Home View from Underground Dispatches from the M: Sixth Ave. Sagas

Dispatches from the M: Sixth Ave. Sagas

by Benjamin Kabak

The MTA reactivated the Chystie St. Cut earlier this week when service changes forced the M up Sixth Ave. to replace the V train. While commuters along 4th Ave. in Brooklyn have found R trains more crowded, others in north Brooklyn and parts of Queens are enjoying an easier trip to Midtown. Today, I have a guest post from Jowy Romano of the Subway Art Blog about the way the service changes are impacting his ride to work for the better. It hasn’t been the smoothest of sailing yet this week, but for many in fast-growing areas of Brooklyn, this service change is a welcome one.

When the MTA announced its doomsday service cuts, unlike most straphangers, I was actually excited about them. The revamped M train was to replace the V train in Manhattan. This would affect my commute significantly, since I normally take the J train into Manhattan and transfer to the F train at Essex Street / Delancey Street. The changes would create a new line that I could take all the way to work at 23rd Street and would give me time to sit and read on my commute rather than having to worry about transferring halfway through.

Naturally, I decided to experiment with the M train for the first time on D-Day. When my usual J train pulled through Myrtle Avenue – Broadway, I let it pass and hopped on the M train that arrived on the adjacent track. I knew that this would be a bit of a risk, considering the M train is local in Brooklyn and might get me to work late. Of course, the first thing it did was spend the next five minutes idling in the station.

The rest of the ride in Brooklyn was relatively smooth until it got to the Williamsburg Bridge, where it crawled into the Essex Street station and took another few minutes waiting for the track switch into the Chrystie Street cut. It stopped again at the track switch onto the Sixth Avenue line before pulling into Broadway – Lafayette. I finally arrived at work with one minute to spare (the J and F train combination gets me to work 10 minutes early).

At the end of the day, I decided to give the M another chance. I waited at 23rd Street station and watched four F trains pass by before the M came. It was crowded when I got on, but at the next stop it cleared out enough for me to get a seat. I would have pulled out a book, but I was too busy watching people’s reactions to the new train route. I would have expected to see a few people curse and walk off the train at Broadway – Lafayette due to the announcement the train would not stop at Second Avenue, but no one did—the MTA did a pretty good job of posting advisories about the change.

At Essex, the M pulled into the second Brooklyn-bound track, which was unexpected because that track is normally only used when there are service changes. This solves the problem of the track switch-related delays that I experienced on my way to work that morning, but in that direction only (there is only one Manhattan-bound track at Essex). The rest of the ride was fairly smooth, so I decided I would get up a little earlier the next day and give the M another shot.

I figured I wouldn’t learn much more about the new line on my third trip, but I was wrong. My old pal the J train got rerouted back towards Queens after getting to Myrtle Avenue due to some delays, giving me more reason to take the M again. Five minutes later, I hopped on and was feeling pretty good until the train reached the Williamsburg Bridge. The conductor announced that a smoke condition at Broadway – Lafayette was causing the delays. We were stuck on the bridge for about 25 minutes. It was with all this time to think that I realized a potential problem with the new M—the JMZ line will now be affected when the Sixth Avenue line is delayed.

We finally reached Essex Street, which was in a state of utter chaos. The platforms were packed with confused people and at least 15 MTA employees in vests were directing people, some of them giving misinformation. Ironically, the M train I was on ended up being rerouted back onto its old route, which loops back to Brooklyn towards Bay Parkway. Yes, that’s right—it missed its old line and could not be without it for more than two days.

So I switched to the F train, which very slowly made its way to 23rd Street. I was 25 minutes late to work.

The new M clearly has a lot of problems, some of which will be easy to iron out over time, others that will probably never be addressed. Barring any more unforeseen “smoke conditions,” I think I will continue to take it. Being able to avoid the Essex / Delancey transfer is priceless and, with any luck, I’ll even get some extra time to sit and read during my commute.

Jowy Romano is the editor of the Subway Art Blog, a site that focuses on sign manipulation and other forms of subversive art found underground.

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AlexB July 1, 2010 - 1:49 pm

My preferred subway station for my commute is the Steinway stop on the Queens Blvd local. It used to be served by the R and V, now it’s the R and M. I was excited by the change, because it basically represented an extension of the V. On Tuesday, The R pulled up too packed to get on, which never happens. I asked the conductor if the M was running and he said yes. I assumed I wouldn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes or so for an M.

Something was obviously wrong as two E train then passed by without opening their doors. Finally, 15 minutes after the first R, another R showed up. It was packed too, but I was able to squeeze on. I saw M trains on the Forest Hills bound platform, but nothing showed up on the Manhattan bound side while I was waiting. It was frustrating, because I’ve been looking forward to be able to ride the M, if only because it’s semi-new and different. I wonder if these problems were related to the same fire at Bway Lafayette. It sounds like my problem wasn’t as bad as Jowy’s.

This kind of thing shouldn’t be so hard to implement. I don’t know if the Chrystie St tracks are just not used to this routing or what. Similarly to the problems with (not) letting “customers” know about changes to bus routes, the MTA has had months to prepare for these changes.

These changes, when they happen, should have been seamless and problem free.

Brian July 1, 2010 - 2:25 pm

“These changes, when they happen, should have been seamless and problem free.”

There is nothing the MTA could do to make the new M a seamless operation. Having witnessed the problems the Queens Blvd line faces everyday, those M riders aren’t going to be happy everytime service is cut back to say Chambers or Broad St. In the end, M riders are going to hate the Orange M that will eventually force the TA to bring back the Brown M. What will you prefer, a less delayed prone line (Brown M) vs. a delayed prone line (Orange M)? Pick your poison.

Jowy Romano July 1, 2010 - 3:20 pm

If it was on Tuesday morning, it was definitely due to that track fire at Broadway-Lafayette. Apparently there were some signal problems on other lines at the same time. The entire system was screwed up for a couple hours.

Kevin July 1, 2010 - 1:57 pm

It seems that even though the M is being routed onto busier corridors (Sixth Ave & Queens Blvd), they are not providing more M trains on its new route. That is not a good thing!

Brian July 1, 2010 - 2:15 pm

That is where the TA is a fault with the Orange M. Why would you cause a huge inconvenience to those who use the Queens Blvd and 6th Avenue lines on a daily basis? In addition, you CAN’T add extra service to the M line for two factors, 1)The Willamsburg Bridge, & 2)J riders will complain if they have to wait longer. When the V line was in use, you didn’t have those problems in place. The one thing the Orange M won’t do is help back up the E and F lines. Since this Orange M is in place and when E and F service screws up, expect E and F riders to complain. Believe me, the Queens Blvd line screws up everyday. That is one factor why this service pattern won’t last long.

Benjamin Kabak July 1, 2010 - 2:17 pm

I think you’re missing something though. This is a service cut, and the point of a service cut is to reduce the number of trains running. People are going to be inconvenienced. Even if the Middle Village-to-Midtown route makes sense, the TA is still knowingly offering less service than they were a week ago.

Brian July 1, 2010 - 2:30 pm

Service cut or not, you can’t reduce the amount of trains running in a given sector such as Queens Boulevard. Its like saying reducing the amount of trains on the 4. Since Queens Boulevard is a very buzy part of this system, you can’t offer them reduced service. If 21st St-Queensbridge was still a terminal, the Orange M could have been justified. Since the M is now running along the QBL, those riders won’t be too pleased. Espectially E and F riders.

Edward July 2, 2010 - 11:49 am

“Service cut or not, you can’t reduce the amount of trains running in a given sector such as Queens Boulevard.”

They just did. You’re totally missing Ben’s point. This isn’t a change in service to add more trains to Queens Blvd or Sixth Ave, this is a service cut to save money by consolidating two trains (V,M) into one train. It’s the same thing with bus routes. The MTA is crying poormouth (justified or not), and they are expecting you to stand on more crowded trains and/or wait longer for bus and subway service. Most of these cuts were NOT made with the rider in mind, but rather to save money.

Justin Samuels July 2, 2010 - 1:28 pm

In 2001, I recall when the G was cut back to Court Square officially. People yowled that it was never going to turn around at Queens Plaza, and that it rarely went down Queens Boulevard. Yet the MTA ignored the public on that. As I said, what is a disgrunted person going to do? Drive to work, or walk? The MTA have you and they know it.

Since I was born in the 70s, the MTA always changes routes, the public always complains, yet they all have no choice but to adapt to what the MTA does. Once upon a time, the E went through Manhattan into brooklyn on the Fulton Street line and back to Queens on the Rockaways. It actually did this for decades until 1976, when the MTA eliminated it. Where there people who complained? I’m sure. But its gone.

Queens Boulevard had a local train called the EE which went from 71-Continental Avenues to White Hall Street in Manhattan. That was also canceled, when they decided to merge it with the N, which used to go from 57th street to Coney Island. So the new N went to Forest Hills. There would have been those who hated that. But they had no choice to deal with it.

And of course, a lot of old timers hated the F being switched to the 63 street tunnel. Not that the MTA cared at all, because this is a heavily used connection.

The MTA makes its decisions based on what the ridership does/service patterns and on how much money they have. Not because some people complained about this route or that route.

Jerry July 2, 2010 - 3:25 pm

Another reason that a lot of people were mad over the F train being changed to the 63rd St. tunnel was that the transfer to and from the #6 at Lexington Ave. was no longer available.
I remember when they first built that pedestrian tunnel from 52nd St. to 53rd St. along Lexington Ave.
Like everybody was saying, “It should have been done years before, and now they’re finally doing it”.

