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Queens Chronicle

7 train critics don’t buy report’s ranking

But those who take the A line agree it’s the worst in the five boroughs

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Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2017 10:30 am

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) had a simple response to the Straphangers Campaign’s annual report ranking the 7 train as tied for best in the city.

“If the 7 train is the best line in the city, the state of our subways is truly a disgrace,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “The 7 train is regularly delayed and overcrowded, and many of the stations are falling apart.”

The Straphangers report, released Dec. 29, said the 7 came in a three-way tie for first, along with the 1 and the L.

Meanwhile, the A train tied with the 5 for the worst lines.

The report ranks the lines with a MetroCard rating — the 7 got $2.05 and the A received a $1.50. A subway line could theoretically receive a top rating of $2.75, the price of a single ride.

The lines were ranked after the group reviewed New York City Transit data including cleanliness, subway car breakdowns, how crowded it is and service provided during morning and evening rush hours.

The report noted the 7 — which originates in Flushing and runs through Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside and LIC before going into Manhattan and terminating at 34th Street-Hudson Yards — had “less frequent subway car breakdowns than the average subway line and the greatest percent of clean subway car interiors,” with a near perfect score of 99 percent.

Responding to the study, Van Bramer said the 7 breaks down “all too often” and that commuters are left stranded.

“Millions of New Yorkers rely on our subways every day — but all too often, riders are denied the service they deserve,” he said. “We must invest in our subways so New Yorkers can count on the trains to get them where they need to go.”

The MTA did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Melissa Orlando, a Sunnyside resident who founded the group 7 Train Blues, not only disagreed with the findings but with the methodology utilized by the Straphangers Campaign.

“The report uses data from the MTA, which we know does not accurately reflect the reality of the commuters,” she said in a Tuesday interview.

One such difference in the reality she observes and the one reflected in the report is the minutes between trains during rush hours.

The report states there are 2 minutes and 30 seconds between trains in the morning rush hour, but Orlando says she’s been there when it takes more than six for another to come by.

“Which is still not bad but it’s not what they’re telling us,” she said.

Echoing Van Bramer’s comments, the transportation advocate said the 7 breaks down too often and is frequently overcrowded. The 7 and Q tied at 14 out of 20 for degree of crowding, from least to most. The R was the least crowded train and the 4 was the most overcrowded.

Orlando’s group — founded shortly after Mayor de Blasio proposed placing residential developments above Sunnyside Yards in an effort to chronicle commuters’ frustrations with the line — this year will collect its own data to put out a report on the 7.

While there were differing opinions on that line’s ranking, nobody disagreed with the straphangers’ assessment of the A.

“I think the report shows what we’ve been experiencing all along,” said Mike Scala, a frequent rider of the line and first vice-president of the Queens Public Transit Committee. “It’s been unreliable for as long as I can remember.”

The A — which runs from Far Rockaway through Broad Channel, Howard Beach and parts of Ozone Park and Richmond Hill on its way to the top of Manhattan — was previously ranked the worst in 1999.

Among the issues with the line, according to the report, is infrequent midday service and an above-average breakdown rate.

It was the third-worst for regularity of service, ranked ninth for degree of crowding and tied for 10th, with the 2, for the amount of scheduled service.

Citing the infrequent service, Scala said the area deserves more transportation options — such as restoring the defunct Rockaway Beach Rail Line.

He also said the restoration of ferry service in Rockaway, planned for later this year, will help alleviate some of the frustrations of South Queens commuters.

But the fact that the A train — and so many others — are already overstressed may prevent the Rockaway Beach Rail Line’s restoration from becoming a reality, at least according to state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr.’s conversation with the MTA.

“This is why the MTA turns to me and says, ‘How can we do this?’” said Addabbo (D-Howard Beach). “This is a conversation we frequently have with the MTA.”

The senator added that while some improvements have been made to the A, specifically in the Ozone Park and Richmond Hill areas, there is still more work to be done.

“The MTA understands it’s a very popular, very stressed out line,” he said. “They do understand that it needs to be addressed.”

Maria Asaro, a member of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association and a frequent A train rider, has been on the line many times when it’s stayed in a station for several minutes.

“It’s always a monetary consequence on the commuter,” she said.

Asaro said the line could benefit from some policing, especially when it comes to people holding doors open and keeping the cars from moving to the next stop.

The A train came in a three-way tie at 12th for interior cleanliness — along with the C and E.

The cleanliness of the Howard Beach-JFK Airport station was once a concern but Asaro said that has since subsided thanks to an increased number of garbage bins funded by Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) at the request of the civic.

“It’s been really immaculate or close to it,” she said. “I have to say they’re really being utilized.”

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1 comment:

  • pvaldezriverajr posted at 6:24 pm on Thu, Jan 5, 2017.

    pvaldezriverajr Posts: 292

    No matter the report, the 7 train is still overcrowded, still delayed and still unreliable, despite more people are moving to newer residential buildings along the 7. As for the A train, I am not surprised there that there are delays and It is very dirty because these subway cars on the A train are very old. [angry]