          http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/caption.pl?/img/trackmap/pm_southeast_2.png

          Regarding this morning’s train disruption, the northbound B that I was aboard, discharged all passengers, sat in station. Then the Motorman walked back to the rear of the B, and sat. And finally, the B went southbound on the northbound tracks I guess, until it could switch over to the Brigh ton boun d side. It was quite a while before there was any citybound service since P.Park is a choke point as we all know.

          Any sort of unplanned short-turn is messy, because the train operator has to walk to the opposite end of the train to get it out of the way. If this has been a planned closure, a second train operator would have been ready to board at the south end. (Also, if it had been a planned shutdown, it would have been with far less frequent service, and at least some of the riders would be aware of the changes in advance.)

          If the Franklin shuttle was handling very heavy loads, it might not have been able to keep to it’s usual schedule. It normally runs every ten minutes, but and it’s impossible to add a third train to the operation to improve headways.

      • sonicboy678

        They only run two trains during the day on FAS. The trains swap out on a daily basis, though.

    • joe

      Okay if you were sick on the subway would you just want them to toss you out onto the platform as to not “disrupt” the commute. Show some class and consideration. A person’s health and well being is a lot more important than your commute to some job. If you don’t like to commute either move closer to your current job or find a new job closer to your house

      • BrooklynBus

        Of course not. They would have someone wait with you until help arrives. Unless the person is so critical that he can’t be moved, he can wait just as well on a subway bench as in the train without delaying thousands of people an extra half hour.

        • joe

          but then thats where lawsuits will come into play. people would be suing saying they became more injured by MTA employee when they moved them off of the train

          • BrooklynBs

            In most cases the passenger can walk off the train by himself with a little aid. What you are saying would only be true in case of a fall. Then I could possibly see not moving the individual.

        • Andrew

          Who is that “someone”? If it’s the conductor on the incident train (as is often the case), the train has to be discharged, since a train can’t carry riders without a conductor. Of course, if it’s going to be a long wait for medical assistance, discharging a train is generally preferable to blocking the track, but it’s still a major inconvenience, especially if the following train is too crowded to accommodate everybody who was on the discharged train.

          • Allan Rosen

            I was thinking more like police officer. They do still have them in the subways. Right?

          • Andrew

            Of course, and if a police officer happens to be nearby, that’s wonderful, but you won’t find a police officer at most stations at any given time.

            http://www.mta.info/news-subway-sick-customer-medical-assistance-train-delays/2014/05/14/nyc-transit-marketing-campaign

            If alone, however, a public address announcement is issued requesting response from any Transit employee, Police or Fire Department personnel who may be onboard the train to wait with the customer for medical assistance. If no one is available, then the conductor must stay, which means the train must be discharged and then proceed empty. That scenario takes the train out of service and can lead to crowding conditions on the platform.

            If the customer is unable to walk, the train crew is required to wait for the arrival of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and the train cannot be moved until the patient is transported. An unconscious rider will also require shuttling riders to the platform while the train crew waits for Police and EMS response. The first car of the train would then be moved partially out of the station, so the following train can gain partial access to the platform.

          • Allan Rosen

            So now we know the cause of the problem. When we had the NYCT police bureau, a policeman could be summoned and be available within 15 minutes. Since the police were put under the NYPD, apparently, that is no longer possible with so few police in the subway system and none on the buses.

            This change in procedure necessitated by the elimination of the NYPD police bureau, has inconvenienced thousands and perhaps millions of riders and made the buses a haven for crime. Thanks for the enlightenment.

          • Subway Stinker

            Allan, there is no evidence that merging the NYC Transit Police (once led by then-Chief William Bratton) into the NYPD and creating the NYPD Transit Bureau, has reduced police service on the subways. As you know, crime on the subways is fairly low compared to the 1980s-1990s. As for the buses, there is a small police division solely assigned to surface transportation, as well as the MTA’s own Eagle Squad of unarmed but mostly retired cops who ride the buses in search of fare beaters. Also remember, transit bureau police mainly patrol in plain clothes so perps and you never know who is riding your car with you.

          • Allan Rosen

            It definitely did reduce police in the subways as well as on the buses. That was the reason for the merger, to redeploy subway cops to the streets since subway crime went down and the city wanted more on the streets without having to hire more cops.

            There was no policy for conductors to remain with a sick passenger because a police officer was always within 15 minutes of any subway station and coud be deployed in an emergency. That’s why delays due to a sick passenger were a rarity if they occurred at all.

            Now that’s a major cause of subway delays when a police officer doesn’t happen to be in the station where the sick passenger is. No attempt is made according to the policy that Andrew posted to reach a police officer at another station, because there are much fewer police on the subways whether in or out of uniform.

          • Andrew

            There was no policy for conductors to remain with a sick passenger because a police officer was always within 15 minutes of any subway station and coud be deployed in an emergency. That’s why delays due to a sick passenger were a rarity if they occurred at all.

            Trains stop at Grand Street every three minutes in the morning rush northbound. Fifteen minutes is five trains, and that’s only for the police to arrive on the scene!

            Crime on the subways is a fraction of what it was 20-30 years ago. Do you seriously think the level of policing should remain today as it was then? If the goal is to improve response time for sick customer incidents, I’d humbly suggest that deploying trained medical personnel would be more effective than increasing police levels.

            I’m sorry you didn’t like the Transit Police merger into the NYPD. Bring it up with Mayor Giuliani.