Then, all the sudden, they rerouted the F and it went back to being impossible to change between the F and the #6 without going up to the street and walking to the other station.

Brian July 2, 2010 - 3:30 pm

“It should have been done years before, and now they’re finally doing it.”

The same sentiment is happening with the uptown 6 connector at Bleecker St. The ones who complained about the F line being routed over to 63rd St were Brooklyn F riders.

Jerrold July 2, 2010 - 5:46 pm

I can remember when they were building the pedestrian tunnel along Bryant Park, for the connection between the #7 and the Sixth Ave./42nd St. station, and that was also in the “should have been done years before” category.
I believe it was in the fall of 1969, because I remember a certain Vietnam War protest demonstration taking place in Bryant Park at that time.

Brian July 2, 2010 - 3:28 pm

How is the TA saving money when service cuts makes the system less attractive to ride? I know several people who had enough of the MTA and they later purchased cars to get to their destinations. With subway routes, combining isn’t the most viable option. With the Orange M, the second service fouls up on either the 6th Ave and QBL, the J line is affected as a result. Go ask anybody who takes the E/F/J/R on a daily basis on why the Orange M is detrimental to the system. If M riders really wanted “direct” Midtown service, then they should have created a bus route that caters to them.

Benjamin Kabak July 2, 2010 - 6:37 pm

I know several people who had enough of the MTA and they later purchased cars to get to their destinations.

I highly doubt you know “several” people who have done that. Maybe you know one and others like to complain, but when you start factoring in parking, gas, insurance and car maintenance along with the NYC area’s crippling traffic, it’s a no-brainer to leave the car at home.

As for ridership declines brought on by the service cuts, the MTA has figured that into their savings. It’s not negligible, but it doesn’t make much of an impact.

Brian July 2, 2010 - 9:34 pm

In this day in age, the MTA seems to be highly encouraging people to ditch riding buses and trains and ride cars instead. I could point out everything that’s wrong with mass transit in this city but I’m not going to waste my time doing so.

If the TA want’s to lose more money, more power to them.

Alex Engel July 4, 2010 - 2:29 am

I don’t think you understand. The TA (MTA) does not want to make these cuts, they have to in order to have a balanced budget (required by law). If you want mass transit to be promoted through service/fares, it must be done on the on the political level by those who decide funding for the system. Not the MTA itself.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 4:27 pm

Budget cuts or not, the existence of the Orange M wasn’t needed. If the TA wanted to save money all they had to do was adjust the headways on the V during middays, end service earlier on the B & V, make the M line a 27/7 shuttle line. The MTA is at more to blame because none of the board members were aggressively pushing for more funding. I for one think its time to resurrect congestion pricing.

John Paul N. July 4, 2010 - 9:27 pm

What difference would the board have made in pushing for congestion pricing? They are also appointed politically from the governor, the mayor, etc.

Andrew July 2, 2010 - 6:49 pm

Aside from being 20% shorter, how is today’s M any different from last week’s V from the Queens Blvd. perspective?

Leroy July 2, 2010 - 9:59 pm

The fact that the (M) train is shorter and is running on a busy corridor of the New York City Subway (one station in particular being Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street) is making the other lines prone to delays. If the train was longer then that’d be a different story. Having eight car trains run along Queens Boulevard stations is like having ten-car trains run on the (7)…it does not justify ridership needs!!!

Alon Levy July 3, 2010 - 3:08 pm

Could you explain more why a ten-car train would be great but an eight-car train is horrible? Since the QB local line is not at capacity, it’s weird that small changes in capacity would make such a huge difference.

Brian July 3, 2010 - 7:17 pm

You need a 10-car train along the Queens Blvd Lcl in case if something happens on the E and F lines. You need to use every available car possible. An 8-car train can’t accomplish this need.

Alon Levy July 4, 2010 - 8:29 am

You’ve not only not explained why 8 vs. 10 is such a big deal, but also introduced another factor, namely something going wrong on the E/F. It’s almost always cheaper to make sure things don’t go wrong than to plan expensive contingencies in case they do.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 4:32 pm

The amount of cars in a given set can make a huge difference. The C line is a perfect example. The C is the only non Eastern Division line that runs 8-car 60 foot trains. The reason the C can get packed is due to the lengh of the train. If it ran a 10-car set of 60 foot cars, the crowds can be more evenly spread out. Having witnessed the conditions first-hand along the QBL, the E & F lines need as much help as they can. Running 8-car 60 foot trains isn’t a viable option because you need more space to fit additional passengers.

Alon Levy July 4, 2010 - 7:16 pm

You’re still ignoring the fact that the V was never at capacity. The Straphangers report had it at 49% of passengers having seats, above system average and well above QB average. As a QB express reliever, the M works as well as the V. Where the M is better is as a Canarsie Line reliever.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 7:44 pm

I want proof whether or not the Orange M *could* help out the L line. Does it ever occur to you that the busier stations on the L line is west of Myrtle-Wyckoff. I tend not to believe the Straphangers Campaign because their numbers can be cooked up. I have spoken to several people who live along the Queens Boulevard corridor and they are against the M line running through there. In addition, I know several individuals who study ridership patterns and the overall road conditions. Somebody I know mentioned to me that the M has made Queens Blvd WORSE. Tthe V would get better use if it ran to either Church Ave or Kings Hwy. If you did not read the MTA’s report on the F line from last year, it did note a possible extension to South Brooklyn. Believe me, the F line is 100x worse then the L line.

John Paul N. July 4, 2010 - 10:14 pm

If you read my comments on previous posts of this blog, Brian, you will find out that I live in Bushwick where I have a lot of familiarity with the L and M. I am not a huge supporter of the M and V combination, but under the given financial circumstances, it was the right decision. Don’t forget that the M also gives J/Z riders another option to Midtown.

I do believe the M as a reliever for the L is overstated because there is not much catchment overlap between the lines and the L simply has better connections and is quicker to 14th Street. Many people do still use the Myrtle-Wyckoff transfer, but if I read an anecdote that more people are staying on the M to go to Manhattan, I would say that the reliever works. (Fewer people on the L at that point means more space for passengers on stations to the west.) The M does relieve the Delancey-Essex transfer, which is not trivial, and thus should also relieve the F in that area.

As for Queens Boulevard, I agree with you only to the extent that many more people are forced to stand than sit, due to fewer available seats, and thus the passenger flow in the subway cars can get tedious. Otherwise, if the capacity of the M is full, this is worse than what, not at capacity V trains or the G train? (If more R trains can be scheduled for Queens Blvd. and Brooklyn, that should also affect the capacity of the M.)

Alon Levy July 5, 2010 - 11:58 am

Straphangers cribs the numbers from the Hub Bound figures; the only number in the entire Straphangers report that isn’t sourced to an official city organ is crowding on the G, for which they sometimes do their own counts.

I don’t need to believe you or not believe you. There are two possibilities here. Option one: the anecdotes you know of are data, and the MTA and the city have both been lying for years about comparative crowding levels on the L and F. Option two: the plural of anecdote isn’t data.

The J/M/Z serves Williamsburg not much worse than the L, and with the M/V combo, it has better connections to Midtown than the L. The short spacing of NYCT subway stops means that in the inner-urban part of the network people can usually choose more than one line.

John Paul N. July 6, 2010 - 11:55 am

Alon, my comment was directed more to Brian, but I could see how it was directed to you as well. To be clear, the anecdotes I am referring to are from comments on this blog (about more people staying on the M to go to Manhattan), not empirical evidence which are likely more accessible to you. The same goes for the Queens Blvd. corridor where I don’t doubt you. The “better connections,” well, that is based on the transfers along 14th Street as a consequence of comparative access to 14th Street, but yes, I’ll concede there are some better choices with the M in Midtown. If my comments sounded combative, they are not intended to be and I don’t want them to be.

John Paul N. July 4, 2010 - 9:22 pm

More often than not, it’s the illusion of a packed train. People tend to (a) go to the car that leads them closest to the exit at their destination station and (b) crowd at the ends of the train when the train length is shorter than the platform length. (a) is the biggest factor because some lines tend to have the main exits at only one end of a platform, either the rear or the front. I agree people will not go from one end of the platform to the other to find a seat or place to stand. People also tend to be stubborn in selecting which car to board, myself included. Therefore, the MTA should study where people board and detrain in each station in order to provide suggestions for better passenger traffic flow in trains and stations.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 10:02 pm

While I can see what you are coming from but there is little the TA can do to tell people to spread out along a station platform. People have to learn how to do that on their accord. A good example is suppose you are at 28th St on the 6 and your destination is Spring St. Your best option is to be in the middle and make your way out from there.

I suppose the TA can make an effort to convince commuters to spread out as opposed to crowding one section of the car. That is an excellent way to maximize loading guidelines.

John Paul N. July 4, 2010 - 10:30 pm

But obviously, following your example of the 6 southbound, south of 14th, except for BB-CH, the station exits are at the ends of the platforms, the north end is the most common. People’s tolerance for comfort is usually outweighed by the need to get to places quickly, including deboarding a train and exiting the station quickly. Mobile apps, like the one that says where the exits from the stations are, will do nothing to alleviate the mentality of board a train, get out as soon as possible at all costs.

kvnbklyn July 1, 2010 - 2:07 pm

I was on the F coming from Bergen Street in Brooklyn on Tuesday and it was incredibly slow. No one could understand the garbled announcements, but the only thing I was sure I heard was “Broadway-Lafayette”. I eventually abandoned the F at 2 Av and walked over to the 6 at Bleecker to get me the rest of the way to Midtown. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to get to work compared to the usual 30-35 minutes.

