By Gary Buiso
Feature article in Brooklyn Heights Courier
A ride on the F train might be fraught with delays and commuter dismay, but New York City Transit isn’t prepared just yet to take the blame for overcrowded conditions, the agency said in a report released last week.The fault, the document infers, lies not in the agency, but in ourselves.
“Brooklyn F trains tend to be more heavily loaded at the front and back, which reflects the location of platform stairs along the F in Brooklyn,” the report notes. “Passenger volumes in the end cars are twice as likely to exceed guideline capacity, compared with the middle cars, during the morning peak period and three times as likely during the evening peak. The relatively uneven loading within trains may contribute to the perception of the lines as overcrowded, since proportionately more riders are in the crowded sections of the train.”
Still, the full line report, requested by State Senator Daniel Squadron, determined that there is plenty of room for improvement along the line, and vowed to take action sooner rather than later to address the problems.
The agency said it would reorganize line management -- a move expected to provide greater accountability; establish a task force of senior managers to review the line’s operations and develop strategies for improvements; and review and potentially revise the train’s timetable, in an effort to better serve the train’s ridership, which has exploded by 15 percent since 2004. The agency said it will continue to analyze train load, attempt to ease crowded conditions, and would modify “delay management strategies,” to reduce the reliance on skipping stations to make up for time lost.Commuters can look forward to new cars being phased into the line in the next year, and the agency, which is overseen by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, would continue to review the line’s aging infrastructure, modernize critical components of the signal system, and streamline construction and repair work.
The agency cautioned that the operation of an F express train cannot be considered until completion of the ongoing Culver Viaduct reconstruction project in 2013.
“F performance statistics have lagged behind system averages,” the agency states, adding that it is “proactively seeking to correct the situation.” “Through a new managerial structure, creative operational strategies, and increased capital investment, NYCT is committed to improving the performance and condition of the F.”
“The report points out what any rider of the train knows —that service is failing us,” said Squadron. He praised the agency for its transparency and speed in crafting the report, which was requested about three months ago, and said he planned to carefully monitor progress along the line. “I think this is a great model to deal with troubled lines,” he said. “This is just the first step.”