Home Asides The C Train blues

The C Train blues

by Benjamin Kabak

With apologies to Duke Ellington for the headline, it seems as though some Transit riders were stymied by the MTA’s last-minute IND midweek service changes. When the snows came last week, Transit had to postpone a major service change along the Central Park West lines north of 59th St., and after a three-day weekend, the agency decided to announce the changes late on Monday afternoon. Despite getting the word out to news outlets throughout the city, the Daily News notes that many C train riders simply didn’t get the message.

According to Kate Nocera and Pete Donohue, Transit workers manning the system on Tuesday weren’t prepared for widespread ignorance of the last-minute change. Signs on the platforms did not reflect the temporary service patterns, and major stations did not feature additional MTA personnel instructing straphangers of the changes. Conductors on some E trains made announcements but not, says the Daily News, at stations where riders would usually be able to transfer to the C. As a result, many riders were simply unaware of the problems they would face.

What is comforting, though, is Transit’s willingness to accept responsibility for the lack of information. In an era in which Jay Walder, the new CEO and Chair, has pushed for transparency and accountability, Transit took the blame. “This was a last minute addition to the diversion schedule but there’s no excuse for not having the proper information out at affected stations,” agency spokesman Paul Fleuranges said. “We can and should do better and we will.” Fleuranges’ statement doesn’t get at the fact that people in the subways often simply disregard the signs even when they’re up, but that’s a topic for another day.

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Kevin February 18, 2010 - 1:18 pm

The TA should absolutely have made a much better effort in getting the word out on such a major service change. Some of the blame should go to conductors on the C/E, who should’ve made a better effort in relaying the lack of uptown C service.

But then again, people in this city are just ignorant of all things around them, even when others are yelling it in their face. They just puff up and get angry at the MTA after the fact so they can soothe their dented egos.

Bobby February 18, 2010 - 4:43 pm

I agree with Kevin, really wish TA had managed to get the word out a bit better.

Andrew February 18, 2010 - 8:35 pm

I think the problem is that this was rescheduled on somewhat short notice, and I guess the public information didn’t get out in time.

But this is hardly a major service change – a local is going express and an express is going local – and I doubt many people were “stymied.” Of course, the Daily News went out of its way to find a few people who were. Nothing new there.

The flip side of this service change – southbound C’s went express, southbound D’s went local – was in effect for a week a few months ago. And a few years back, another switch replacement project (at 59th St., I think) had the same two service changes as well, I think for several weeks each. Where was the hue and cry then?


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