This morning there had been no F train for quite a while when I got to the station as demonstrated by the unusually large amount of people on the platform. However, I squeezed on and the train moved its normal speed. Hopefully the new M routing isn’t f’ing up the F.

On a side note: Anyone know why the F no longer skips stops to get back on schedule (which used to happen quite frequently before about a year or so ago)?

Al D July 1, 2010 - 2:33 pm

Yes, there was an extensive study of the F a year or so ago at the request of Daniel Squadron I believe to recommend changes to the F to minimize delays. 1 outcome was to no longer skip stops to make up for time on the outbound trips.

JP July 1, 2010 - 9:12 pm

The F skipped stops outbound tuesday night, making up for lost time

Al D July 1, 2010 - 2:36 pm

I’ve stayed away from the M all week so far after lengthy commutes both directions on Doomsday Day 1 as Ben calls it. So far, my ‘regular’ commutes (I have 2 regular commutes mapped out, a primary and a secondary) requiring changes of trains have proven much faster. I am curious though to see what the M Midtown is like on an ‘ordinary’ day, so I’ll try a few more times in the coming weeks.

Brian July 5, 2010 - 1:18 am

Service is NEVER ordinary along 6th Ave as well as Queens Blvd.

Kid Twist July 1, 2010 - 2:37 pm

I like the new M because I think it makes sense to have a connection from the Eastern Division to Midtown, and because it’s better to through-route trains than to run dead-end routes like the V.

But it’s got to be a scheduling and operational hassle. The M shares a track with the R under Queens Boulevard, merges with the E in Long Island City, merges with the F at Rockefeller Center and merges again with the J at Essex. That creates the potential for conflicts and delays all along the route. I’d be shocked if any rush-hour M train ever makes it from terminal to terminal without being stopped between stations at least a couple of times.

I took an M at about 9 yesterday morning from Lexington Avenue to 42nd Street and crawled most of the way behind an F train.

Brian July 1, 2010 - 2:45 pm

The way I see it is the E, F, J & R lines will always have priorty over the M. There is nothing M riders can do to change that. That’s why the original 6th Ave/Nassau service wasn’t a popular route.

Ron July 1, 2010 - 3:41 pm

Unless they treat the M like the V, which seemingly had priority over everything.

AlexB July 2, 2010 - 10:00 am

Everytime the V and E pulled up at Queens Plaza, the E always left first, even if the V pulled up before the E. After the 5th Ave stop, the V always waited for the F to cross in front of it to 6th. The only reason the V was ever on time at all was because it had a relatively short route.

Brian July 2, 2010 - 4:30 pm

Accoring to the the MTA, the V line was one of the most realiable lines in the system. Does that explain another reason the V line shouldn’t have been cut? It sure does.

Benjamin Kabak July 2, 2010 - 6:38 pm

Why are you so hung up on labeling? The V line wasn’t really cut; it was just turned into the M and extended into Middle Village. The M runs at the same frequency and for the same hours the V ran. Neither will be more or less reliable than the other once the initial kinks of using the Chrystie St. Cut are ironed out.

Brian July 2, 2010 - 9:30 pm

Technically the V line was cut. Sure the Orange M makes the same stops as the V starting from B’Way-Lafayette to 71st Ave, but that isn’t the entire V line right there. Aren’t you and everybody else forgetting 2nd Avenue? I’d think so. The kinks ironed out? How funny because service in this system is never ironed out. There will always be problems in the system such at sick passengers, rail conditions, smoke conditions, 12-9’s, etc. If you or anybody would look at the system from a day-to-day operations prospective, then you’ll realize what actually goes down in the subway. One more thing, I don’t understand why people are justifying a service cut.

Alex Engel July 4, 2010 - 2:33 am

I don’t think anyone here likes having a service cut. I think everyone here knows who to blame for it (politicians funding the MTA) and who not to blame (the MTA). The new train service was actually to be called the V, but riders protested and so the MTA changed its name to the M. So, if you prefer, keep calling it the V – the current plans actually used that name originally.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 5:35 pm

Regardless if they would have kept the V designation, they were better off leaving the V line as is.

John Paul N. July 4, 2010 - 9:04 pm

It’s only the first week of service changes, there is no need to make such an assumption this early. The M does have a high number of track merges with other lines compared to other routes, but that can be corrected with schedule tweaking. When all is said and done, once there is enough experience on the current M route, say by the fall, service should be smoother. If not, then you have every right to complain.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 11:23 pm

Do you think the TA ironed out the kinks with the V line during its existence? Not at all. You can tweak the schedule all you want but its not going to make a significant difference. Subway service along Queens Blvd is NEVER smooth. Ask anybody that lives along the line from 36th St to Jamaica-179 & Jamaica Center.

Jowy Romano July 1, 2010 - 3:28 pm

The only time I’ve ever taken the M when it didn’t crawl was in the evening a few nights ago. When it works, it’s a pleasure.

Leroy July 5, 2010 - 9:00 am

It is NOT better to through-route trains all the time, and in the case of the Orange (M), it is a HUGE mistake. Trains like the (V) that has a dead-end allows it to turn around and pick up passengers in the opposite direction without severe crowding. That being said, the (M) is making it harder for Sixth Avenue Riders.

Brian July 5, 2010 - 8:37 pm

That is one thing that people fail to realize. The V was useful because it provided service where service is needed most. The Orange M just further complicates the service pattern because it does little to give the core stations the service it needs. M riders should be happy that they have direct service to Manhattan in general. So what if you have to transfer to another line just to get to Midtown. Deal with it.

Kevin July 1, 2010 - 3:10 pm

On Tuesday, a track fire at Broadway-Lafayette gummed up service on multiple lines (A/C/E/B/D/F/M/J/Z). There was also a sick passenger on the E at Queens Plaza and signal problems on the G so it was just a bad morning all around to ride the train on the IND.

Leroy July 1, 2010 - 3:58 pm

This is evident that the (M) is a huge mistake. Like my friend said, it may last until the summer or fall pick but after that they’ll revert the changes. The MTA is already receiving dozens of complaints in regards to their changes, such as turn around problems on bus routes that have been cut, and even union rules being violated. If this continues then the subway will become very unreliable.

Benjamin Kabak July 1, 2010 - 4:23 pm

Can you explain that further? I don’t see how delays on Tuesday due to a track fire are evidence that the Sixth Ave. M is a huge mistake.

Brian July 1, 2010 - 5:11 pm

If you look at it from an operations perspective, you’ll see the Orange M is already a mistake. There are other factors why running an 8-car train through some crowded sections of the system isn’t a great idea.

Justin Samuels July 2, 2010 - 1:22 pm

People complained with the F was sent through the 63rd street tunnel, and the G was cut back to Court Square. And the MTA IGNORED all those COMPLAINTS.

You see, there’s nothing the complaining customer can do, because they still have to take the trains, unless they intend to drive or walk to work. Therefore the MTA doesn’t have to listen to riders too much.

Brian July 2, 2010 - 3:34 pm

When they start loosing revenue from riders, the TA can’t blame it on the riders. You need to make the system attractive to ride to increase ridership. Just look at ridership levels over the last twenty-two years.

Leroy July 2, 2010 - 10:11 pm

Sending the (F) to 63rd Street was the best thing the MTA ever did…it drove riders who did not need that station away from all the shoving and bustling involved with getting on and/or off the train at that station. Lex/53rd is a hellhole, you send the (F) train back on that corridor, it’s like asking for all hell to ensue because trains will be delayed with people holding the doors open.

HOWEVER, when the East Side Access is finished, it’s safe to say that the MTA will look into whether the (F) will even be needed along 63rd Street because the riders who take the (F) in Queens come from L.I., or at least the majority do. My cousin(s) live in Floral Park not too far from the Belmont Racetrack and one of them takes the N6 to 179th Street to the (F) to get to work (he works in SoHo). Since he doesn’t need Midtown, whether the (F) runs via 53rd or 63rd is irrelevant to him. But he did state one time that he was temporarily reassigned to a Midtown location and had to get off at Roosevelt Avenue to get on either an (E) or (V) train because those two trains took him where he needed to go for the time being; he took the (V) because it was less crowded for one, and it usually met up with the (F) when he was on the platform. He could have waited for an (E) train, but because he was being smart he would take whatever came first, most of the time, that being a (V) train.

And for those who think they are entitled to a one-seat ride when it comes to public transportation, no, you aren’t. The subway is means and not a luxury. If you want luxury then you can drive your car to work, and if you work in Manhattan, I wish you the best of luck finding a parking spot. That’s one of the many problems when you have when you own a piece of unnecessary luxury, especially if you live in New York City where public transportation is king.

Leroy July 2, 2010 - 10:20 pm

It is a huge mistake. Eight car trains on the Sixth Avenue Line, which, in a matter of fact, is the closest line to the Lexington Avenue Line which is always in some sort of a snafu, is a very big mistake.

