Following Riders Alliance Activism, Elected Officials Ask MTA to Consider Riders’ Requests and Service Issues
Electeds, Riders, Advocates Rally for a Better G Train in Williamsburg
BROOKLYN – State Senators Daniel Squadron and Martin Malavé Dilan called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to undertake a Full-Line Review of the G train as the Senators and Riders Alliance hosted a Rally For A Better G Train with elected officials, transit advocates, and riders this afternoon in Williamsburg.
The G train is a vital lifeline for residents and businesses throughout Brooklyn and Queens, and ridership has significantly increased in recent years. The MTA recently made permanent the line’s extension to Church Avenue, a major improvement for riders.
However, G train riders still face a number of challenges -- highlighted by the Riders Alliance’s recent petition campaign and on their website -- regarding the frequency of trains, communication with riders on issues like service changes and disruptions, and the lack of free out-of-system transfers.
In a letter sent today to the MTA’s interim president, Thomas Prendergast, Senators Squadron and Dilan urged the agency to conduct a Full-Line Review of the G line’s performance – as the MTA has done with the F and the L lines in the past -- including the issues above and overall schedules and ridership on weekdays and weekends, with the goal of creating a schedule that is more reflective of ridership patterns.
In recent years, Senator Squadron worked with the MTA to create the first-of-their-kind Full-Line Reviews of the F and the L trains. Those reviews resulted in more frequent and on-time trains and newer and cleaner subway cars along the F line beginning in 2009, and increased service along the L line beginning in the summer of 2012.
Senator Dilan is the ranking member of the Senate Transportation Committee. In his role as ranker he has strongly advocated for funding parity to New York City Transit and the continued investment in transit infrastructure. He has also supported efforts to mitigate service cuts and fare increases.
The Riders Alliance is a grassroots membership organization of subway and bus riders working neighborhood-by-neighborhood to improve transit service.
Senator Daniel Squadron said, “If there were a grade after F it would be G -- and that's what many riders would give the G train. As the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods surrounding the G continue to grow, their lifeline must grow with them. Working together in the past, we've been able to make dramatic improvements throughout the system: first-of-their-kind Full Line Reviews that led to better F and L train service, and the permanent extension of the G. I'm looking forward to continuing to work together with the MTA, advocates like the Riders Alliance, my colleagues, and our community to ensure the reliable service G riders deserve.”
Senator Martin Malavé Dilan said, "After calls to expand weekend L services to Williamsburg were made in 2011, the MTA discovered that transit riders are a reliable resource and know a thing or two about what improvements can be made, and where. These suggestions are worth looking into. And I hope the G Line can share the same success that came of the working relationship between the MTA and L riders last year."
John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, said, "Sometimes the G train can feel like the odd man out, but that doesn't mean it's not important to thousands of people who rely on it every day. Riding the G can be frustrating, especially if you don't know when it's coming, and don't know where it will stop, and can't transfer for free to other trains that pass within a few short blocks. We're asking the MTA to partner with riders to make some common-sense improvements to G train service, and we appreciate that Senator Squadron and Senator Dilan are focusing some attention on this very important train."
Tolani Adeboye, a member of the Riders Alliance, said, "I live in Bed-Stuy and take the G train every day to get to work. Sometimes it feels like we have to plan our whole lives around the train frequency because we never know when it's going to come. Our neighborhood is growing, and we deserve a train that really meets our needs. That's why I joined the Riders Alliance, because it's an opportunity to get together with other G train riders and demand better service."
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens) said, “I stand with New Yorkers asking the MTA to review G train service to see how it can best serve those riding the line within and between Brooklyn and Queens. It’s a vital lifeline of our city, and it needs to run frequently, on-time and with convenient access for transfers to other lines in order to best serve its ridership.”
Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) said, “Residents of both Brooklyn and Queens rely on the G train to commute to work or simply travel within the city. Riders who use this line deserve the same level of service as other areas throughout the city.”
