They F’n did it!
After allegedly running a so-called “rogue” express F train for months through brownstone Brooklyn, transit honchos made the controversial service change official on July 10, instituting limited express service along the Manhattan- and Coney Island-bound line that will skip six stops from Cobble Hill to Windsor Terrace in an effort to shorten commutes for transit starved southern Brooklynites.
Beginning in September, four rush hour F trains — two Manhattan-bound trains in the morning, and two Coney Island-bound trains in the evening — would run daily between Jay Street-Metrotech and Church Avenue stations, stopping only at the Seventh Avenue station in between.
Six Brooklyn stops — Bergen Street, Carroll Street, Smith-Ninth Street, Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street, 15th Street-Prospect Park, and Fort Hamilton Parkway — will be skipped.
No new trains would be added under the current proposal — rather, four existing local trains would be recommissioned to run express.
Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), whose district encompasses all six stations slated to be skipped, blasted the Transit Authority for playing up a service cut as an enhancement.
“This plan adds no service whatsoever, it simply eliminates service at six local stations that are already experiencing over-crowding,” he said. “Despite the effort to dress this up as an improvement for some commuters, bypassing these stations amounts to cutting service for thousands of other riders.”
Lander — along with multiple other elected leaders, including state Sen. Brian Kavanagh (D–Cobble Hill) and Assemblyman Robert Carroll (D–Windsor Terrace) — signed a letter sent to the MTA in March, demanding answers to reports of F trains routinely skipping stops with no forewarning.
“We write to express the frustration of our constituents about ‘Rogue F Express’ trains, the increasingly frequent practice of F trains bypassing local stations,” read the letter. “Our constituents report missing their stops, waiting as trains pass them by, being late to work or home, and feeling immensely frustrated with erratic service.”
Kavanagh slammed the MTA’s decision to formalize the ‘rouge’ F and demanded guarantees that the new express service would not impose delays at skipped stops.
“It’s disappointing that the MTA has decided to reduce service to stations that thousands of New Yorkers use during peak hours,” he said in a statement. “We will be seeking assurances from the MTA that the scheduled reduction in frequency of local trains will not be compounded by routine disruptions in local service at stations on our communities.”
And after chastising the MTA for failing to consult local elected officials ahead of its decision, Carroll accused the Transit Authority of throwing his constituents under the rug.
“An F express train that creates winners and losers throughout my district, is not the kind of transit system that NYC deserves or needs,” he said.
The head of the MTA brushed off the criticisms, arguing that limited express service would provide overdue relief to southern Brooklyn F train riders who currently commute to Midtown Manhattan on the longest of stretch exclusively local service — 26 uninterrupted stops between Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue and Broadway-Lafayette Street stations — in the city.
“It will benefit thousands of commuters by getting them to their destinations faster instead of sitting waiting as their train makes all local stops,” Andy Byford said in a statement on Wednesday.
Freshman state Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D–Gravesend) praised the Authority, saying the six-stop reduction would make a huge difference for his constituents, who commute upwards of 50 minutes to Manhattan.
“I’m glad the MTA has finally said yes to the F train express, after many years of advocacy,” he said. “The new service will shave valuable time off of the commutes of tens of thousands of southern Brooklynites.”
The express trains will be marked with a diamond shaped logo, similar to other express-versions of local lines, when they go into service this fall, according to the MTA.