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About F’ing time! Weekend shuttles are done — for now • Brooklyn Paper

About F’ing time! Weekend shuttles are done — for now

Confusion reigned on the F train for the third straight weekend, as MTA trackwork closed the busy line between Church Avenue and Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn. But the agency says that the work is done for now.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

The weekend shuttle bus system that has been the bane of F-train riders for the past three weekends, is over — for now.

MTA spokesman Charles Seaton told The Brooklyn Paper that the kind of track work that requires the line to be completely shut down — forcing the use of shuttle buses between Church Avenue and Jay Street — has been curtailed through the winter.

But the news still had riders fuming at the agency, which doesn’t post weekend service advisories in the affected stations until the day before the track work begins.

“Customer service has never been the MTA’s strong suit,” said David Cohen, who lives near the Smith-Ninth Street station, the epicenter of weekend shuttle bus confusion.

Other riders said they didn’t even bother hopping the iron horse during the three weekends of inconvenience.

“I knew it would be a waste of time,” said Lindsey Gice of Carroll Gardens. “Luckily, everything you need is in Brooklyn.”

Seaton partly blamed riders for the confusion about the necessary weekend service changes, saying that those yellow construction signs that go up in stations on Thursday nights are actually the last link in the MTA’s customer service outreach, which includes e-mail alerts and announcements on the agency’s Web site two weeks prior to construction. Station signs go up at the last minute to prevent damage, he added.

The end of the shuttle service is only slight cause for celebration. The $250-million Culver Viaduct construction project, which is the true source for all the weekend inconvenience, is far from over. The project will have F trains on the fritz between the Carroll Gardens and Fourth Avenue Stations until at least 2012.

That work is expected to help the notoriously poor F train at least achieve parity with the rest of the system. State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) received so many complaints about the line earlier this year that he got the MTA to conduct an in-depth analysis and commit to improving the little engine that can’t.

Squadron said that riders should start seeing improvements in November, and more significant improvements beginning next year.

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