The MTA would have been better off making the (M) serve Chambers Street during a.m./midday/p.m. hours instead. Some people are completely oblivious to the fact that people live and work in Lower Manhattan too. As a matter of fact, people that live along the (J)/(Z) line (and even the (M) line) do work in the Lower Manhattan area. Are you forgetting that the NYSE is located in Lower Manhattan, something that Midtown doesn’t have? THAT is where the majority of our money comes from, not so much Midtown, theoretically speaking.

Alon Levy July 4, 2010 - 8:32 am

Midtown is a much bigger employment center than Lower Manhattan, and has been for many decades. It may not have NYSE, but it has a shitload of big finance firms. The J/M/Z’s disappointing ridership and its inability to relieve the L of overcrowding was a direct result of its not serving Midtown well.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 4:39 pm

Lower Manhattan is more concentrated than Midtown Manhattan is. The amount of jobs doesn’t reflect the need of both Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Does it ever occur to you that those people could be going shopping, visiting relatives, going to school, and just going to a designated area to hang out? I don’t think so. The reason the L line’s overcrowdness is because those neighborhoods have a high concentration of people who doesn’t have many options along that corridor.

Alon Levy July 4, 2010 - 7:19 pm

Lower Manhattan is also smaller. Look it up – it has a fraction of the number of jobs Midtown does.

If you’re trying to argue non-work trips, then it gets even worse for the brown M, because there’s almost nothing in Lower Manhattan other than offices. Midtown is also an important retail center.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 7:36 pm

I must say that M riders are the laziest riders in the whole system. Almost nothing in Lwer Manhattan? How about the Staten Island Ferry, the World Trade Center PATH station, the World Trade Center site, and several historic structures. The whole city isn’t centered in Midtown. There is more to this city than both Lower Manhattan and Midtown Manhattan. I dealt with the Midtown madness from 2003-2007. Besides, if Midtown was a big shopping district, then why isn’t there a mall with high end stores? The stores along 5th and Madison Avs doesn’t count.

As for those M riders, they should be glad to have service to Manhattan. There are some areas in The Bronx, Brooklyn, & Queens that doesn’t have serivce to Manhattan. In addition, how about those people who live in Long Island that can’t afford to take the LIRR.

John Paul N. July 4, 2010 - 10:54 pm

I don’t understand your point about the M and Lower Manhattan. Are you saying that the Chrystie Street cut should be left unused just for the sake of having direct M service to Lower Manhattan, as a redundancy with the J/Z? Is it that much worse to have a two-seat ride (apart from crowding)? Also, are you saying that the tourist attractions and connections to SI and NJ in Lower Manhattan are worth more to M riders than Midtown? That I disagree with, also taking into account the J/Z.

We deal with the system as it has evolved and devolved over the years. In all fairness, New York City is a rich city when it comes to public transportation, specifically rapid transit, something other American cities envy. We should also be grateful for the dual subway/bus zone elimination, the main catalyst for higher ridership in the first place.

Brian July 4, 2010 - 11:18 pm

The M would get better use as a full-time shuttle route as opposed to going to Manhattan. West of Myrtle Avenue, the J line is sufficient enough to handle the demand. Yes, tourist’s are worth more than M service to Midtown because tourists is what drives NYC’s economy the way it is today.

As I stated before, how difficult is it for M riders to transfer to another line? Its not at all costs. Do you think people who live in the eastern sections of the LES and EV like having to transfer to get to Midtown? No but they deal with it everyday which is something M riders should do.

Edward July 4, 2010 - 11:50 pm

Nobody, absolutely nobody, ever took the “M” to get to the SI Ferry, Battery Park, or any other area south of Broad St. It’s too far a walk when you have the 1, 4, 5 and R trains nearby. I lived in Ridgewood for years and rode the M regularly, and not once did I see a tourist on it, so your arguement holds very little water. Manhattan below Fulton St has the 1,2,3,4,5,A,C,J,Z and R trains, as well as the PATH train, so I think residents and tourists alike can find a way to get downtown without the M.

John Paul N. July 4, 2010 - 11:54 pm

West of Myrtle Avenue, the J line is sufficient enough to handle the demand.

Then you haven’t ridden the J line during rush hour where it goes express bypassing 3 stations. Trains are full. And expect a political backlash with a full-time shuttle at Myrtle-Broadway. That’s just punishment, especially with the agenda you put forth: restoring V service as it was to 2nd Avenue? I still say you are too pessimistic to not allow a hint of success.

How many tourists are coming from Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, etc.? That is what I meant by is it worth it to have the M serve those attractions other than the area you dread.

Brian July 7, 2010 - 12:28 am

All I can say is when angry E and F riders come knocking on your door for supporting a line that screws service up for them, I’m not going to say a word.

JP July 1, 2010 - 9:15 pm

The whole system was delayed on both Monday and Tuesday. I imagine it was partly the MTA adjusting to new schedules and routes, riders reacting in confusion, and the other, ‘normal’ delays like sick passengers, track fires, smoke conditions, police investigations, stalled trains…

It took my usual 35 minute commute an hour each way on both Monday *and* Tuesday. Wednesday I left fifteen minutes early in both directions and had no problems. Today was also pretty smooth.

John July 1, 2010 - 10:01 pm

As far as the fact that the J/Z will now be affected by delays on 6th Avenue, you can look at it from another perspective: That the M wouldn’t be affected if there was a delay on Nassau Street. The 6th Avenue Line is more delay-prone due to its length and the more frequent service provided (the F is more frequent than the J/Z), but that is still something to consider.
By the way, does anybody know how much crowding increased on the J/Z in Lower Manhattan, since service was basically reduced by a third during rush hours? I can see that Queens Blvd riders aren’t too pleased.

Leroy July 2, 2010 - 10:13 pm

They should have decreased (J)/(Z) headways from every five minutes to every four minutes. But since this is a time where we are dealing with service cuts and not increases then that is not possible at the moment.

D Train July 1, 2010 - 10:13 pm

I also have suspicions of a union slow-down from the dispatchers to raise ire and complaints about cut service. Trains are stopping in stations for lengthy waits when clearly no train is ahead. Example: Today, on a 3pm(ish) B Train northbound from West 4th. Waited 7 minutes for any express train arrival, so clearly train ahead. Waited at 34th and 47-50th for 2-3 minutes in each station given the “dispatcher” line. I don’t buy that it was 6 minutes up on its headway. This is not the only time this has happened, Wednesday also had “suspicious” in-station delays for me on B, R and Q Trains.

That or maybe the dispatchers are busier now with additional crossings.

Scott E July 2, 2010 - 7:30 am

If a train has to wait because of traffic ahead, it’s always better to wait in a station than in the tunnel between stations. That way, if there is an emergency, sick passenger, etc, or a mechanical breakdown (on that train or one in front), passengers can get off quickly.

john b July 2, 2010 - 11:10 am

i’ve always experienced trains waiting at the stations you mentioned. its annoying but nothing too suspicious. the broadway line in midtown is my least favorite because of this. its always a guessing game.

Jerrold July 2, 2010 - 4:36 pm

What do you mean by “a guessing game”?
Does that mean long waits (“it’s anybody’s guess when a train will come”), or what?

John July 2, 2010 - 6:58 pm

I think he means that it is usually hard to determine which train will leave the station first and get you to your destination quicker (assuming you have a choice of trains to take)

john b July 6, 2010 - 10:35 am

thats what i mean. i don’t think its some insidious plot like some commenters might imply, but its still annoying when you’re on a tight schedule and you pick the wrong train.

Ben Samra July 3, 2010 - 3:31 pm

It seems the MTA is more confused then its passengers with this service change.

Yesterday was the first day I decided to take the M into the city and uptown to queens in the early evening. The train conductor was persistent to inform everyone the train was heading up 6 Ave line before the bridge, on the bridge, and at the Essex St station.

The ride was a bit longer the the usual M, it was held on the bridge, in the station and before the Chystie St. Cut. Little did everyone know the next station we pulled into was Bowery. Then she announced they were informed to go that route after they left the station, apologized and made no effort to inform anyone how to get back uptown.

This isn’t the first time I have heard the M going its old route.
But thats not where it ends.
I’m familiar with the old route and decided to take the the R at Canal to get to Queens. At 34th St. the conductor on the R announced the train was going out of service and back to brooklyn at 57th(Sounds like a Q).

The station platform PA informed passengers to take the F or N. So back to the Orange line, the one where the M’s seem to have stopped running Uptown. The whole system seemed to be in disarray. As first i thought the M had a conflict with the BDF line but now I believe the conflict is with the R that serves brooklyn and now there are two many M and R’s in Queens.

Why not make it offical that every 3rd M goes back down to Broad St.

Brian July 3, 2010 - 7:18 pm

M riders better get used to the fact that the Orange M is already having problems. I bet M riders would prefer to have their Lower Manhattan service back sooner rather than later.

Leroy July 5, 2010 - 9:05 am

If the (M) were to become a split Downtown/Midtown route (e.g. every other trains heads to Chambers; every other train heads to Broad) then I wouldn’t mind the (M)/(V) combo.

Alon Levy July 5, 2010 - 12:08 pm

On the contrary: a split route is the worst of both worlds. Frequency matters a lot in transit; cutting service to each destination to 20 minutes just means nobody will use the M.

