F & G Train Service Alert

Updated @ 4:07 p.m.

& service has resumed with only residual delays.

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Updated @ 3:37 p.m.

Due to signal problems at the Fort Hamilton Parkway Station, Jamaica-bound f trains are running express between the Church Avenue Station and the Smith-9th Streets Station.

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The MTA has posted a service alert regarding the F & G trains. The service alert states:

Due to track work at the Carroll Street Station, please expect delays in service on the f and g in both directions at this time.

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4 Train: You’re Average!

4 train

(Woodlawn bound 4 train approaching the 161 Street-Yankee Stadium station. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

The straphangers have spoken & they feel the 4 train is average! The MTA released the full graded result breakdown of the 4 train for its 2007 rider report card. The highest grade earned was a B- which the 4 earned in four different categories. The lowest grade earned was a surprising D. Overall the 4 graded out with a C.

Top 10 priorities that 4 train riders’ would like to see improvement on:

    1. Adequate room on board at rush hour
    2. Minimal delays during trips
    3. Reasonable wait times for trains
    4. Station announcements that are easy to hear
    5. Sense of security on trains
    6. Cleanliness of stations
    7. Sense of security in stations
    8. Train announcements that are easy to hear
    9. Station announcements that are informative
    10.Comfortable temperature in subway cars

Now here is the entire order of 4 train riders’ priorities:

    1. Adequate room on board at rush hour
    2. Minimal delays during trips
    3. Reasonable wait times for trains
    4. Station announcements that are easy to hear
    5. Sense of security on trains
    6. Cleanliness of stations
    7. Sense of security in stations
    8. Train announcements that are easy to hear
    9. Station announcements that are informative
    10. Comfortable temperature in subway cars
    11. Courtesy and helpfulness of station personnel
    12. Working elevators and escalators in stations
    13. Cleanliness of subway cars
    14. Train announcements that are informative
    15. Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines
    16. Ease of use of subway turnstiles
    17. Signs in stations that help riders find their way
    18. Lack of scratchitti in subway car
    19. Signs in subway cars that help riders find their way
    20. Lack of graffiti in stations
    21. Lack of graffiti in subway cars

Now here is the individual grade breakdown for 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 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 C
    Train announcements that are informative C
    Lack of graffiti in stations B-
    Lack of graffiti in subway cars B-
    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 B-
    Availability of MetroCard Vending Machines B-

I mentioned that the lowest grade earned was a surprising D. The reason I said this is because I fully expected the 4 to earn an F for “adequate room on board at rush hour.” Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the 4 to score higher than a F. I know a D is still failing but I think that grade is inaccurate. The 4 deserves a big fat F for this category. I avoid the 4 like the plague in general but especially during rush hours. I swear it seems the only way to get a seat on that line is to get on one of the first couple of stops at either end!

The MTA announced they received 4200+ responses to this report card. Once again I am sorry but that number is way too low, especially for a line that is apart of what is the busiest trunk line in the entire system! Where the hell are all the straphangers at? I could stand on any station in Manhattan & count that many 4 straphangers within an hour. This is inexcusable!

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Hudson Rail Yards Receive 5 Bids

Yesterday I blogged about the deadline for developers to submit their bids for the rights to the 26 acre Hudson Rail Yards.

The deadline for submitting bids was yesterday. The MTA has announced that they received 5 bids by yesterday’s 5:00 p.m. deadline. The following 5 companies submitted bids (listed in random order):

  1. Extell Development Company
  2. Brookfield Properties Developer LLC
  3. The Related Companies
  4. TS West Side Holding, LLC (A Joint Venture of Tishman Speyer and Morgan Stanley)
  5. Hudson Center East LLC and Hudson Center West LLC (A Joint Venture of Vornado Realty Trust and The Durst Organization, Inc.)

2 of the developers already have agreements in place with corporations to be tenants. Hudson Center East & Hudson Center West LLC have an agreement in place with Conde Nast Publications. Tishman Speyer (owners of Rockefeller Center & the Stuyvesant Town apartment complex) has guaranteed Morgan Stanley as a tenant. Each of these development companies are banking that guaranteed tenants will help their cause in obtaining the right to the 26 acres.

