Straphangers Say The E Is Far From Excellent!

 

E train layup at the Kew Gardens-Union Tpke. station; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

Most of the NYC Subway lines earned a barely passing grade in the “2007 Rider Report Cards”. Unfortunately for the E train, it failed to earn a spot in that category. The straphangers have clearly spoken & their message is “The E Is Far From Excellent” as the line earned a D+ from the 6,301 who filled out the report cards. Lets go straight the full breakdown:

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. Adequate room on board at rush hour
04. Station announcements that are easy to hear
05. Cleanliness of stations
06. Train announcements that are easy to hear
07. Sense of security on trains
08. Cleanliness of subway cars
09. Sense of security in stations
10. Comfortable temperature in subway cars

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

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

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 D
Sense of security in stations C
Sense of security on trains C-
Working elevators and escalators in stations D+
Signs in stations that help riders find their way C
Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way C-
Cleanliness of stations D+
Cleanliness of subway cars D+
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-

I have to say I think the straphangers graded this line pretty accurately outside of the top priority which I question a bit. I have many years of experience riding this line especially dating back to my days of riding it to Jamaica Station for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) after hanging out somewhere in Manhattan. The while serving as one of the big two along Queens Blvd with its express partner, the train, does have its fair share of problems which prevent it from being what it could be.

While I feel the line was graded pretty accurately, I do question the top priority. I am questioning why the riders feel that reasonable wait times is the #1 priority that needs improvement. What time of the day are they basing these feelings on? My years of experience riding the line tell me that wait times are not the #1 problem for this line. The E seems to have the most frequent arrivals along the Queens Blvd. corridor & definitely along the 8th Avenue corridor locally, hell possibly including the express.

In my opinion the clear #1 priority that needs improvement is  “Adequate room on board at rush hour”! This line is a complete nightmare to ride during the rush hour especially if you are not boarding at one of the first couple of stations on either end. I spent many trips standing from Lexington Avenue all the way out to whatever my destination was in Queens, usually anywhere from Kew Gardens-Union Tpke. & after!

Unfortunately I don’t know what can be done about crowding on the E as there is little or no room for additional trains as the corridor is pretty much at capacity nowadays. If anything maybe 1-3 more trains could be added per hour & that is stretching it. Even if they were added, I don’t know how much relief it would provide as the line is truly that packed pretty much all times of the day especially rush hour! The E was lucky to only get a D in this category as a F would be the most accurate grade for it.

Delays along the Queens Blvd. corridor are what most likely lead to “Minimal delays during trips” being the 2nd highest priority in need of improvement. With so many expresses running along the corridor, any little hiccup causes repercussions that are felt up & down the corridor. I also notice that the expresses have a huge habit of catching up with each other which causes minor delays here & there.

Not surprisingly the only good grade the E earned was for the “Availability of MetroCard Machines” as it was the lone shiny grade earned that was above a C. Seriously did the MTA just paint in a B or B- for that category on every line? The only screwup in that category was the Staten Island Railway which earned a C. However I won’t count that since it is not a NYC Subway line.

The amount of responses for this card was in line with what I thought it would be. With the E being one of the big 2 along the Queens Blvd. corridor, I assumed the least amount of responses received would be 5,000. Hopefully next year the total will be close to or more than double that! Maybe I should stop listening to Blink-182 as I write this entry & put on “Daydream Believer” instead!

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:

City Officials Continue To Insult The MTA

Last Thursday, outgoing deputy mayor Daniel Doctoroff announced that the city would be willing to pay for half of the costs to build the much talked about Hell’s Kitchen stop at 41st St. & 10th Ave. The most pathetic part of this announcement is the fact that the original plan called for the city to foot the entire bill for the two stop 7 line extension which has now become a 1 stop extension.

The increasing costs of the original plan led city officials to change their plan & only fund the completion of the 34th St. & 11th Ave. stop along with a shell for the Hell’s Kitchen stop at 41st St. & 10th Ave. Approximately six weeks before the ceremonial groundbreaking, city officials announced plans to scrap funding for any work to create the stop at 41st St. & 10th Ave.

I am sorry but the city is looking to give the ultimate screwjob to the MTA with this project. What is even more disgusting is how Mayor Bloomberg & the rest of his cronies are trying to pass the buck to federal officials. As much as the federal government is partially responsible for the lack of adequate funding for the MTA, this one can’t be put on their backs. The city was all excited for this extension when it was obsessed with trying to get the Olympics to New York along with a new New York Jets stadium, but now they want to renege on their promises because they don’t have a huge prize waiting for them behind door number one.

Why should the MTA spend money from their capital fund to help fund a project the city promised to pay for? Why does the city think a tree-lined promenade in the yet to be built Hudson Rail Yards development is more important than a stop in a growing community? Seriously they need to get their heads out of their asses & realize a tree-lined promenade will NEVER be more important than a subway stop. They also need to realize that if they don’t fund the creation of the stop in Hell’s Kitchen now, it will be a huge mistake that will cost much more to fix in the future. While I do not support the extension, I am of the belief that it should be done right the first time instead of trying to fix unnecessary & costly errors in judgment later.