Brian July 5, 2010 - 11:42 pm

The TA is better off making the M as a full-time shuttle line. Just because they want Manhattan service means that people in my area have to suffer. As any resident of the Lower East Side and East Village how they feel about the Orange M. They will more likely than not say that it inconveniences them because the F & L lines is crowded due to those M riders. Its bad enough M14D riders have to suffer more than M riders because of the high volume of riders the M14D has. If they cared so much about having direct Midtown service, then why didn’t they create a bus route from Metropolitan Avenue to 34th St and 3rd Ave via the Queens Midtown Tunnel. I’m getting sick and tired of those M riders making things worse for everybody. First L riders, and now residents who live in the LES/EV as well as the people who live along the QBL from 23rd St-Ely to 71st Ave.

John July 6, 2010 - 7:02 pm

Wouldn’t the new M actually take passengers off of the F and L, making them more bearable?
My logic is that the many of the F riders getting on at Essex Street were riders transferring from the J/M/Z trains at Essex Street. Now that the M serves Midtown, the M riders, which are 1/3 of the riders transferring at Essex Street are off of the F and on the M. Don’t forget that the F was always more frequent than the V and before the V came into existance, only the F served 2nd Avenue.
As far as the L train goes, I just can’t see how it would be more crowded. If anything, the L would be less crowded because people who live between the Canarsie Line and Broadway Line would go to the M instead of the L, because the M now serves Midtown.
Also, don’t forget that this is as a result of service reductions. It would be expected that certain lines would get additional crowding. As far as the M goes, this statement only really applies to the Queens Blvd Line.
By the way, the QM24 does run from Middle Village to Midtown, but it runs all the way up towards Rego Park before going to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

Brian July 6, 2010 - 9:39 pm

Having lived near the F line for 20+ years, I know the line and its passenger loads. The existence of the Orange M has no effect on passenger loads on the F line. The MAJORITY of those riders live points between Jay St and Church Ave. I really don’t need to hear any excuses for those M riders. The whole direct Midtown link just proves that M riders are THE laziest people on Earth. I can’t wait till the day the V line comes back into use.

John July 7, 2010 - 5:25 pm

But if, as you say, the majority of the passengers are between Jay Street and Church Avenue, then the V had as little effect as the M.
As far as the M riders, unlike almost every other BMT/IND Line, where the choice of another line is as simple as a same-platform transfer, the transfer at Essex is not a same-platform transfer. Also, the M was supposed to terminate at Chambers or Broad Streets if it wasn’t sent up to Midtown, so the MTA figured that it can reduce the overall customer impact by sending the M up to Midtown.

Brian July 7, 2010 - 6:13 pm

I would like to know how sending the M line uptown is beneficial. The M is better off terminating at Chambers St or bt making it a full-time shuttle. According to the F line report conduced last-year, the key problems in terms of ridership is between Jay St & Church Ave. Having been around those areas, those nighborhoods aren’t well served espectially stations like Church Ave and 15th St-Propsect Park stations. Don’t get too comfy with the Orange M lasting as long as the V line did. I expect the TA to come their senses and re-introduce the V line and run it from 71st Ave to Church Ave.

Ben Samra July 9, 2010 - 3:48 pm

It’s not beneficial. It’s efficient. Go take a long hard look at the map. One train serving two routes. Hence why it’s a service cut. One fleet of trains, running the hybrid of two routes. It’s cost effective. It’s not just an M thats runs to Forest Hills, It’s a V that goes to Middle Village. If we lived in the era of two letter trains, they would have named it the MV train.

Brian July 9, 2010 - 5:56 pm

I’m still not convinced one bit. The M line’s sole purpose is to draw riders away from the J line and not the F. The V’s purpose was to draw riders away from both the E & F. Looking at a map has no effect to justify a service cut. Give it a two to three years and the Orange M will be discontinued while the V line would be re-introduced.

Amelia July 6, 2010 - 9:04 pm

What do actual M riders think of the change? Has anyone interviewed them? East Village riders aren’t short-changed, they still have the F, and also the natural ability to walk to other stations if need be.

Brian July 6, 2010 - 9:45 pm

You seem to not know what you are talking about. The East Village got short-changed in a huge way. Yeah, try being an asthmatic and trying to walk from Houston St & FDR Drive to Houston and 1st Avenue in the heat and after a major snowstorm. Who cares what M riders think. Seriously. Because of them, people of the East Village has to suffer. The reality is that M riders are so conceited that they have ZERO condsideration for areas that needs service the most. In this case, the East Village. Yeah, try living in the area for as long as I have. You’ll feel the same way as I do.

Benjamin Kabak July 6, 2010 - 9:57 pm

Wow, Brian. What are you talking about?

You’re going on and on now for almost a week, and it seems that you’re personally upset because the V doesn’t stop at 2nd Ave. any longer. Why? The F train, which runs at all hours and more frequently than the V did, still does. That the V doesn’t stop at 2nd Ave. any longer has no bearing on the fact that people are still going to have to walk from the far East Side to 1st Ave. at Houston to get onto the train.

You’re basically going on and on about a train that ran for five days a week and for 17.5 hours a day and never ran more frequently than with an 8-minute headway. At points there were 2 Fs for every V. It’s not a huge loss. Calm down.

Brian July 6, 2010 - 11:03 pm

Look at it from a prospective of a life long resident of the LES/EV. After looking at ridership figures from 1988 and 2009, 2nd Ave saw a ridership boost of nearly 93%. The F line is UNREALIABLE 75% of the time. I can recall the amount of times the F line has had severe problems since 1994. The walk from Houston/FDR Drive to Houston/1st Ave is about 15 minutes. The V line is vital to the East Village and cutting it is a mistake the TA will eventually regret.

Amelia July 6, 2010 - 10:41 pm

You refuse to wait at Second Avenue for an F, or walk to nearby subway stations and you call Middle Village residents lazy?
When was the last time you exercised?

Amelia July 6, 2010 - 10:42 pm

By the by, just in case, I know lots of asthmatic people who are perfectly capable of physical exercise.

Amelia July 6, 2010 - 10:44 pm

Oh, and one more thing: My part of the Bronx has NO SUBWAYS. At all. We have to rely on buses and our own two feet. Wake me up when I get to roll out of my bed, onto a horse, then onto a smaller horse, then onto a small dog to get to a train.

Brian July 6, 2010 - 11:34 pm

What’s wrong with taking the bus? Don’t make any excuses for residents of Middle Village, Glendale, & Ridgewood.

Brian July 6, 2010 - 11:06 pm

What does excercising have to do with anything? If anything it hold no merit. It obvious that do don’t know anybody besides me who lives in the East Village. JFTR, you are wasting your time defending M riders and being anti-East Village.

Amelia July 6, 2010 - 11:17 pm

I went to high school in Manhattan and befriended several East Villagers/Lower East Siders. Other than that, I frequently visit the East Village for its restaurants and cultural institutions. I love the neighborhood, the people there are really nice. I have nothing against them.

But let me just tell you something: the MTA doesn’t have to listen to you. You’re one person in a city of eight million. You can write letters, or call them, or start a petition. In fact, why don’t you do so? If the residents of your community are that heartbroken over loss of V service at Second Avenue, and they agree, then you can rally them and gather a few signatures. There’s strength in numbers. If I don’t know anything, then your friends and neighbors most certainly do.

There will still be plenty of folks waiting at Second Avenue regardless of whether or not an F comes, a V comes, or a hypothetical Q comes for that matter. They’re not there to serve you. If you want catered service, purchase a car, or use a taxi.

Brian July 6, 2010 - 11:32 pm

Yeah, try living there for 20+ years. You’ll see the big picture. In addition ask anybody who lives along Ave B and those who take the M14D on a daily basis. Thet will tell you that the East Village ALWAYS gets the short hand of the stick as it pertains to mass transit options. If you “love” the East Village, then why are you supporting the existence of the Orange M?

Benjamin Kabak July 6, 2010 - 11:34 pm

I’m still waiting for an answer to the question: Why are you so hung up on a part-time train when the 2nd Ave. station is still being serviced by the F? So the M stops at Broadway/Lafayette and Essex St. So a few people will have to wait an extra 3-4 minutes for an F to make sure those bound for 2nd Ave get there. What’s the big deal? It is, after all, a service cut.

Brian July 6, 2010 - 11:41 pm

The big deal is the East Village is getting the short hand of the stick. Mind you, I am not liking the M9 being an Ave. C route & the M21 being relegated to being a Houston St. Crosstown. As for the V, the East Village loses a line that serves 53rd St. Why should a few selected neighborhoods benefit from a service cut when the East Village is literally struggling? Talk a walk along Ave’s A-C and you’ll see what I mean. JFTR, the V line was more reliable then the F line. Anyway, the V line will come back in a few years. Mark my words.

Jon July 7, 2010 - 2:25 pm

According to Google, the walk from 2nd Ave Station to Broadway/Lafayette is just 5 minutes. There you have the choice of the 6, M, B, D, AND F.

Those who live on north East Village can take the L train. If you live near the water, then the 2nd Ave station was pretty far away, anyway.

Even still, the 2nd Ave station still exists with the always reliable F.

I’ve been on the V enough times to see maybe 5 people per car actually still on the train by 2nd Ave. Most of the riders exited between Lex – 14th Street.

This line is kind of like the Yellow Toronto line. Its not made for people to go from one side and another. Its just 2 trains in one. In Downtown, the 2 halves of the Yellow are just a 5 minute walk apart.

The new M is far more efficient in terms of ridership in comparison to the V.

