Monday, August 17, 2015

Expect New Subway Delays... Wait, What?

From DNAInfo: Queens Riders: Expect Delays on the E, F, M and R Trains for Next 3 Weeks

A curious announcement, considering the Queens subways have had really bad delays (cancelled or non-existent express train service, slower trains, skipped stations), oh, since I think about February—I kind of lost track (no pun intended) because the situation has been going on so long. Only the difference is, these disruptions have been kept to late evenings and weekends.

I think there's a larger story here, and I think it reflects the way Forest Hills and the rest of the city is changing—and how the MTA has been slow to catch on.

If you take the subways into Manhattan during the late evenings and on the weekends, then you know what I am talking about. I think maybe one week since February the service has been normal during the weekends and during the late evenings. And yet, I may be wrong, but I don't recall the MTA ever announcing any big ongoing construction project to the press like they have done with this new one that impacts rush hour service.

And that's just unfair and reflects old thinking.

The subway isn't just a commuting option for an increasing number of those of us who view ourselves as living in a city where boroughs matter less and less, and we forego owning a car as a choice—because this is one of the great cities of the world where you simply do not need one.

For me, the subway is a critical part of my life, a way to enjoy the other parts of the city that I frequent every week. And not just to work. I spend a ton of my free time in these other parts of the city—I consider it as much my home as Forest Hills. I live in New York City and avail myself of every part of it.

It would just be nice to know that the MTA is aware how vital the subway is as a link for those of us living here to other parts of the city—and not just for rush hour commuting. If they are going to start a construction project impacting late evenings and weekends for 7 months and counting, shouldn't we all be told about it?

I think this is where the larger story comes in. This is who currently controls our subway system:
  • The Governor recommends six board members, including the Board Chair,
  • New York City's Mayor recommends another four members,
  • The county executives of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties recommend one board member each,
  • And the county executives of Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Dutchess Counties recommend one board member each (those four board members cast one collective vote). 
So, the pathetic and simply wrong reality is that out of 14 potential MTA votes, New York City residents have a say through their Mayor in only 4 of those MTA Board votes. And our Mayor doesn't even get to select the MTA board chair.

Now, I ask you, who really depends on the MTA more and should have more of a say in how it's run? Those of us who use it every day of the week as a vital connection to our city since we don't own cars? Or suburbanites who mostly own cars, and use it mostly as a choice for commuting?


  1. Unfortunately the work needs to be done and ridership isn't as heavy on nights and weekends, they do usually post notices in the station in advance and you can go to the Weekender mta website to check service changes. I took the F in and back this morning with no problem.

  2. Well, if the work truly needs to be done, then maybe the city and MTA can really get behind apps like Uber and Lyft, so those of us "out" in Queens and the other outer boroughs will have additional options, and won't be so at the mercy of these frustrating service disruptions.

  3. Anon 2:21: This work is not being done on nights and weekends. It's being done in the morning and evening rush hours during the week. The worst possible time. The Weekender has nothing whatsoever to do with this.