Yawn…… Yet Another C-


Jamaica/179th St. bound F train departing the 2nd Avenue station. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

The grade for the partner in crime to the F train comes as no surprise to anyone who has been following the 2007 Rider Report Cards. The V train earned a C- from the 1,636 people who sent in their report cards. Lets go straight to the full breakdown shall we….

Top 10 priorities that null train riders’ would like to see improvement on:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Minimal delays during trips
03. Station announcements that are easy to hear
04. Adequate room on board at rush hour
05. Train announcements that are easy to hear
06. Cleanliness of stations
07. Station announcements that are informative
08. Cleanliness of subway cars
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Working elevators and escalators in stations

Now here is the entire order of null train riders’ priorities:

01. Reasonable wait times for trains
02. Minimal delays during trips
03. Station announcements that are easy to hear
04. Adequate room on board at rush hour
05. Train announcements that are easy to hear
06. Cleanliness of stations
07. Station announcements that are informative
08. Cleanliness of subway cars
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Working elevators and escalators in stations
11. Sense of security on trains
12. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
13. Train announcements that are informative
14. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
15. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
16. Lack of scratchitti in subway cars
17. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
18. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
19. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
20. Lack of graffiti in stations
21. Lack of graffiti in subway cars

Now here is the graded breakdown of all 21 categories:

Minimal delays during trips C-
Reasonable wait times for trains C-
Adequate room on board at rush hour C
Sense of security in stations C
Sense of security on trains C
Working elevators and escalators in stations C-
Signs in stations that help riders find their way C
Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way C
Cleanliness of stations C-
Cleanliness of subway cars C-
Station announcements that are easy to hear D
Station announcements that are informative D+
Train announcements that are easy to hear D+
Train announcements that are informative D+
Lack of graffiti in stations C+
Lack of graffiti in subway cars C+
Lack of scratchitti in subway cars C-
Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel C-
Comfortable temperature in subway cars C
Ease of use of subway turnstiles C+
Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines B

Personally I think this line got what I & many others expected it to get. In reality, it is hard to imagine a part time line that only runs during the week to score very high. I am sure it does not help that many see the V as being the evil choice that took away F service from the extremely busy 53rd Street corridor. Lets look at a few of these grades more closely.

Let me start with the #1 priority of “reasonable wait times for trains”. This priority ending up at #1 does not surprise me as when one waits for the V, you get the feeling the service is consistently sub par. I have had many adventures on the V & it seems to be one of many lines that seem to have riders waiting forever until the next one arrives. I usually tend to hop the V in Manhattan & when I just miss one, I expect to wait a minimum of 10 minutes for the next one to arrive. Depending on my location, I expect to see either multiple E or F trains to arrive before the next V.

The main issue I see with the V is the amount of trains per hour. One look at the V’s schedule which is so minuscule it shares the page with the F, shows that it usually only has 6 trains per hour excluding a couple of hours here & there. The most trains per hour you will see on the V is 9 which is accomplished 4 times a day, 2 times in each direction. The V has 9 trains per hour traveling to Lower East Side/2nd Avenue between the hours of 7 am – 8 am & 4 pm – 5 pm. The V has 9 trains per hour traveling to Forest Hills/71st Avenue between the hours of 8 am – 9 am & 5 pm – 6pm.

As far as delays are concerned, I have always noticed consistent delays in certain areas. From my experiences, I have noticed a lot of delays while traveling in Queens between the Steinway Street & 23rd Street/Ely Avenue stations as well as between Broadway/Lafayette Street & its terminal at Lower East Side/2nd Avenue. The delays while approaching the Lower East Side/2nd Avenue terminal are not shocking to me as one can usually expect delays when approaching terminals. However I think the delays in between the Steinway Street & 23rd Street/Ely Avenue stations need some attention.

I know I sound like a broken record but I will say this anyway. The amount of report cards received was way too low but maybe it matches the amount of people who use this line daily. I am used to seeing pretty empty V trains, what can I say! Also can the MTA remove the free B or B- square category for the “Availability of MetroCard machines”. The joke grade is getting old now!

When I think of the V, I can’t help but feel this line fails to live up to its potential. If the MTA felt the V was necessary, it sure needs to come up with a better terminal as Lower East Side/2nd Avenue is not going to cut it. While there are plans for the V to see life in Brooklyn full time in the near future, as opposed to emergency runs like this one, it sure can’t come fast enough!