Where’s all the complaints for the missing W? Now there’s just the sh!tty R train serving Lower Manhattan on the Broadway line. At least the W was crowded for most of its route. True the Q goes to Astoria now, but its as unnecessary as the new M. I’m not gonna take the Q from Kings Highway to Astoria anytime soon.

Stop whining!

John July 7, 2010 - 5:33 pm

Also, even for those asthmatic people that Brian keeps referring to, they could take the M21 to Broadway-Lafayette if they truly are in a hurry and need all of the available options. From there, they can get the B, D, F, and M.
Also, what about the southern end of the M. They are also suffering, as the West End and 4th Avenues Lines have essentially lost about 2/5 of their service. The whole world doesn’t revolve around the East Village. Don’t forget about all of the bus lines that will force people to add on more than 5 minutes to their trip.

Brian July 7, 2010 - 5:51 pm

JFTR, the M21 was cut on weekends and its service operating hours reduced to two hours. Where did I ever say that the whole world revolves around me and the East Village? I know other area that got hit harder than my area. I have sympathy for those who live in South Brooklyn and parts of Long Island.

People in this city are getting sick of the TA that attracts them to buy a car or move to an area that has adequate service. Parts such as the East Village, South Brooklyn, and Long Island doesn’t have adequate service. M riders should be glad they have adequate bus service for most of the stops along the line. My area has an overcrowed crosstown line (M14D), a useless north-south route (M9), a useless crostown route (M8), and an infrequent crosstown route (M21). Do you consider that adequate bus service? I’d think not. If you have lived in the East Village for as long as I have, you’ll feel the same way as I do.

Brian July 7, 2010 - 6:03 pm

“Those who live on north East Village can take the L train. If you live near the water, then the 2nd Ave station was pretty far away, anyway.”

That’s exactly my point. That’s why the M14D draws the highest amount of ridership fro any crosstwon route in the entire city. I bet that in the unlikely event if a subway station existed on Houston and Ave C, you can see a significant drop in ridership on the F, L, 6, and M14D routes. Does it ever occur to you that if the EV was better served, the F and L lines could see a noticible drop in ridership.

“The new M is far more efficient in terms of ridership in comparison to the V.”

Try convincing E & F riders. The V line served its purpose by drawing as much riders away from both the E and F lines. That is why the TA made an aggressive campaign in 2002-2003 to encourage people to use the V. Did it work? It sure did. The Orange M is a parasite that does nothing to help out the E, F, & L lines. If I don’t see near empty F trains at 2nd Avenue, then the Orange M doesn’t serve its purpose.

Besides, it seems to me that every other person that has commented in this posting has little knowledge of ACTUAL road conditions. I have seen the 6th Avenue & Queens Boulevard get screwed up to a point that people were opening their mouth. Give two-three years, the Orange M will be history.

John Paul N. July 9, 2010 - 5:13 pm

How do you know that the M14D branch has a higher ridership than the M14A branch? The combined M14 2009 annual ridership figure is 12,036,852. The next highest ridership figure for a crosstown bus is the M86, at 8,490,733. The 125th Street corridor is also heavily used. And in the way MTA planning works, higher ridership routes deserve to get more service (if at all), not lower ridership ones. This MTA has little tolerance for experiments like increased Houston Street service on a route with relatively little ridership. (This experiment intolerance is something I wish the MTA can change.)

How do you figure that there should be near empty F trains at 2nd Avenue? Not everybody transfers at Delancey/Essex and there weren’t near empty F trains at that point when the V used to run.

Brian July 9, 2010 - 5:51 pm

I was able to determine the M14D gets higher ridership then the M14A by being a regular rider of both branches for 20+ years. The M14 is treated as one route with two seperate branches.

The sole reason why the M21 gets so little riderhip is because of the frequency. I have been a regular rider of the M21 since 2005. Nobody is going to want to take a bus route that comes less frequently. Before the cuts took into effect, many people I know told me that the sole reason they opt not to take the M21 is because of the service.

“How do you figure that there should be near empty F trains at 2nd Avenue? Not everybody transfers at Delancey/Essex and there weren’t near empty F trains at that point when the V used to run.”

Since the introducted of the Orange M, isn’t the goal to DRAW riders away from the F line? Many people I know hasn’t seen a significant drop in ridership on the F line. If the TA would have combined the V and J, then you can draw a huge amount of riders off the F line and thus a greater success rate.

Amelia July 6, 2010 - 11:41 pm

Because it’s the V, only with three things: 1. A new letter 2. A lack of a stop at Second Avenue, and 3. an extension to Brooklyn/Queens. It’s like a pair of shorts: still denim pants, they still cover your body. But they’re slightly different.

Brian July 6, 2010 - 11:46 pm

Quit making excuses for those undeserving M riders. Why should the minorty benefit when the the majority are being screwed big time? If you don’t like what I’m saying, then don’t bother responding back.

Benjamin Kabak July 6, 2010 - 11:49 pm

Why are you being so nasty to M riders? They didn’t choose this service pattern; the MTA did due to budgetary problems and the need to cut service somewhere. You seem to have some major anger issues about your subway route here. It’s a bit off-putting, and I’m going to close the comments here if it doesn’t stop.

And the V was never more reliable than the F. The Straphangers ranked the V 17th out of 21st, and the F 13th.

Brian July 7, 2010 - 12:06 am

I’m going by the mumbers the MTA provided and not fake numbers provided by the Straphangers Campaign. In all, you are just better off closing the comments because I’m still going to vent all my anger on M riders till the very day the V line is re-introduced. Budgetary problems? My ass tells me the TA is just creating a ruse to gain sympathy from millions of New Yorkers.

Benjamin Kabak July 7, 2010 - 12:08 am

Has “your ass” bothered to read through the budget documents? It’s not some plot to deprive the East Village of service.

Brian July 7, 2010 - 12:26 am

I’m still not convinced one bit. If the TA was flat broke, then where did they get the money to buy the Option order R160 cars, the Next Gen Orion VII’s, and the Desginline buses. Meanwhile, the TA expects to buy the R179’s & R188’s. Knowing several people who maintains subway cars on a daily basis, the TA would save a ton of money fixing up what they have. Why scrap most of the R32’s, the R38’s, and R40M’s? Fix them and the savings will be substancial compared to spending 1.5 million for each R160 and 514,000 (est.) for the NG Orion VII’s.

Leroy July 7, 2010 - 8:53 pm

You’re wasting your time looking Straphangers because that report is full of lines. Out of ALL the entire lines in the A and B Divisions, the (F) was the least reliable. I have the real figures provided by an MTA transit worker himself who posts on a transit forum message board. These are the On-Time performances of 2009:

(1): 91.7%
(2): 81.9%
(3): 85.2%
(4): 82.5%
(5): 89.2%
(6)/: 92.0%
(7)/: 96.3%

(A): 84.5%
(B): 91.8%
(C): 94.6%
(D): 89.2%
(E): 87.0%
(F): 76.2%
(G): 95.6%
(J)/(Z): 98.6%
(L): 97.0%
(M): 99.1%
(N): 91.0%
(Q): 95.8%
(R): 92.4%
(V): 91.7%
(W): 96.6%

Grand Central Shuttle: 99.6%
Franklin Shuttle: 99.8%
Rockaway Shuttle: 98.6%

That being said, the (V) was more reliable than the (F) in 2009. (V): on time 91.7% of the time. And unfortunately, the (F): on time 76.2% of the time.

PMakritoxonis July 8, 2010 - 9:10 am

Fine!, so drop dead with your asthma..I for one like the Orange M

Leroy July 8, 2010 - 9:36 am

Wow, how mature of you for writing that.

.taht gnitirw rof uoy fo erutam woh

Try to comprehend that!

Brian July 8, 2010 - 2:41 pm

How inciteful! Don’t get too comfy with the Orange M because the TA will take it away in a few years once the V is re-introduced and serves the F line from 2nd Ave to Church Ave.

Face it, the existence of the Orange M is on borrowed time.

Benjamin Kabak July 8, 2010 - 2:43 pm

If you’re such a long-time resident of the East Side, what did you do at 2nd Ave. before 2001 when there was no such thing as the V train?

Brian July 8, 2010 - 6:26 pm

I didn’t really ride the subway much prior to 2001. During the 90’s, my family and I used to board the F at Delancey St (a large concentration of my relatives lived near that station). My family and I didn’t begin using 2nd Ave as our primary station and has been like that since.

Prior to 2001, I hated taking the F line simply due to the fact it was very unreliable. When the V line came into existence, it made my area a bit better in terms of subway access. If you and everybody else took the time to do ACTUAL research, you’ll see why the East Village needs all the help it can. In addition, places such as Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, & Kensington are fare more deserving than Glendale, Middle Village, & Ridgewood. The population along the F line between Bergen St to Church Ave outnumbers those who live along those three neighborhoods I listed along the M line.

The MTA even admitted in their report on the F line in 2009 that the F line needs an additional service from Jay St to Church Ave. The amount of transferees from the BMT to the IND has little effect on ridership on the F line. In the long run, the TA is going to be forced to eliminate the Orange M in favor to re-introduce the V line in two-three years from now. Face it, the Orange M is on borrowed time.

