Sunday, October 25, 2009

The F Line

So far, every weekend this month, I (and many others, I'm sure) have been rather annoyed that the F subway line, which I normally take to get into Manhattan, has been out of service due to construction. From 11:30pm on Friday night to Monday morning at 5:00am, the F line is out of commission in Brooklyn. The MTA has put shuttle buses along the route to replace the train service, but as everyone knows in the City, the buses aren't worth squat due to traffic and related issues. (I once waited 20 minutes for a bus to show up, and then it drove right past me because it was overcrowded.) Now, I realize that a 105-year-old subway system has to undergo regular maintenance, but this is exasperating because I have to always find another way into the City. Sometimes even that is problematic: Columbus Day weekend, I walked to the F line, not realizing it was shut down, and then walked all the way to the R line in Brooklyn Heights, only to discover that one was shut down too. You'd think Brooklyn was Alcatraz. The lesson here is that if you live outside of Manhattan, you need to check the MTA's website for scheduled maintenance before you leave your house. I just did that now and, lo-and-behold, there's a press release on their site called "MTA New York City Transit Completes Comprehensive Study Of F Line: New Initiatives Underway to Improve Service" with a link to the full report. I knew the line was one of the biggies in the system and always wondered why it was so awful and unreliable. It goes from Jamaica to Coney Island, and I was told by someone once that the F line has both the lowest underground point (at 63rd/Lexington) and the highest above-ground point (at Smith/9th). I didn't know that the line was 27 miles long though. According to the press release, "The study acknowledges the line's below average performance, due in part to its length, the age of its infrastructure, and the complexity of its operation. Recognizing the need for improvement along the line ... NYC Transit has made the line a priority and numerous initiatives are already underway...." Some of these new initiatives include a new manager for maintenance and new cars being put into service (these I've seen, and they are rather sweet with digital signage and lots more room). All I can say is that I hope all this work happens quickly. I want the convenience of my F-ing train back!

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