Guest Op-Ed: Holding the MTA Accountable

If you live in southwest Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, the R train is your lifeline – and the Montague Street Tunnel is the critical link that carries the R under the East River between the two boroughs.

As you may recall, the tunnel suffered severe damage during Hurricane Sandy after it was flooded with nearly 30 million gallons of water. As a result, the integral passage was shuttered while a complete reconstruction was completed.

But you rose to the occasion and you were patient; you made do without the tunnel for nearly a year. The tunnel reopened to much fanfare one month ahead of schedule in September of 2014.

Unfortunately, many of you have told me that the R is now worse than ever – even worse than it was while the tunnel was closed! I find this not only to be puzzling and absurd but completely unacceptable.

Hearing your concerns, towards the end of last year, I called on the MTA to conduct a full audit of the R line post-Montague Street Tunnel repairs. I called on the MTA to address numerous complaints of late trains, inadequate service, and the unexplained use of old subway cars on the route.

I told the MTA that riders are being left with old trains that are overcrowded and significantly behind schedule and, plain and simple, we deserve better!

The MTA responded by saying they don’t have the resources at the moment to conduct a full line audit of the R; however, they did say they were in the process of “revising the weekday schedules” on all of their subway lines to “better reflect current operating conditions.

The MTA claims these revisions will include improvements to our beloved R line. You can read the entire MTA response on my Facebook page and I welcome your comments.

I will make sure the MTA takes serious steps to improve the service on the R train line, but I need your help. I want to hear from you. I want to hear about your experiences on R line before and after the Montague Street Tunnel closure. Has your commute gotten better or worse? Please write or call my office and tell me your stories.

With fares on the rise and service on the decline, it’s about time the MTA steps up its game and starts giving us all the service we pay for and deserve!

You can contact Councilmember Gentile’s office by calling 718-748-5200 or via email at [email protected].

Councilmember Vincent Gentile represents the 43rd Council District.

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