Which ever company wins the bid will have the task of spending billions to start creating their dream layout. The cost to build platforms over the existing rail yards is expected to reach $1.5 billion. This does not include the billions it will cost for other construction related necessities & the expected $500 million price tag to obtain the development rights.

The MTA will start evaluating the bids which will eventually be released to the public.

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Quiet Cars On The NYC Subway?

This would become a reality if some city council members had it their way. In an article in today’s edition of the New York Daily News, some city council members are urging the MTA to introduce quiet cars in the NYC subway. This request comes on the hands of all the news about plans to wire the NYC subway platforms & possibly tunnels as well.

Bronx democratic councilman Oliver Koppell has mentioned that long distance rail lines already make use of “quiet cars.” He had some other statements about quiet cars:

“You may say, ‘People won’t listen.’ But there’s a tendency for self-policing in that system. So, if you have a quiet car … and someone gets on and starts talking on the cell phone, other passengers will say, ‘This is a quiet car, please turn off the cell phone. Generally, that works.”

I think the idea of quiet cars on the NYC subway is a horrible idea. Lets look at the cold harsh reality which is a daily ride on the NYC subway. The ride is not quiet! Whether it is the sound of music from an i-pod, someone playing their PSP, someone watching a movie on a portable dvd player, people conversing with one another, or the actual sound of the trains going over trackage, the NYC subway is not quiet!

If the MTA was to introduce a quiet car, it will only serve as a place to hear the sound of train cars going over trackage even more clearly. Wow! I can’t wait to hear those sounds more clearly in a quiet car! What idiocy!

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Cell Phone Service Might Extend Into Tunnels…..

This is according to the private consortium Transit Wireless who is responsible for signing up at least one major carrier to provide service as part of the plan to wire subway station platforms. Transit Wireless plans on installing cell phone & WiFi equipment in a manner that would enable the MTA to have it extend into tunnels if they so choose. According to Jerome Page of the MTA Deputy Counsel, some service might leak into tunnels when stations are wired up.

The idea of extending cell phone service into tunnels is one that is supported by some members of the city council’s technology & transportation committees. They feel that the possible annoyance would be worth it in terms of the service that will be available. I happen to agree with Flushing Democrat John Liu who happens to be the chairman of the council’s Transportation Committee when he said: “A subway train is not a place you go for quiet and tranquility.”

Some politicians have expressed concerns about cell phone & WiFi service being available on platforms or inside tunnels. Here are some of their comments:

Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder – “I hope and pray and don’t expect thousands of New Yorkers walking off the platform and onto the tracks.”

Manhattan Democrat Gail Brewer – “You might as well put some benches and chairs and tables and so on and have a real hotspot and maybe coffee.”

First off I think comments like the ones posted above are clear illustrations of overreacting! I highly doubt we will ever see thousands of people, even hundreds of people walking off of platforms by accident due to being on a cell phone. I sincerely doubt we will ever hear about that happening 10 times much less thousands!

I also have to laugh at Gail’s comments about people setting up their office inside a subway station. Most people want to spend as little time in a station as possible. Do you really think enabling cell & WiFi service will change that? Most people find stations to be filthy from their look to their smell. Many also feel they are not the safest place to be. Do you really think the cell phone & WiFi generation will magically ignore those feelings for service they can already get in nicer establishments like Bryant Park or Starbucks? I highly doubt you will ever see even a small sample of people setting up shop in a subway station.

Do opponents of this technology not understand how this is a win win situation for everyone? The installation of this technology will help people stay in touch when they are in the system especially considering over half of the stations are underground. Also how can one overlook the financial windfall the MTA would get out of the deal? No one should ever object a proposal that helps straphangers out, the MTA in terms of not having to spend a penny, & the bonus fact of the MTA earning revenue from the deal!

I do understand that the installation of this technology will cause some service disruptions & delays. However this is one that people should take for the team as it benefits us as a whole in the long run!

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