Reviving F express too costly, transit expert sez

Reviving F express too costly, transit expert sez
Waiting at the platform: Local F train riders may get screwed over if the transit authority decides to restore the F express service and doesn’t add more trains for the local line.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Reviving express F train service is a pipe dream, because the resurrected orange bullet would negatively impact other riders’ commutes or just plain cost too much, according to a former Transit Authority bookkeeper and regular F train rider.

The cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority doesn’t have the dough to run more trains on the line, so local riders would see fewer trains pulling up to their platforms, the transit wonk said.

“The problem with the F express is there’s a limited number of trains,” said Lawrence Littlefield of Windsor Terrace. “If some go express, then there are fewer trains and less service on local lines — unless you can increase the service. But the broader problem is the Metropolitan Transit Authority is broke.”

The F train used to run express to stops at Bergen Street, Church Avenue, Ditmars Avenue, Kings Highway, W. Eighth Street, and Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue, but the authority cut those services in the late 1970s to save itself money. The express tracks already exist, so restoring the service would not require significant construction, according to transit advocates and politicians pushing for the restoration.

Littlefield agrees that the effort to bring the service back would be minimal considering the infrastructure is already there — but there is just not enough funding in the authority’s budget to provide service for local and express F trains, he said.

The publicly-funded agency’s head has said the authority is dangerously close to running out of money if the state doesn’t hurry up and pass a budget that funds the agency’s $29 billion, five-year capital plan, Capital New York reported.

The transit authority is considering reviving the express F service. It finished a study on the matter last year, but is refusing to release it until its president signs off on the paper.

The authority declined to comment for this article until the sandbagged study eventually goes public.

“We will have more to say once the report is finalized,” spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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