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:

Fulton Transit Center Facing Major Financial Issues

The Fulton Transit Center which is known as the centerpiece for Lower Manhattan’s revival from 9/11 continues to face major financial issues. During a MTA meeting, board member Nancy Shevell said the agency would require serious “soul searching” if it wanted to keep the estimated $888 million dollar work tab from expanding out of control. Patrick Arden of Metro wrote a brief article about the situation:

MIDTOWN. Hailed as a centerpiece of Lower Manhattan’s revival after 9/11, the Fulton Street Transit Center has seen its price tag jump $138 million since 2004.

At an MTA meeting this week, board member Nancy Shevell warned some serious “soul-searching” would be required to keep the estimated $888 million tab from growing.

That cost is already $41 million higher than the federal funds allotted for the project. Working against rising real estate prices, historic preservation laws and strict demolition procedures mandated for buildings around Ground Zero, the MTA’s chief of capital construction, Mysore Nagaraja, has whittled away at the station’s size, most notably in the glass dome once meant to bring sunlight to subway platforms. A proposal to do away with one passageway connecting the R/W to the E was defeated by board members almost a year ago.

Shevell said tough choices will be discussed at the next construction meeting in January, but she would not be specific. In the East Side Access project, Nagaraja faced a lack of bidders. “The market is still very tight right now, ” he said of a contract that was 8.5 percent higher than expected.

Relief

When it’s complete in late 2009, the Fulton Street Transit Center will ease connections among the , , , , , , , , , , , , & subway lines.

Lets just say the MTA is in a huge pickle with this one. The project as noted is already $41 million dollars over the federal funds alloted for the project. Now mix in the fact that the construction is so far along, it isn’t something that can be abandoned or severely altered & you can see what kind of jam the MTA is in. Lets hope they fix this as this project has a lot of positives going for it.

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:

Ulterior Motives?

While the proposed service improvements should improve service for many riders, one has to ask why the delay in implementing the possible changes? Well it seems the answer lies with Mayor Bloomberg as he is made out to be the culprit behind the delay of the possible service improvements. Patrick Arden of Metro wrote this article about the situation:

MIDTOWN. The MTA’s Finance Committee approved next year’s proposed fare hike yesterday, and the authority’s full board is expected to seal the deal tomorrow.

But just before the vote, NYC Transit unveiled a list of 32 “service enhancements,” involving 10 subway lines, 31 bus routes and four high-traffic stations. The proposed improvements — the first for subway service in four years — would acknowledge the system’s ridership is at a 35-year high.

MTA boss Elliot Sander had budgeted an annual $60 million worth of service improvements to arrive at the same time as the fare hike. Yet now the fate of these improvements is uncertain, as delayed implementation dates extend from June to December of next year.

While the debate over the MTA’s finances has focused on wringing money from Albany, this push-back came from City Hall, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to support the fare hike.

In a statement, Bloomberg made clear he had asked “that next year’s service increase program will not be implemented until the first quarter’s tax and other revenues are reviewed.”

“I chalk it up to the mayor’s scorn for traditional politics,” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. “It would be a rare mayor who would vote for a fare hike upon the condition that service improvements don’t go into effect until later in the year.”

The mayor’s motivation may ultimately be political, as the MTA’s new $28 billion capital program gets submitted to the state Legislature just before it votes on congestion pricing. The mayor’s traffic fee would fund the MTA’s capital needs.

Currently, the city funds just 4 percent of the MTA’s budget.

Lets hope Patrick is off base & that possible service improvements will fail to see the light of day due to ulterior motives or p0litics as usual.

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:

Service Improvements On The Way???

In what could qualify as a slick but poorly executed P.R. move, the MTA’s New York City Transit division announced possible service improvements that riders could look forward to starting in the second half of 2008. Some of the  improvements which are supposed to serve as a way of calming the anger of the fare hike include:

Cutting off 1-2 minutes from wait times during evening service on the , , &

Extend the operating time to 11 pm on the &

Increase in service

Create the M13 which would run between East Midtown & The Lower East Side

Extend the B71 & B73 into Manhattan via the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel & terminating at South Ferry

Have the train run to 148th Street at all times

Have the run to Forest Hills-71st Avenue at all times

Increase in weekend service

Since this is involving the MTA, you must be expecting a catch. Well I am here to report that you are correct in assuming these improvements came with a catch. The catch is these service improvements will only be implemented if the MTA’s financial situation does not worsen through the first 3 months of 2008. Lets keep our fingers crossed!

xoxo Transit Blogger

You might enjoy reading these related entries:
Page 452 of 522« First...102030...450451452453454...460470480...Last »