Home New York City Transit Coming in December: Local overnight Q service

Coming in December: Local overnight Q service

by Benjamin Kabak

I am an ardent acolyte of the Q train. Although I sometimes have to wait a few minutes than I’d like on the way home, the Q offers a speedy ride through Manhattan and into Brooklyn. Mine is only the sixth stop, and despite a slow crawl over the bridge and through the De Kalb interlocking, on a good day, I’m off the train barely 20 minutes after stepping on.

For years, the Q trains have run express in Manhattan regardless of the hour, and the ride home is always fast. But for those who board at a local stop, the wait for an N train in the middle of the night can seem interminable. In December, to respond to changing travel patterns, all Q trains between the hours of midnight and 6:30 a.m. will run local, Transit announced this week. “We are constantly analyzing service and ridership trends in order to provide the best service possible to all of our customers at all hours,” New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco said in a statement. “As we saw increased ridership at local stations along the Broadway Line, it simply made sense to provide these customers with more service.”

According to the MTA, Transit’s Ops Planning Division looked at MetroCard swipes at local stations and found that overnight usage had increased by nearly 30 percent while express station usage had climbed by only 12 percent. Thus, Brooklyn-bound Q trains will switch from the express tracks to the local tracks south of 57th St., and the trains in both directions will stop at 49th, 28th, 23rd, 8th and Prince Sts.

For some riders, trips will be longer. The MTA alleges that customers at express stops will see average travel times increase by about one minute while customers at local stations will see average wait times cut in half and travel times reduced by six minutes. Overall, Transit estimates saving 6000 customer travel minutes per night. Though, I hope the local Q travels faster overnight than the local N train did at 6:30 yesterday. Even though dwell times weren’t extreme, the train seemed to crawl in between stations even with nothing in front of it.

According to the MTA, the service change does not require Board approval and will cost $73,000 a year. By December, only the D train and the 3 to Times Square will survive as Manhattan’s sole overnight express trains.

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Abba April 24, 2014 - 5:29 pm

And the F in Queens

Benjamin Kabak April 24, 2014 - 5:31 pm

The F in Queens isn’t one of Manhattan’s express lines though!

Tower18 April 24, 2014 - 7:21 pm

Seems like a worthwhile change actually. Even for people riding the full length (rides terminating at 57t/7th not super likely most of that time of night) you only lose a couple minutes. Overnight, people shouldn’t be thinking about express vs local, but rather “does this train go where I need to go?”

Abba April 24, 2014 - 11:32 pm

Right I saw that after I posted.It is though the only other express run at night anywhere I believe,

ajedrez April 24, 2014 - 11:43 pm

There’s the D from 145th to 59th, and the 3 from Times Square to 96th. (Plus, there’s the R shuttle which runs express from 59th to 36th, but that’s just a short run to make it easier to cross over to the other side).

akiva April 25, 2014 - 12:14 am

Yes, the f is the only other full time express, as it runs express on queens blvd, and the e runs local overnight

Kevin Walsh April 24, 2014 - 7:27 pm

Why not run more N trains and keep the Q’s express?

Sam April 24, 2014 - 7:33 pm

I think you forgot our lovely governor’s recent transit raids, giveaways to the parasitic unions, and toll bonanzas for the Staten Island motorists. You think that leaves any money to increase service on a line that has seen double-digit increases? (12 percent for the Q and 30 percent on the N, but thanks to Cuomo, no increased service frequency)

Keith Williams April 24, 2014 - 9:04 pm

Exactly, which is why this $73,000 expenditure is such a slap in the face to transit riders. Where is the fiscal responsibility, MTA? Open the books!


Jeff April 24, 2014 - 7:57 pm

Can we please get the overnight D to make local stops at 14th St & 23rd St in Manhattan? It is only two stops with switches at W 4th St and 34th St, so it shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive. I’ve always been surprised that they don’t make that service change overnight.

sonicboy678 April 25, 2014 - 2:11 am

I’m surprised they’re still pulling that crap at all (save for the 3 and R, which actually make sense with overnight express runs in general).

Tower18 April 25, 2014 - 11:49 am

I suspect it’s actually because of the switches that they don’t do this, since they’d have to switch back and forth (local tracks can’t access CPW branch).

ajedrez December 26, 2014 - 12:11 am

The thing is that the Q has to do the same thing, though (terminate at 57th Street, switch to the local, and then switch back to the express at Canal).


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