Waitin’ around for an ‘F’-in train

By · Published in 2007

When last Captain Obvious paid us a visit two weeks ago, the good Captain noted that bus schedules around the city were wrong. Big surprise there.

Well, the Captain has returned this week. The story: Those subway schedules available on the MTA’s website aren’t too accurate either. Stop the presses.

In all seriousness, this news is hardly a shocker; the MTA’s schedules are notorious punchlines. But The Brooklyn Paper actually managed to turn this into an interesting story:

During the morning and evening rush, an F train is supposed to arrive every four to six minutes, according to MTA timetables. But a Brooklyn Paper reporter found that on most days, the gap is a lot longer.

A few minutes extra may not seem like a big deal, but a two-minute addition to the scheduled four-minute gap means that, on average, there are five fewer trains per hour — about 40 cars — than the schedule says there should be.

Since each car can hold 175 people, those extra five trains during the 8-9 am rush can carry up to 7,000 people.

Now, I live near that F train stop, but I never take it to work. I find the B/Q stop on the other side of the North Slope area to be much more reliable. I can take one of two trains into Manhattan during rush hour; the wait is never too long, and the trains, while crowded, aren’t jammed pack as the F train generally is.

But this overcrowding of the F train and the frequent delays are a cause for concern. Population, as the article notes, along the F train corridor has exploded since the MTA set the schedules a few years ago, and this boom shows no signs of slowing. These areas along the F train are among the strongest waves of gentrification into the heart of Brooklyn. This leaves the F, already ranked 11th out of 22 by the Straphangers Campaign, floundering a bit.

The Brooklyn Paper issues some sensible suggestions for expanding service along the F line. The MTA could extend V train service past 2nd Ave. in Manhattan; they could permanently extend the temporary G train extension to Church Ave.; or they could simply make sure the trains run on time.

The MTA, of course, says nothing is wrong with the current F train service, but maybe they should try waiting at 7th Ave. in Park Slope during the morning commute for a train.


  1. […] F train is too crowded; there’s no doubt about that. While we’re content to blame bad scheduling and […]

  2. […] F train is too crowded; there’s no doubt about that. While we’re content to blame bad scheduling and […]

  3. […] weeks ago, the F train came under attack from riders in Brooklyn who noticed fewer, more crowded trains. These riders, rightly so, were […]

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