By Andrew Siff
The MTA announced plans Monday to add more rush hour and weekend trains to the L line, where ridership has skyrocketed 141 percent over the past decade, far outpacing the service increase of just 52 percent.
It was welcome news to weary regulars of the crowded Brooklyn-Manhattan train.
"It's a sweatbox," said Matt Addison of Bushwick during his evening commute home. And even that, he said, was nothing compared to mornings at Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.
"It's like sardines in a can on the train," said Addison. "It's like completely, insanely slammed."
Blythe Caine of Williamsburg said, "You have to kind of squish in, and elbow-to-elbow with people, pushing each other on. I usually get off if it's too crazy."
An extra train will be added between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on weekdays beginning in December. It wasn't immediately clear how the extra weekend trains would be implemented.
State Senator Daniel Squadron of Brooklyn, who helped push for new trains, said, "The MTA has been responsive to our call to actually take a soup-to-nut look at the L line, and actually fix it to meet ridership. That's a good sign for the MTA."
While the MTA maintains the increased service is "just a tweak" in these cash-strapped times, straphangers who will get some new elbow room say it's better than what they're dealing with now: Millions across the city jamming into subways and crowded buses with no relief during their rides.
"I see people literally fighting to get on the train," said Jordana Freydberg. "I see friends who leave 20 minutes early to be on the front line when it comes."