In Order to Disturb Riders Less, the MTA Considers Shutting Down Subway Lines

Speeding up repairs by stopping service completely, the MTA top boss says it could work.

By Erika Tarantal
|  Friday, May 14, 2010  |  Updated 9:14 PM EDT
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In Order to Disturb Riders Less, the MTA Considers Shutting Down Subway Lines

MTA

Good idea? Maybe not.

What is the best way to make much needed subway repairs without tearing apart the routines of regular riders?

That's the question the MTA is currently grappling with.  And the latest idea for a solution may surprise you: It involves scrapping service on entire sections of lines. 

Sound crazy? Well, at the Jay Street station in Downtown Brooklyn, straphangers are willing to listen to any ideas.

A rebuild of that station, and work on the Culver Viaduct, a structure that runs over local streets and the Gowanus Canal, has F train riders dizzy over service disruptions.

Monica Morgan transfers at the Jay Street station on her way from Crown Heights to Manhattan and said the work seems relentless.

“Maybe for the last two, three years, there’s always something going on," said Morgan.

For the next two weekends that "something" has been a service suspension. The F train will be skipping seven stops between Jay Street and Court Avenue, riders will be offered free shuttle buses as an alternative. 

Sabrina Ector from Brownsville is all too familiar with the run-around routine. "It's a long trip, you have to go all around, everywhere," she said.

This latest idea coming from the MTA would mean more shuttling, but all at once. Instead of sporadic suspensions on weekends or during certain hours, suspensions would last as long as the repairs take to be completed.

MTA Chairman Jay Walder used that method when he was in charge of the London Underground and found it was a successful way to complete repairs more quickly.

Friday, Walder told reporters while it's not a formal proposal at this time, the MTA is considering the change as part of an effort to ensure repairs are being made as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“We’re looking at this," Walder said, "We’re looking at finding the best way and it may be that rather than have the pain by a thousand small cuts it would be better to get into some places, work intensively to get things done and get out quickly.”

"That would be a catastrophe, it would cause mayhem, " said Beashia Blouot, a commuter from Bedford Stuyvesant. "That is definitely not a good idea."

On the other hand, Monica Morgan, our commuter from Crown Heights, says a one shot deal could work. "Maybe that would be better, just to get it out of the way, so we can be on our way uninterrupted."

In a scenario where service is completely suspended, Walder says buses would likely be used to bring customers to subway lines that were running.  That's too much of a hassle says Abraham Paris, a straphanger from the Bronx.  "It would work out in the long run but for the short term, it's gonna be alot of confusion."

At this point, Walder says no decisions have been made.

"Lets look at this right now, lets not take anything for granted and lets open our minds to what might be there, it may or may not be a good idea, we’ll see," he said.

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