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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority told Councilman Vincent Gentile to take a hike

Express denial: Transit Authority dismisses pol’s call for R Train audit, express service

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They told him to take a hike.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority won’t acquiesce to a Ridge councilman’s demands for better R Train service, but the spurned pol said the agency’s reasoning ran off the rails. Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) petitioned the authority for at least the third time this year to audit Bay Ridge’s only subway, which he and straphangers say is overcrowded, battered from age, and perpetually late. But the authority says it could cram another 67 people per car during morning rush hour before the trains hit capacity — a claim Gentile called bogus.

“When you talk about capacity from 95th Street to 59th Street — where riders can catch the first express — you’re packed like a sardine can,” he said. “By the time you get to 77th Street, the third stop going to the city, you can’t find a seat. So to tell me that we don’t have a capacity problem is nonsense.”

But Gentile’s proposed audit, which he said would identify inefficiencies and “force the authority to act” on them is not coming any time soon, according to transit spokesman Kevin Ortiz. The authority will instead audit some numbered subway lines in the near future, because it has audited five lettered lines since 2009, he said.

Gentile proposed a rush-hour express train from Brooklyn to Chambers Street and back, but the authority said fugheddaboudit. He’s also demanding countdown clocks and new public address systems in R stations, the latter of which Gentile said “sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher,” but the authority told him to keep wishing, instead responding that riders could access train-arrival information via smartphone apps sometime in the next few years.

Ortiz acknowledged that the train cars on the R line were old — they’ll collectively celebrate their 40th birthdays in 2016 — but said they continue to “provide reliable service” and that new ones will not come until after the authority finishes installing a computer signal system along the R in Queens sometime in the “early 2020s.”

Gentile hopes his squeaky wheel will get the grease, but the authority hasn’t doled out much oil. The pol sent the authority a letter in January demanding an audit, but the agency shot back an Orwellian reply that it would make the trains run on time by adjusting the schedules. He held a rally over the summer calling for an audit when the authority found $1 billion in additional revenue, but the agency denied him then, too. Now they’re telling him an audit isn’t in the cards — let alone new trains or an express service.

Bay Ridgites living and working along Fourth Avenue should, however, be enjoying quieter trains and less vibrations — the authority replaced tracks and ties with newer, less rattle-prone ones in October after complaints from Gentile and the community board.

Still, the only thing reliable about the R train is its unreliability, said Lisa Levy, a member of the Riders Alliance commuter advocacy group who spoke at the rally.

“Often I’ll be on the R train on my way to work when the train’s route changes, which means I have to double back and add 30 minutes to my commute,” she said.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

MJ from Bay Ridge says:
With the reopening of World Trade Center, the MTA should consider reopen the route connects Chamber Street to Brooklyn. This old weekday M-line, which ended at 9 AV station in Brooklyn, can be reroute to 95 Street Bay Ridge station.
Dec. 16, 2015, 9:13 am
Ferken Derya from Bk says:
Service was better when the R only went to Court St when the tunnel was being repaired. Then the trains had no place to disappear to.
Dec. 16, 2015, 5:27 pm
jay from nyc says:
MTA is not accountable to anyone, and until that changes then nothing else about the MTA will change. This episode proves it.
Gentile should have his own people do their own audit of the MTA and make the findings public at a public hearing and then the MTA explain it at those public hearings, and then post the hearing footage of the MTA bozos drooling on themselves online.
Someone could get themselves elected mayor if they take down the MTA. Its a bad horrible no good agency that the majority of new yorkers are stuck having to use and are sick of it.
Dec. 16, 2015, 9:03 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
So if people are crowded from 77th to 59th where they transfer to the N, how does that justify additional trains? I know from experience that seats are usually available after 59th. He should spend his energies on getting elevators put in the 59th (and 36th) Street stations. I understand that one is now planned for 86th Street.
Dec. 16, 2015, 10:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I highly doubt that an idea such as Move NY would help considering the way the MTA is spending all the revenue sources they have now and how unlikely they will change it even if it does get passed, plus most of the supporters of that plan don't even drive on a normal basis to begin with, which doesn't come at a surprise to me.
Dec. 17, 2015, 3:54 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Southside, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
Tal, one major question: After NYS agreed to pay $8B for the current MTA Capital Plan, how do they pay for it, besides the Move NY plan? Through higher fares and tolls? Through higher taxes? Through increased borrowing, which leads to further fare and toll hikes? Let's find out what Governor Cuomo will say during the 2016 State of the State Address when he released his proposed, executive budget.
Several comments after I read your response Tal:
1) On the top of the $8B that NYS will agree to pay towards the MTA Capital Plan in Downstate New York, the people in Upstate New York wanted $8B for critical bridge and road repair in their area, which is a major issue.
2) Governor Cuomo have plenty of transportation projects in his watch and he is trying to find certain funding resources to fund these projects, in order to be competitive with the rest of the world, such as: a) $8B for the MTA Capital Plan, $4B for the New LaGuardia Airport, $4B for the New Tappen Zee Bridge, $1B for the New Redevelopment in and around Penn Station and $5B for the New Hudson River Tunnels as the part of the Gateway Project. That's a grand total of at least $22B.
3) In terms of Move NY, despite I am highly skeptical of this, oppose it you want, but the advocates are making this a bill before the NYS Legislature next year. This is a democratic society and the majority rules while they wanted change for the future.
4) Sometimes, we have to take necessary risks that we do not like, in order to be successful in the long run.
5) Keep in mind that we are not going back to the beginnings of NIMBYism during the mid 1970s, thanks to both the NYC and the NYS fiscal crises, especially in Queens, where it all began. The reason why is because they do not want to lose their own property due to these have great financial value to them.
6) In terms of the MTA, criticize them all they want as the "Money Thieving Agency," but they learned from their own mistakes, especially after the Great Recession. They have an audit committee, a finance committee, and several independent watchdog groups, in order to check their own finances on both their own operating budget and their own capital monthly.
7) Finally, in terms of protecting their own finances such as fare evasion, the MTA should invest putting CCTV Surveillance Cameras on every single subway entrance with a low turnstile while the station agent is not present, as well as hire more transit police officers and Eagle Team members, in irder to deter fare evasion on subways, buses and commuter rail.
Dec. 18, 2015, 1:12 pm
Jackie from Bay Ridge says:
The R has been the slowest train in the city for ever and Gentile just noticed.
Dec. 19, 2015, 1:16 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
It is not slow. It is a local and therefore makes a lot of stops but they are short stops. It actually gets in and out of each station quickly.
Dec. 19, 2015, 1:57 pm
DoubleK from Bay Ridge says:
The story fails to mention that unless the R switches to 8 car, 60 foot per car trains, there can be no service to Chambers. The current fleet on the R consists of mainly 8 car, 75 foot per car trains which are too long for the run from Broad St to Chambers St. They do not fit in the stations, nor can they manage the curves.
Shorter trains would defeat the purpose.
I would love to see R service improve in Bay Ridge, but Gentile should do his homework before proposing the near-impossible.
Dec. 20, 2015, 3:46 pm
Dj Hammers from Djhammerstrains@gmail.com says:
Gentile needs to know what to ask for. Instead of begging for an operationally difficult R to chambers, he needs to ask for a J/Z extension to Brooklyn during rush hours.
Dec. 20, 2015, 11:48 pm
Nancy from Sunset Park says:
The MTA is to busy taking care of there top babies Long Island RR & Metro North commuter RR. NYC Transit is always a second thought.
July 13, 2016, 3:34 pm

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