Jon July 8, 2010 - 11:32 pm

You do realize that Manhattan in general is inundated with transit options? You may think that the 3 minute more wait time for an F is really that much of a dealbreaker. I go to university in Buffalo. I want you to whine about your transportation lulls to people who have to wait over an hour during the daytime for the only bus that goes to Buffalo and the airport. Or for people waiting 20 minutes for the train on Sundays. Or the fact that buses go on routes that bypass the train altogether to downtown instead of merging them for more efficient transit. Or that the train does not go nearly far enough to really be useful. (like to North Campus at UB where I’m at)

And as for extra service to Brooklyn: Until funding can be restored for the rehabilitation and extension of the F/G line in Brooklyn that ain’t happening soon. The F and G already make it at capacity. Until they allow the express tracks to be utilized effectively it won’t happen. The V will only be useful when it goes into Brooklyn. Until it does I don’t see all the debate about its removal. Its not worth the expense for most New Yorkers.

Realize that the new M is not permanent unless New Yorkers want it to be. Its a service cut. You want service to be restored and even extended? Talk to Albany. Go to your representative and mail to them. Sign petitions.
For now, I think that worse sacrifices can be made for New York than snuffing the East Side from one very underutilized line, whether you like it or not.

Again, I don’t see any outrage from you about the W line being cut. According the Straphanges campaigns statistic, it one of the most utilized lines in the subway system. Even if it does not affect you directly its pretty important to the cities economy, considering its a major link to Downtown Manhattan and Midtown.

But why should you care? You don’t live in Astoria or anywhere near the W. You live in the dregs at the Lower East Side, where life is hard and apartments cost more than my own expected value as a human being,

Brian July 9, 2010 - 7:22 am

Comparing Buffalo, NY to New York City is like comparing an apple to an onion. The reason there wasn’t much outrage towards the W line’s elimination is that Astoria residents viewed the Q extension to be beneficial. Like Astora, the East Village needs all of the service it can get. Both are high traffic areas as well as popular destinations. Astoria is one neighborhood I do care about. The high density Astoria has tells you that they need an additional subway line. Likewise with the V line & the East Village. Does it ever occur to you that 2nd Avenue is not only used by native NY’ers but also tourists alike. I should know because I walk along Houston St on a daily basis.

John Paul N. July 9, 2010 - 4:35 pm

Ridgewood is quite dense, it is quite known for the apartment-style housing that was built near the Myrtle Avenue Line, not unlike places like Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, etc. As for Middle Village and Glendale, they are indeed not so dense areas (and those neighborhoods would like to keep them that way, rightly so). But many people use buses like the Q54, Q55, Q38, Q39 and Q58 that feed into the Myrtle Avenue Line and the L train. They also have the choice to go to the Queens Boulevard Line using buses like the Q38, Q67, Q45, Q29 and Q11/21/53. Let’s also throw Maspeth into the list with the Q59 and Q18 buses. On top of using the bus to the nearest subway line, many people would also need to transfer to other trains. The F line provides one-seat service to a great portion of Manhattan, whereas the L by comparison does not and the old M was too duplicative to the J/Z in its service area (if only counting the portion to Broad Street). So in this argument, to suggest that M riders should be punished with less service and F riders be rewarded with more service because the neighborhoods it serves is walkable to a subway station is so vitriolic and is against the notion of having public transportation be accessible to the greatest number of people. I agree there should be more F service, but I would not want that at the expense of other routes as you are arguing one should be exclusive of the other. Plus, do you want the people in the Queens neighborhoods mentioned to use cars, even more so than they are now?

I believe the MTA will evaluate its subway routes on more than just reliability (whether that is on-time performance or some other metric). Usage or ridership and passenger traffic flow is a bigger factor, and from the general comments I have read on this blog, the new M is successful in this regard.

I find that when the V route was designed, the Second Avenue terminal was chosen more to provide a convenient termination point than to provide an additional service to the Lower East Side. You know the primary purpose for the V at its creation, and it’s not to serve 2nd Avenue station. That was just a side benefit that the subway system provided. If I was a regular user of the Second Avenue station, I would be concerned that service was being cut. But that concern turns into selfishness once you suggest the denial of service for a greater number of people than to a smaller group of people.

A final question, would you be able to go to the Delancey/Essex or Broadway-Lafayette stations if train availability was so important to you?

Brian July 9, 2010 - 5:41 pm

First of all, I understand where you are coming from. Secondly, I have spoken to several everyday subway riders along the F line and all of them told me the Orange M made things worse. The reason the V line worked extremely well is because it served the core sectors along the F line in Manhattan & Queens. The reason why 2nd Ave was chosen as the terminal of the V is due to car equipment issues.

As far as bus connections goes, M riders have a lot more options then those who live in the East Village, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens. If M riders really wanted direct Midtown service, then why didn’t they push for a restructuring of the QM24. If the TA made the QM24 more direct, then M riders could have direct Midtown service without affecting service in other neighborhoods.

“A final question, would you be able to go to the Delancey/Essex or Broadway-Lafayette stations if train availability was so important to you?”

Delancey-Essex isn’t a good option because you do not want to be there in the event when F serce fouls up. Broadway-Lafayette is somewhat attractive because I have the B and D lines as a back-up. I think I’ll take my chances walking to West 4th St (about a 40-45 minute walk) just to get better service. The availability isn’t important to me but 2nd Avenue needs a second line serving it incase when the F line decides to take a dump. The unreliability factor of the F line is why I’m against the removal of the V line at 2nd Ave.

John July 10, 2010 - 8:01 pm

But the V still serves the core sector of the F in Manhattan and Queens, just with 8 cars instead of 10.
As far as the QM24 goes, that is an express bus that charges $5.50 per ride compared to the M train for $2.25. I don’t think it would get much more usage even if it were restructured because of the price. The QM24 gets 1,682 riders on an average weekday. The Myrtle Avenue Line gets about 14,000, over 8 times as many riders. Even if another 1,600 riders went to the QM24 instead of taking the M, that would still leave 12,000 riders vs 3,000. In addition, the QM24 does nothing for the Broadway section of the M train.
As far as the V being a backup for the F, you could make that argument with the other sections of the F, namely the heavily-traveled Jamaica section. It is still a backup, just not at 2nd Avenue anymore.
My thoughts on the combination is that it was an the most efficient way to save money, as overall, it impacted the fewest number of people. The original plan called for the M to terminate at Chambers Street, while the V remained the same. That would’ve allowed about 17,000 riders to keep their access to Lower Manhattan (probably even less because it wouldn’t serve Fulton/Broad Street) and not given 22,000 people the opportunity to access Midtown directly.

Brian July 11, 2010 - 12:29 am

You still don’t get it. The V sereved its purpose by service 65% of the core stations along the F line. The core stations along the F line is from Church Ave to 71st Ave. According to several TA workers that I know have personally stated the Orange M is making the F line worse than it already is. Running an 8-car train of R160’s doesn’t benefit the 6th Ave/53rd Street corridor well because that corridor happens to be on of the busiest sectors in the system. Hell, the 6th Avenue line gets more ridership than both the Broadway BMT and 8th Ave IND lines. The M was better off terminating at Chambers because it kep the line isolated from the 4th Avenue line. With the Orange M in place, riders on the J and M lines have to put up with the delays along the 6th Ave/Queens Blvd lines.

Its obvious that most of the people who responded doesn’t know anything about day-to-day operations in this system. JFTR, E and F riders are alreading hating the Orange M because it makes service worse for them. Why should a few greedy neighborhoods want Midtown service when they aren’t realizing it would cause a headache for riders who live in other parts of the system? I would love for people to answer that question. The TA will eventually see that the Orange M is one of the poorly implemented lines in the system and thus eliminate 6th Ave/Nassau service forever.

Amelia July 7, 2010 - 12:30 am

Federal money is provided to states and their transit agencies to purchase new equipment, but not to maintain it. Sad, but true.

Brian July 7, 2010 - 12:34 am

JFTR, the MTA had to pay for the Option order 160’s. The option orders cars outnumber the base order cars. I would rather see all of the 32’s to 42’s than to look at the 160’s. I would rather see the GMC and TMC RTS’ instead of the OG and NG Orion VII’s roaming the streets.

John July 11, 2010 - 5:56 pm

Brian, what am I not getting. The M is still serving every core station that the V served except for 2nd Avenue. Plus, 6th Avenue riders have one extra train serving Essex Street, another “core station”, so the effect is the same as far as service goes. Second Avenue-bound riders lose a train, but Essex Street-bound riders gain a train.
As far as the 8 cars go, the V was one of the least crowded lines in the system. According to the Straphangers Campaign, 77% of riders had a seat at the height of rush hour. Reduce that by 1/5 and you have 61% of the riders that have seats. By comparison, on the 4 train, 24% of riders have a seat during the height of rush hour. It is something that riders will have to adjust to.
With the delays, there is nothing that can be done. Along with the benefits of being connected to the 6th Avenue Line come the disadvantages. If you look at it the other way, the M is a backup for the J/Z lines in case there is an incident along Nassau Street. You could make the argument for many other lines. For example, you could say that having the B on the Brighton Line instead of another Broadway Line means that the Brighton Line would be affected if there were to be an incident on 6th Avenue. Yet if there was an incident on Broadway, the B being on a different line would be a good thing.
And what is with calling Myrtle Avenue riders “greedy”. These are service reductions. It just so happens that some people benefit. You could make the argument for a lot of the other reductions as well. You could argue that extending the Q to Astoria to make up for the W gives Q riders access to 5th Avenue, Lexington Avenue, and Queensboro Plaza (I doubt a whole lot of Brighton riders are going to Astoria, but they benefit as well), while screwing Lower Manhattan customers. You could say that for many of the bus restructurings. You could say that swapping the B1 and B64 helps B1 riders at the expense of B64 riders. You could say that having the Bx39 replace the Bx41 on White Plains Road benefits Bx39 riders at the expense of Bx41 riders. You could say that having the Bx8 replace the Bx14 benefits Country Club riders by giving them access to more neighborhoods in the Bronx while screwing riders along Metropolitan Avenue in Parkchester. These are service REDUCTIONS. They are trying to SAVE money while affecting as few people as possible. Are you going to call riders on all of these routes greedy as well? The MTA feels that it can save a lot of money and benefit some people as opposed to just making everybody have a longer commute. Don’t forget that the Z would’ve been eliminated if the M weren’t sent to Midtown. Those E riders would’ve been screwed from the other direction.

