Straphangers F-reak out over rush-hour trains skipping express stops • Brooklyn Paper

Straphangers F-reak out over rush-hour trains skipping express stops

Revealed: The F train is the most delayed ride, according to a new report by the Straphangers Campaign.
Photo by Tom Callan

Call it a dangerous side F-ect.

F trains are skipping stops in Gowanus and Carroll Gardens during the morning rush this month due to maintenance work, giving local straphangers an unwelcome preview of what life will be like if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority goes ahead with its proposed express service on the line.

And the experience has just proven their worst fears that the change will turn the spurned stations into sardine cans, the peeved riders report.

“It’s dangerous, the platform is extremely crowded,” said Carroll Gardens resident Carola Cassaro, who uses Carroll Street station. “Seeing multiple trains go by in those conditions is obviously pretty frustrating.”

Seven Manhattan-bound Fs per hour are blowing the Carroll, Bergen, and Smith-Ninth stops between 7–9 am and 3:15–5:30 pm through Jan. 27.

The permanent express service, which the transit authority is considering introducing in the fall, will see 10 orange bullets per hour whiz by those stops — plus the Fourth Avenue, 15th Street, and Fort Hamilton Parkway stations — heading towards Manhattan in the morning and back to Brooklyn in the evening.

The state-run agency blindsided riders last year when it released a report endorsing the speedy service as a way to shorten commutes for Southern Brooklynites, even though it also found the change will halve service at the six skipped stops, “inconveniencing” 51 percent of riders and creating bottlenecks at Bergen and Carroll streets stations especially.

Transit officials then insisted they wouldn’t actually go ahead without first consulting the community, but now commuters say they’ve lost faith in the agency and many are suspicious the current service changes aren’t actually just a way to secretly test out the F express.

“We’ve been screwed before and it’s understandable that we’re taking this all with a grain of salt,” said Carroll Gardener Erin Lippincott, who started an online petition against the express and has collected almost 4,000 signatures. “Even if we take the MTA at its word and this is temporary, it just shows what’s going to happen if there are any cuts.”

The transit agency didn’t respond to this paper’s queries about what’s going on, but both Councilman Brad Lander (D–Cobble Hill) and state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Carroll Gardens) say agency honchos told them the changes really are because of signal work — and they believe them.

Still, Lander says he gets why people would be worried the authority is being shady.

“It’s very difficult to have any trust or confidence in the MTA on this issue,” said Lander, who is a vocal opponent of the F express plan in its current form. “I don’t have it and I’m not asking anyone else to have it.”

The express proposal remains just that for now, spokesman Kevin Ortiz told this paper last month, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board hasn’t actually approved the plan.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Packing them in: Commuters squeeze onto the Carroll Street platform waiting for an F train to stop.
Lesley Grossman

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