            The public certainly didn’t become aware of the sheer number of incidents that occur on a typical day until the email service alert program started up five or six years ago, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

          • Allan Rosen

            People don’t need email to learn of the number of medical instances. All you have to do is ride the trains and listen to the public announcements as to the causes of delays. . In the 1990s, the most common major delay was due to door problems taking trains out of service. Now it appears to be “sick passengers.”

            Crime is also a fraction of what it was above ground. Does that mean we now need only a fraction of the police force on the streets too. Also, crime isn’t the only reason for police. Many more citations are given out now in the subways than were issued years ago, so I dispute your notion that we need only a fraction of the police officers underground.

            I have no idea what your point is about Grand Street.
            Yes, Guiliani made that bad decision which many opposed at the time. It wasn’t only me.

          • fdtutf

            What Andrew said about Grand Street, I think, is just an example of how quickly a very bad backup can accumulate in the rush hour if there is a stoppage on one line. Even having police 15 minutes away wouldn’t prevent a bad backup from happening because trains are only a couple of minutes apart on most lines.

          • Allan Rosen

            If a cop can be summoned within 15 minutes and a conductor must remain with the passenger much longer like 30 minutes or more while the entire line stops, the resulting delay will be much less.

          • fdtutf

            I’m not disputing that. I’m just explaining what I think was Andrew’s reason for including that example. In either case, a severe disruption results.

          • Andrew

            If the train is discharged, the conductor can remain with the sick passenger on the platform while the train operator moves the train out of the way. (Did you read the link I posted from mta.info explaining the process?)

          • Andrew

            People don’t need email to learn of the number of medical instances. All you have to do is ride the trains and listen to the public announcements as to the causes of delays.

            I didn’t say that people need email. I said that people are more aware of the large number of incidents now because they get email alerts even when they’re not riding. That doesn’t mean that those incidents weren’t taking place before.

            In the 1990s, the most common major delay was due to door problems taking trains out of service. Now it appears to be “sick passengers.”

            Car reliability had improved tremendously in the past two decades, so it should be no surprise that car failures are less common. At the same time, ridership has increased tremendously, and with more passengers there will invariably be more sick passengers.

            Only you would paint this as a bad thing!

            Crime is also a fraction of what it was above ground. Does that mean we now need only a fraction of the police force on the streets too.

            We certainly don’t need as large a police force now as we did in the early 1990′s!

            I have no idea what your point is about Grand Street.

            We were discussing Subway Stinker’s sick passenger incident at Grand Street that disrupted B and D service in the morning rush.

            Yes, Guiliani made that bad decision which many opposed at the time. It wasn’t only me.

            Giuliani hasn’t been Mayor since 2001. I’m sure you can find something more timely to oppose.

      • Subway Stinker

        Both me and the MTA recognize the duty to help sick passengers and the MTA has a protocol for this, so insulting me misses the mark and accomplishes little. Keep in mind that as I was waiting for the subway to move, the sick passenger was also waiting for help. Nothing good about that, is there?
        You are too young to remember but the MTA once had roving teams of paramedics to respond to sick calls. This was abolished to save money. But there needs to be system that can both provide prompt medical aid and keep the trains rolling. Moving me to another city will not solve this vexing problem

  • Andrew

    Boarding wasn’t the issue at all. The Belmont Park station can load six trains at a time. The boarding process wasn’t the bottleneck, despite the low platforms.

    Here’s a detailed explanation of what actually happened, according to http://www.thelirrtoday.com/2014/06/belmont-stakes-2014-sets-ridership.html :

    The Belmont Park station presents a number of challenges that makes it difficult to move large amounts of people out of the station at once. Forget the fact that it’s the only LIRR station with low-level platforms. People make that out to be more of an issue than it really is. It adds a whole three minutes to the boarding process, and they can board multiple trains simultaneously. Considering that most trains got filled up and then sat there for some time waiting to leave the station indicates it had very little impact on the situation. What is a real issue at Belmont Park is the lacking track and power infrastructure. It takes about five minutes to go the relatively short distance from the racetrack station to QUEENS interlocking, The wye up to the Mainline is single-tracked and not in the best of conditions, so trains must move slowly once they leave the Mainline. Westbound trains also have to crossover most of the interlocking to get to the westbound tracks, which can tie things up considerably. Furthermore, power consumption is a big issue. M7′s can only operate in “Min” position to keep power draw down, so that short stretch is very slow going. All trains idling in the station have to be quickly put in Lay-Up Mode to also help moderate how much power trains are eating up on the spur.

    Better service would require significant capital investment – and I agree with Mr. O’Hara that the LIRR cannot justify such investment to improve service on one day of the year. Perhaps the NYRA should fund it, bit certainly not the LIRR.

  • joe

    Maybe because the LIRR and NJ tranist run through the small towns and not new york city itself so the MTA probably does not have as much resources in these towns because the populations are pretty small. Yankee stadium gets over 36,000 fans every night and their usually is no problem catching a subway train or getting out of the parking lot.
    These small towns need to just stop trying to host big events and leave it to the big cities. I mean they chose to have the SuperBowl in East Rutherford, NJ. When they first announced it in East Rutherford everyone knew their would be a commuter problem right away.

    The Lirr and NJ transit are just not use to servicing so many people because the towns they usually service are quite small

  • guest

    It’s very simple. The MTA does not care about it’s customer base whatsoever. All they care about is lining their pockets with cash. They aren’t known as the Money Thieving Authority for nothing.

    • Supporter of Left Handed Rule

      Guest, If you have any evidence or proof of MTA officials lining their pockets with cash, I hope you do the civic minded thing and report these illegal acts to the appropriate authorities, such as a DA or US Attorney. Otherwise, buzz off.