Local service from Shea nearly as painful as recent Yankee effortsBy
Once again, it’s time for three regular season baseball games in the middle of May to take on some grand importance as the New York sports media fawns all over this Grand Supreme Battle for New York.
And, boy, is the MTA proud of themselves for their Subway Series service. First, they released a press release proclaiming New York City Transit “set for the Subway Series.” Then Elliot Sander, the MTA CEO himself, penned a piece for Metro’s blog extolling the virtues of taking the train to Shea. Awww. How cute. A blog.
Now, my loyal readers know to take the subway to Shea. Why would you want to battle rush hour traffic only to find that you have to park at the Unisphere, 15 minutes away from the stadium, because the Mets are erecting a new stadium in their parking lot? With, as the MTA itself proclaims, 7 trains running every two to three minutes after the game, it’s easy in and easy out.
But there’s a catch. With the MTA, there’s always a catch. These trains, running from Willets Point to Times Square, will run local all the way to the wall. That means up to 19 stops of packed-subway bliss; that’s 19 potential stops riding next to vacant express tracks while no one gets on or off the train at 111th St., 103rd St, 82nd St, and so on.
Now, this all sounds like small beans, right? No express service. Cry me a river. Well, hold on. It takes around 30 minutes to get from Manhattan to Shea when the train runs express. But that local train takes 50 minutes to an hour depending on track congestion. Since nearly everyone on the 7 from Shea heads to Manhattan or Queensboro Plaza, why can’t every other train on the express tracks and make express stops?
Well, amNewYork’s Michael Clancy asked this exact question two weeks ago, and the answer is sure to inspire frustration and madness:
New York Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges said adding express service from games is easier said than done. Without increasing manpower and trains, wait times would increase on the local and express tracks, Fleuranges said. And with more people waiting to board the subway, crowded conditions would make it difficult for those trying to get to parking lots or the LIRR.
“We provide a very high level of service for Met and Yankee games,” Fleuranges said. “That’s a cost to us and we have to balance the needs of the entire system and weigh that against the needs of the entire system.”
COME ON, PAUL! The MTA is already expanding 7 service, and you would alleviate overcrowding on local trains by running express trains. Everyone destined for Queensboro Plaza or Manhattan would ride that express. Those folks bound for 74th St.-Broadway could take an empty local, and I know the platform wouldn’t be overcrowded. Problem solved.
So tonight, as your eyes start glazing over during the interminable local ride from Shea Stadium to Manhattan, just know there is no express service because the MTA is not creative. And that is just a sloppy excuse for poor post-game service.