I personally would love to see this line run later if not 24×7 as it could benefit many riders. I for one would definitely use the line if it was available after my many late nights/early mornings of hanging out with friends in the Lower East Side. The hopping of the F one stop to Broadway Lafayette to ride a downtown 6 to Brooklyn Bridge just to turn back around & head home got old real quick! I also am not thrilled with walking back to the Astor Place or Bleecker Street station after drinking as that seems to take forever even for a fast walker such as myself!

So in the end until changes can be made such as the completion of construction on the Gowanus Viaduct, the V will always be a line carrying around the dreaded “P” label known to many as “Potential”.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Striphangers Spread Holiday Cheer In A Unique Way!

The L now stands for “lucky” & the N “nice” after 3 women transformed themselves from straphangers into striphangers! The story which was an exclusive to the New York Daily News goes like this. 3 women; Laura Lee Anderson, Marissa Lupp, & Jessica Wu have gone from unknowns to internet celebrities due to a video that is all the rage on the internet.

The 3 ladies decided to take a dare from DareJunkies.com promising $10,000 for the best pole dancing routine in public. They decided to just go for it since they admittedly were all broke, in between jobs & desperate for cash. So this past March the 3 ladies joined by their pal Isis Masoud took their routine along with their boom box blasting Prince’s “Erotic City” for the ride of their life.

The MTA was not thrilled about the ladies routine. Playing the role of the “party pooper” is NYC Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges who issued this statement on behalf of the MTA New York City Transit:

The last thing we want is for anyone to turn our subways into roving burlesque stages for crude exhibitionists. While the rules don’t specifically state lap or pole dancing, what is depicted here is disorderly conduct.

Wow talk about having sour grapes! I admit that a pole routine is not really the type of activity that should be taking place in a subway. However there was no nudity involved & it was just a temporary shoot for a contest. If you are going to come down hard about this, why not come down just the same on the daily activities of panhandling, dangerous dance routines, & much more? I don’t see the snotty comment for those activities which are worse than harmless pole dancing!

In case you were wondering, the ladies did win the contest & are $10,000 richer. If you want to see the video, click here.
The facial reactions alone make it worth watching over & over!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Issues A Press Release On The NYC Para-Transit Drivers Strike

As I wrote about earlier this morning, NYC Para Transit drivers officially went on strike. Earlier today, the MTA issued a press release about the strike along with details about their performance so far during the strike. Here is that press release courtesy of the MTA:

Amalgamated Transport Union Local 1181-1061 has called a strike against four Access-A-Ride carriers. Three of the carriers are: Atlantic Paratrans, Inc.; Maggie’s Paratransit Corp., and Transit Facility Mgmt Corp. However, the fourth, MV Transportation, was still able to support about 70% of its routes.

These carriers, under contract with MTA New York City Transit provide approximately 50% of Paratransit daily scheduled services. However, this is a private labor dispute between the ATU and the carriers. NYC Transit is not a party to these negotiations.

During this morning’s pull-out period, 65% of the scheduled routes were served. Figures for this afternoon were slightly higher with 70% of the routes being served. Access-A-Ride has authorized five times the daily number of taxi authorizations and twice the number of vouchers for car service. The preliminary estimate for tomorrows’ service is 14,000 trips, which is approximately 75% of the current daily weekday average.

As part of the contingency plan developed to minimize the effects of this job action, NYC Transit will continue to reassign affected subscription trips, especially medically essential trips (i.e. dialysis treatment, chemotherapy, etc.). NYC Transit will also continue to utilize supplemental service provided by private ambulette carriers.

As I said earlier, lets hope this strike ends as soon as possible!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Gives The Gift Of Vintage Buses This Holiday Season

The MTA continues to be in a giving mood this holiday season. Fresh off the gift of the “Nostalgia Train” for the holiday season, the MTA will give the gift of vintage buses this holiday season. Here is the press release courtesy of the MTA:

Bus customers using the M34, M42 and M50 crosstown routes will have the opportunity to take a ride back in time this month when MTA New York City Transit places into service a fleet of vintage New York City Transit buses for the holiday season. Everything will be original except the MetroCard fare boxes.

In addition, double-decker buses dating from the 1930s will be available for inspection but, sorry, no rides. The double-deckers will be parked at Herald Square, Times Square, outside of Grand Central Terminal and other locations around the city.

The crosstown buses will be in operation from Monday, December 10th through Friday, December 28th, running on weekdays during morning and evening rush hours. With a little bit of luck and good timing you could catch a ride back in time on a classic coach for the price of a regular ride. And don’t forget, these modern buses are equipped with modern fare boxes, so they’ll accept your MetroCard or coins.