Senator Michael Gianaris said, “Constant service disruptions, a lack of service change notifications and increased commuter expenses due to limited free transfers make clear that the MTA treats the G train like the ugly duckling of the MTA system. As the only train that directly connects Queens and Brooklyn, the G is a lifeline for those New Yorkers who travel between the two boroughs. It should provide commuters with direct, convenient access between Queens and Brooklyn, rather than forcing travel through Manhattan to get from one borough to the other. I join my colleagues and community leaders in calling on the MTA to conduct a full-line review of this subway line and implement much needed improvements to make the Queens-Brooklyn commute as easy as possible.”
Senator Eric Adams said, "The needs of the New York City workforce must be considered and its voices heard. The extension of service on the G train line, is a step in the right direction, but additional major improvements still must be made. I stand proudly in solidarity with my colleagues Senators Dilan and Squadron, and commend the Riders Alliance for its research and advocacy on behalf of New York City ridership."
"Back when the G train’s service to Queens was cut, it severely limited the ability of Brooklynites to venture into Queens. Now with the population explosion of North Brooklyn, the necessary additions must be made to adapt to the times. The G train is overcrowded, and riders often wait upwards of twenty minutes for the train. The MTA must act now to add cars, as well as increase its frequency. I have heard countless people explain the great lengths they go through to avoid taking the G train, especially during nights and weekends. The full line review will undoubtedly prove that the G train needs to be improved. The G train has always been the ugly step child of the MTA and now it is time for the MTA to step up to the plate and provide the people the service that they deserve," said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol (D-North Brooklyn).
“While I commend the MTA for making permanent the extension of the G line to Church Avenue, providing a transfer at Fourth Avenue to the R train, and giving customers a one-seat ride between Greenpoint/Williamsburg and Windsor Terrace/Kensington, there is still much to be done to bring this vital cross-town route up to par with the rest of the system. The G train is the only line serving some of the fastest growing neighborhoods in New York City without having to pass through the outer borough of Manhattan, but it runs with half the number of cars and number of seats. This means more standing, more running on the platform to catch the train, and more inconvenience. The G also needs more ADA compliance; you can board an elevator at Church Avenue but nowhere else on the route. And we need the MTA to permit free above-ground transfers between the G at Broadway and the J/M line just steps away at Lorimer or Hewes Streets, as well as between the G at Fulton Street and the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q, R, N and D trains two blocks away at Barclays Center,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz.
"As the neighborhoods of Western Queens continue to grow, more and more families and residents will continue to rely on efficient G Train service that can get them to where they need to go," said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the portion of Queens which the G Train services. "The MTA has a responsibility to provide reasonable and quality service to New Yorkers who spend a significant amount of their hard earned dollars each and every single day, especially at a time when every dollar matters to them. As long as our subway systems continue to let us down, I will fight for quality service my constituents deserve."
"NYC Transit promised more frequent and better service for the beleaguered G line when they cut it back to Court Square, from Forest HIlls. To date, that promise has not been kept. It's time for the G line to get the service enhancements it was promised. In light of the incredible business and residential boom in Northern Brooklyn, it's PAST time for better G train service," said Andrew Albert, chair of the NYC Transit Riders Council.
"The G Train is critical to residents and businesses throughout Brooklyn and a key connection for the growing number of workers commuting between Brooklyn and Queens. Everything possible should be done to ensure this important subway line keeps pace with the thriving communities it serves," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.
“The MTA’s recent decision to permanently extend the G line to Church Avenue is great news, but improvements can’t stop there. Growing ridership on and population growth around the G line necessitate more frequent service, easier transfers and improved communications. City and state officials need to work with the MTA so the ‘G’ finally stands for Great,” says Veronica Vanterpool, executive director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
"The G train has gotten the short of the stick for too long. This has always been the case, but the problem of its poor service has been exacerbated as North Brooklyn has become a destination neighborhood. There are around 20,000 more people within Community Board 1 than there were twenty years ago. Transportation improvements simply haven't caught up, and the G train is Exhibit A," said Greg Hanlon, communications manager for St. Nicks Alliance.