I don’t know what any of that means either. Or as my roomate said, “What the f***?” (Image courtesy of flickr user Plaid Ninja. Click on it for a bigger view.)
Currently, the 7 line is undergoing a massive reconstruction project. According to the WNBC report, the MTA is reconfiguring the tracks and upgrading switches from Times Square out to the heart of Queens. Because the 7 is the only line that runs from Manhattan to Flushing, it clearly inconveniences everyone who lives along this purple train.
Furthermore, I’m a firm believer in conspiracy theories. The MTA is doing the project now, in the cold of winter when no one wants to walk anywhere, because baseball season is around the corner. Imagine if tens of thousands of Mets fans could not get to Shea for opening weekend because of 7 line service shutdowns. Queens residents suffer now so baseball fans don’t have to suffer in April.
The litany of complains are quite familiar. Travel times are quadrupled; local businesses are feeling the pain; and everyone is pissed off. In fact, even City Council member Eric Giola participated in a rally protesting the service cuts. He called the shuttle bus service “insufficient and inconvenient.” You tell ’em, Eric.
Uncharacteristically, the MTA decided to listen to their riders’ complaints. How? By, um, telling people more frequently how to find some alternate route and, ah, making sure the employees are giving out the right information (which they were not last weekend). The Daily News reports on the new measures the MTA will take this weekend:
- Boosting the number of service-disruption announcements at stations and on subway trains.
- Putting more and better-informed Transit Authority personnel in stations to help lost and confused riders.
- Alerting riders that they can board No. 7 trains, and get off Manhattan-bound trains at the 69th St. and 61st St. stations. The TA has been telling riders that trains weren’t running between Times Square and 74th St./Broadway.
- Better publicize increased E and F train service on the affected weekends.
- Increasing the number of supervisors to improve coordination of TA efforts.
- Additional training and better info packets for bus drivers, station agents and other workers on the disruptions and travel options.
Pardon me if I’m a little skeptical, but doesn’t this seem like basic levels of customer service? Shouldn’t the MTA have made sure that its employees knew what was going on before the service cuts instead of after a debacle of a weekend? While Giola expressed his pleasure with the new customer service measures, I expect this weekend to be more of the same for those residents in Queens unlucky enough to live on the 7 line.
But don’t worry; baseball season is right around the corner.