The hop, skip, and jump it takes to transfer from the J or M at Lorimer to the G at Broadway will no longer set straphangers back $2.50 thanks to a temporary free transfer.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority introduced the measure to assuage the pain of riders on the G train, or as we like to call it, the Brooklyn Local, who will lose access to Queens for five weeks this summer while crews repair damage done to the tunnels under Newtown Creek by Hurricane Sandy. The implementation of the free swipe for the poor souls who have to schlep four blocks above ground to transfer shows how easy it is for the quasi-governmental agency to make the change and it should become permanent, a straphanger advocate opined.
“It will better connect the G train to the rest of the city,” said Tolani Adeboye, a member of the Riders Alliance who lives near the Myrtle–Willoughby G train station and often takes the J into Manhattan. “I hope the MTA decides to extend the transfer beyond the period of construction.”
The transfer will cost straphangers nothing between July 26 and Sept. 1, while the Queens connection is severed. Transit honchos estimate the stoppage will affect 55,000 straphangers who rely on the route.
The most-requested permanent above-ground transfers are the one between the two Williamsburg stations as well as one between the Fulton Street G station and Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center, according to a recent authority report on the Local.
It is New York City Transit policy to only implement free above-ground transfers to mitigate service changes and the only permanent one in the subway system is in Manhattan between the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street and Lexington Avenue–59th Street stations, the report states. The authors dismiss the notion of the Fort Greene transfer out of hand, saying that it takes seven minutes to walk, which is longer than any above-ground option available now, and that the concentration of bars, restaurants, and businesses in that part of Fort Greene would invite people to abuse the free transfer after stopping to down drinks and buy groceries.
Currently 2,300 people make the Williamsburg transfer per day, half of them with unlimited cards, meaning the agency would lose $700,000 annually from those who pay per ride if the shift was made for good, according to the report, a tiny fraction of the agency’s $8 billion estimated revenue for 2014.
Transit officials said they will also ease the summer G pain by adding more B32 buses if they are needed and delaying planned stoppages for maintenance on the J, M, and Z trains.