Fast as F: MTA debuts express service along F line

Southern Brooklynites are often late because of poor public transportation, according to a new survey.
Southern Brooklynites are often late because of poor public transportation, according to a new survey.

Now the F train will skip your stop — for a reason!

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority debuted a controversial express version of the F train Monday morning, which promises to shorten commutes for long-suffering Coney Island straphangers, while leaving their brownstone Brooklyn counterparts in the lurch.

Two Manhattan-bound express F trains are now scheduled to depart from Coney Island on weekdays at 7:07 a.m. and 7:29 a.m., while Coney-bound express F trains will depart the Big Apple’s Lexington Avenue-63rd Street station at 4:57 p.m. and 5:28 p.m. throughout the work week.

Those trains will skip six stations between Jay Street-MetroTech and Church avenue, including:

• Fort Hamilton Parkway

• 15 Street-Prospect Park

• Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street

• Smith-Ninth Streets

• Carroll Street

• Bergen Street

The express service was enacted to shorten commute times for southern Brooklyn straphangers who rely on the F, but suffer the longest stretch of purely local service in the city — 26 uninterrupted stops between Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue and Broadway-Lafayette Street, where straphangers can transfer to express B and D trains.

A 2016 analysis of the F express conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority found that express riders would shave between six to seven minutes off their commutes, while riders along the skipped stops would suffer an average five-minute delay.

That’s because the Transit Authority isn’t adding trains to the line, but rather repurposing four local trains to benefit some riders at the expense of others, according to Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander.

“The MTA chose to pit riders against each other rather than improve service, add capacity, and modernize the signal system,” Lander said.

The study also found that evening peak-hour express service could lead to “significant congestion” at Bergen Street and Carroll Street stops, which should come as no surprise to local commuters, according to Cobble Hill Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, who said service there is already lousy.

“We’re already having to wait two or three trains to get on the train, because they’re crowded,” said Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D—Cobble Hill).

Naturally, southern Brooklyn pols celebrated the new express service, and argued that the four speedier trains should be a first step to a larger plan to increase public transit to the far side of Kings County.

“This was a long time coming,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), who rode the first official express F train on Monday morning. “This is a first step, but by no means is the work over.”

And city subway tzar Andy Byford stood by the Transit Authority’s F-express scheme, saying Coney Island commuters have suffered enough.

“It will benefit thousands of commuters by getting them to their destinations faster instead of sitting waiting as their train makes all local stops,” said Byford.

– Additional reporting by Rose Adams.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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