Brian July 11, 2010 - 10:34 pm

You are clearly failing to realize the main point here. Reducing service to have little or no impact on the community is a load of crap. Look at the new M9 and M21. How does that suppose to benefit the East Village & Lower East Side? I would love to hear your answers. As for the M line, again, why should they benefit from a SERVICE CUT when you have riders along the Queens Boulevard line (which outnumbers the amount of M riders from Wyckoff to Metro Ave) have to deal with two less cars? As for the V not being crowded, you along with the Straphangers Campaign obviously never rode that line during rush hours.

On the last week of the V line, I observed the crowd conditions at select stops. I saw everal SRO southbound V’s entering 42nd St. Mind you, service was running normal. If you or anybody ever says the V line was useless, then you have demonstrated that you are a full of shit.

John July 12, 2010 - 11:35 pm

These service cuts aren’t meant to benefit the community, they are meant to save money.
Once again, with these reroutes, there are still some people who benefit. M9 riders heading up to 23rd Street and Peter Cooper Village now have a one-seat ride. Yet it comes at the expense of M21 riders and M9 riders going to Union Square. Are you going to call those riders greedy? The community as a whole does not benefit, but some riders do.
The fact that those riders along Queens Blvd have 2 fewer cars is part of the savings. That is 2 fewer cars that the MTA has to maintain. Like I said, there are many service cuts where some riders benefit, but most have to deal with a longer commute. This is just another example. If I have to I will go through every case of bus restructuring to show that there are some riders who will benefit while the majority do not. Is that what you want? The MTA is trying to save money while trying to minimize negative impacts. Overall, fewer people are negatively impacted. Need I remind you that the combination of the M and V saved the J/Z skip-stop service?
As for the V, I never said that it was useless. I simply said that it didn’t get as many riders as a lot of other lines do. If 77% of the riders did have a seat, then 23% of the riders were standing. The train was at 130% of a seated load. Of course, some trains can be more crowded and some can be less crowded. I never said that the V was useless, just that it was less utilized than a lot of subway lines.
As far as that last comment, I do not appreciate being told that I am full of sh*t. I talk to you in a respectful tone while trying to express my opinions and I would appreciate it if you would do the same.

Brian July 13, 2010 - 10:23 am

I’m beginning to believe that you are too buzy drinking the MTA’s kool-aid. I’m convinced the TA is just trying to gain sympathy from New Yokers. As for the cuts, makes you wonder why people are already complaining in various parts of the city. I can’t see how the new M9 benefits the East Village. Likewise with the new M21. People in my area aren’t greedy for any kind of service. They take what they have and use it. Something M riders along Ridgewood, Glendale, & Middle Village fail to do. Prior to 6.27.10, how difficult was it for them to take the M and transfer. Many people do it accross the city espectially the East Village.

Do you honestly think M14D riders hate having to transfer to the M15 at 1st Ave, to the IRT Lex at 4th Ave, to the IND 8th Ave line at 8th Ave? The answer is no but they deal with it because its something that their are used to it. Hell, I used to take the M21 to the 6 for two years. Did I like it, not at all but I dealt with it.

As for the V, the TA needed to take a look at ridership patterns. People who live in LIC, Elmhurst, or even Jamaica could give two-shits about Middle Village & Glendale. In the end, it seems like you are wasting your time trying to justify every single service cut the TA has made. An 800 million deficit? MTA, quit lying to the public.

John July 13, 2010 - 8:26 pm

I don’t think the people in Brooklyn along the M line asked for their service to be rerouted. It just happened that the MTA thought it was an efficient way to consolidate services. If you don’t want to believe that there is a budget gap, then, lets agree that for some reason or another the MTA wanted to save money.

Brian July 13, 2010 - 11:11 pm

What budget gap? The MTA is just hiding the truth. As for the M line, those people realized that by screwing with an area that needs mass transit the most would be a good idea. Consolidating the V and M lines has already been proven to be a total failure. It seems to me that you don’t know anybody who has to put up with the Orange M on a daily basis. Some people who I know personally have told me I was right about the Orange M and hot it remains to be a detrimental line along the entire 6th Ave/Queens Blvd corridor.

Remember, consolidating services isn’t always the answer. Espectially wen it removes a secondary line from an area that needs it. I really don’t need to hear any excuses in regards to M riders and the corrupt MTA.

John July 14, 2010 - 8:01 pm

The same way that riders in the East Village and Lower East Side have to take a long walk or bus ride to the subway is the same way a lot of M riders take a bus to the M train. Almost all of the M stations have buses feeding into them that are well-used. Like I said before, the East Village isn’t the only neighborhood that needs its mass transit options. Even when you said that there were other areas besides the East Village that needed better transit, you didn’t mention Ridgewood, Glendale, and Middle Village, as well as Williamsburg and Bushwick.

Brian July 14, 2010 - 8:49 pm

Why are you comparing the East Village to Middle Village. Unlike Middle Village, the East Village needs way more help than Ridgewood, Glendale, and Middle Village. The bus routes that feeds to the M line can’t even come close to that the M14 brings in yearly. The day the Orange M route is gone, it would be a celebration to progress in this city.

Ursula P. July 22, 2010 - 2:30 am

Brian – Why do you keep painting Glendale/Middle Village/Ridgewood as the only areas helped? Lots of young noobs moving to NYC pick Williamsburg. Yet you didn’t include it on your “dartboard” of anger (i.e, Ridgewood, etc.), why? I bet those Williamsburg noobs and other artsy Brooklynites are very happy that the Hewes station and Marcy station are finally very useful. To get to Midtown, they needn’t hike up to the L which is dreadfully crowded during rush hours and pretty packed even at 10:00 at night. The Orange M alleviates congestion on the L for sure. Not sure why you said it wouldn’t. As for the Orange M alleviating (or rather *not* alleviating) crowding on the E and F Qns Blvd., you’re likely accurate in your critique. I’m unable to comment on that, but your analysis sounds about right. Re: the Orange M in Brooklyn, there are six stations between Hewes and Seneca providing service to many low-income folks – I bet they’re happy too. For some reason, and I have no way to prove this, my gut instinct says the L ridership was likely the “most vocal” group wanting the Orange M to service Midtown because all it did previously (as Brown M) was go to Broad Street, whoopdee doo, so folks would pack into the L, causing a cattle effect during the A.M rush. I haven’t ridden the L in a long time (My line is now the C) but I bet these days the L is more comfortable during rush thanks to the Orange M. So it’s not just three “undeserving” areas (as you put it). It’s at least five neighborhoods. And whether they deserve it or not of course depends on who you ask.

Leroy July 27, 2010 - 4:16 pm

The reason why Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale are being blasted is because of their proximity to the city than the rest of the Eastern Division. Riders who live along the (J) or (Z) are quite screwed outside of rush hour because their commute to Manhattan can be 45 minutes (provided that they don’t live west of Sutphin Boulevard, in which they could take the (E) train. Due to the skip-stop service that’s been serving the Jamaica Line since the 80s, up to 10 minutes of commuting time is shaved off. Regardless of the time factor, you don’t see any other neighborhood complaining about how difficult it could be to go to Manhattan. Take for instance, Staten Island. Residents of that borough are isolated from the rest of the city. Is their service reliable? To an extent…the X1 carries more passengers than any other express route in the city. Those people who don’t want to deal with the sluggish ferry have to shelve out $5.50 for an express bus. Do you see those people complaining? Not at all. I go to school in Staten Island, and that was a choice I made. I was well aware of how hectic my commute would be on the days that I go to school…on a good day, the commute would be an hour and a half…on a regular day, two hours. If I hang out at the mall after I leave school at 4 on Saturday afternoons, I wouldn’t get home until sometime between 7 and 7:30 in the evening. Therefore, I knew what I would be getting myself into going to school in Staten Island and living in Brooklyn: trains, boats, buses, and transfers. Was/is it hectic, sort of. But I put up with it. And if the residents of Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale were unhappy with their service pre-Orange (M), then public transportation isn’t for them.

Ursula P. July 30, 2010 - 1:34 pm

Well for some reason I feel M riders were happy with Brown M. I think it was the ***L*** riders (mainly those near Bedford, Lorimer, Graham) who wanted fewer J/M folks on the L during rush hour. Just my 2 cents.

Leroy July 16, 2010 - 12:23 pm

(M)/(V) combo supporters have been around since the 90s, well before the (V) was incepted in 2001. If they don’t like their service, then that’s on them. They can move or deal with it. The same goes for the new (M), I’m learning to deal with it but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

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