Gounardes releases report on southern Brooklyn transit woes

F this! Hundreds of angry commuters sign petition opposing express F train
Southern Brooklynites are often late because of poor public transportation, according to a new survey.
Photo by Aidan Graham

If you’re reading this, you’re probably late. 

A whopping 90 percent of southern Brooklyn straphangers who a responded to a survey published by state Sen. Andrew Gounardes reported being always or sometimes late to their destinations due to transit delays. 

“This report confirms what we know to be true: Southern Brooklynites deserve better public transportation,” said the first-term senator.  “These challenges have been ongoing for decades and it’s time that our city take a stark look at what we will need to do to transform our public transportation system. Whether through long and indirect commutes or poor service, southern Brooklyn’s public transportation problems take a major toll on our neighborhoods.”

Gounardes’ office distributed transit surveys online and at every bus and subway station within his 22nd Senate District over a seven-month period and received 769 responses — with more than 63 percent of all surveys coming out of Bay Ridge and only 4 percent from residents of Marine Park, Manhattan Beach and Gerritsen Beach. 

The report examined service on the D, N, R, B/Q, and F subway lines and bus service in southern Brooklyn to find that 30 percent of D train riders reported always being late to their destination— higher than any other line. Riders on the F train faired better, with only 12 percent saying they were late. When it comes to bus transit, 83 percent of bus riders said they were always or sometimes late due to delays. 

“Riders often stand and wait on the platform for a train without knowledge that there is an ongoing MTA issue that results to either no trains or delayed trains,” said one of the survey respondents.  “If and when speakers are being used for announcements, the message is either unclear or the speaker is not functioning properly to allow the message to be properly delivered. Proper communication with riders can allow for them to make alternative travel arrangements.”

Despite the reports of unreliable service, an 83 percent majority said they rely on public transit as their main form of transportation throughout the area. 

Some 80 percent of southern Brooklyn commuters said their work commutes were at least 45 minutes going one way while only 3.5 percent of respondents recorded commute times of less than 30 minutes, according to Gounardes’ report. 

Commuters from Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach have the longest travel times,  with 50 percent of respondents disclosing travel times of more than an hour — and all the area’s survey-takers said they had to make a transfer in order to reach their destination. 

When asked how to improve the area’s transit options, 45 percent of respondents said they would like to see more frequent service..

Included in Gounardes’ plan to address the issues raised by the southern Brooklyn commuters who responded to his survey are initiatives such as passing a senate bill that allows riders to vote for MTA board members, approve legislation to mandate the MTA meet accessibility goals, providing student discounts for express buses, and pushing for increased bus service in southern Brooklyn’s transit deserts.