Back in June, MTA New York City Transit ran a pilot program which saw the creation of Brooklyn-bound A.M. express service on the in the Bronx. The program which lasted for 3 weeks will be lasting more than double that this go around as it last for 7 weeks. Here are more details courtesy of a press release sent to be by the agency a few days ago:
MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) is again embarking on a pilot program aimed at shortening travel times along the 4 Line with the addition of Bronx Express 4 service between Woodlawn and 149th Street-Grand Concourse. This enhanced service will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. during the weekday morning rush.
The pilot will begin on Monday, October 26th and run through Friday, December 11, 2009, for a total of seven weeks. The express trains will operate every 20 minutes, departing Woodlawn as follows: 7:00 a.m., 7:20 a.m., 7:40 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 8:20 a.m. After leaving Woodlawn, the Bronx Express 4 will make station stops at Mosholu Parkway, Bedford Park Blvd.-Lehman College, Burnside Avenue and 149th Street-Grand Concourse, skipping eight stations in the Bronx along the way. Bedford Park Blvd. was added to the express stops this go-roundfor the new pilot as a result of numerous requests from customers on the 4 line while we were evaluating the first pilot, which was positively received by customers.
The route sign designation on the Bronx Express 4 will have a diamond on the outside of the trains to indicate an express train. Also, customers boarding at Woodlawn, Mosholu Parkway, Bedford Park Blvd. and Burnside Avenue will be alerted to the Bronx Express 4 by conductors’ announcements. We are also distributing take-ones printed in English and Spanish to customers, as well as putting up informational posters.
“In New York City, every second counts and if we can give a few extra minutes to our customers, we will certainly strive to do so, said NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr., “Thanks to the innovative thinking of David Knights, Group General Manager of IRT East and 4 Line General Manager Stepfone Montgomery, more service improvements like this should be expected by our customers.”
“Customers who use the Bronx Express 4 will skip eight stations, which should reduce their travel times by about four minutes from the 21-minute scheduled running time between Woodlawn and 149th Street-Grand Concourse during the height of the a.m. peak. This time savings is significant when heading to work in the morning,” said IRT East Group General Manager Knights.
Recent upgrades to the center track signaling system within the 2005-2009 Capital Program have made this pilot possible. The signal job called for the installation of intermediate signals along the stretch of elevated track between Woodlawn and 161st Street. As a result of the project, we now have much greater operational flexibility. Similar signaling systems, allowing express service, are in place on the Flushing and White Plains Road Lines among others that have three tracks.
The results of this second pilot will be evaluated after the completion of the seven-week period and a decision will be made on whether to make this change permanent.
When this pilot first launched in June, I saw a mixed bag of reaction to it. As I had suspected, the comments were a mixed bag & depended on whether the person’s stop was being skipped. I feel 3 weeks was a bit short to get an accurate gauge of the potential success or failure of the pilot program. I am glad to see them extend it to almost 2 full months as that should serve as a more accurate barometer either way.