Housed in depots throughout the city, the historic fleet is appreciated by Transit’s top managers for their historic significance. “These buses are a living, breathing part of the city’s history and each has a unique story to tell about the era in which it operated,” says NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “When you examine this collection as a whole, the progression of motorized surface transportation in New York City really comes to life.”

The agency’s historic fleet contains 19 buses, ranging in age from the Queen Anne – a 1917 wood-bodied double-decker manufactured in the shops of the old Fifth Avenue Coach Company – to bus number 1201, NYC Transit’s first General Motors RTS.

Many of the vehicles have been deemed to have historical significance to the city, including bus number 3100, a 1956 GM which was the first air-conditioned transit bus manufactured, and 5227, the last non-wheelchair accessible bus to operate for NYC Transit, pulled from service in 1993.

“Riding on these buses is a fantastic counterpoint to the buses we operate currently,” noted Joseph Smith, Senior Vice President, Department of Buses. “It’s obvious that we have come a long way since the 1970s and, despite the charm of the older equipment, our customers are benefiting from the advances in bus design.”

While most of the preserved and restored vehicles were ordered and operated by NYC Transit, the earliest buses belonged to predecessor companies, particularly the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. The historic fleet is made up largely of so-called “old look” buses (built prior to fall of 1959) and “new look” models (buses with slanted windows and enlarged windshields built from the fall of 1959 until the introduction of the RTS in 1977).

General Motors and Flxible are the most heavily represented manufacturers, though there is also a 1956 Mack in the collection. Interestingly, all three companies are now out of the bus-building business.

List and description of buses that will be in operation and on display:

Buses in service

Bus No. 5117 – 1964 Flxible. Retired from service in 1983

Bus No. 7340 – 1973 Flxible. Part of a 267 bus order. This bus ran until 1990

Bus No. 4727 – This 1969 Flxible was delivered as part of an order for 331 buses. It last saw service in 1988.

Bus No. 2151 – 1962 General Motors Coach, Model TDH 5301. It remained in service for 20 years.

Bus No. 100 – 1959 General Motors Coach. Model TDH 5301. This was the first model year of the GM’s New Look bus style. It was retired from service in 1973.

Buses on Display

Bus No. 2124 – 1938 Yellow Coach 735 (GM) double-decker; ran until 1953 and was among the last of the fleet to serve.

Bus No. 1263 – This 1931 Yellow Coach double-decker was part of a 52-bus order for Fifth Avenue Coach Company.

This is yet another activity to add to my photography to do list!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North Makes Changes At Poughkeepsie

This past Friday the MTA issued a press release highlighting changes that will be made at the Poughkeepsie train station. The changes stem from the increase in ridership on Saturdays. Here is the press release courtesy of the MTA:

New customers by the thousands have been using Metro-North’s Poughkeepsie train station on Saturdays. In fact, the number of customers on Saturday mornings has exploded – from 1,150 in 2004, to more than 3,200 customers this past Saturday. And that’s just during the morning hours.

The greatest challenge in handling this wave of new Saturday customers is NOT the availability of train seats: There is seating for everyone. It’s that most of these customers are brand new to railroad travel and to the train station itself. Even reading schedules and purchasing tickets is a new experience for them.

To handle these very welcome new customers, starting this Saturday, the number of ticket sellers on Saturdays is tripling-from one to three. One of the three ticket sellers will stand outside the ticket booth, garbed in a Metro-North uniform, to give information, advice, answer questions and guide the thousands of first-time Metro-North travelers. This third ticket seller will be on duty at least through the holiday period.

In addition, Metro-North is in the process of installing a $100,000 visual information system, known as a VIS, so that customers can readily discern train departure times and platforms. In addition, these VISs will be flat screen LCD panels-crystal clear and easy to read. And they’ll prove helpful to daily commuters as well.

Metro-North’s popularity is growing for many reasons. The frequency of service has been increasing year by year and many trains are semi-expresses for a fast, reliable trip into Grand Central. There are currently 10 departures before noon each Saturday, including a seasonal “Shoppers’ Special” leaving at 9:18 a.m. There is free parking on weekends. Rising gasoline prices are tempting automobile drivers to try the train. In fact, many customers are driving down from Albany-Rensselaer and Columbia County to catch Metro-North for the rest of the trip to New York City.

I must say it is nice to see people make use of mass transit where it is available. I also commend Metro-North for keeping up with ridership patterns in determining the need for more employees. However I must ask is it necessary to spend $100 to install a VIS? I believe systems like that should be reserved for bigger stations where one could possibly get confused with so many tracks being available. The Poughkeepsie station is not that big that one could not figure out where to go if they can execute the basic action of reading.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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