Local pol fights to reboot the R line

R should stand for relief, according to Councilmember Vincent Gentile, a Bay Ridge pol still frustrated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s lack of response to Ridgeites’ complaints about prolonged wait times since the long-awaited reopening of the Montague Tunnel in September.

In October, the councilmember called on the MTA to conduct a full audit of the R line to which the MTA has responded that the delay can be blamed, in part, on the restored route.

“Short subway lines tend to be more reliable than long subway lines, and the R was no exception during the Montague Tunnel closure,” wrote New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco in a letter to the councilmember dated December 31. “The reopening of the Montague Tunnel returned R service to its normal route between Bay Ridge and Forest Hills, Queens, a considerably longer trip than the service operated between Bay Ridge and Downtown Brooklyn while the tunnel was closed for repairs.”

The MTA’s hands are currently tied, according to Bianco, as the agency is currently conducting a full line review of the A and C lines and “do[es] not have the resources to devote to a concurrent R line review.”

Still, she said, it will continue to monitor line ridership, “adjust schedules where feasible” and consider the request in the future – a response that isn’t sitting so well with Gentile.

“I have heard from many riders that service on the R after the Montague Street tunnel reopened is actually worse than it was during the time when the tunnel was closed – and that is just ridiculous and makes absolutely no sense,” said the Bay Ridge pol. “My office has received numerous complaints – not only of late trains and inadequate service – but of missed connections and the use of older subway cars on the route.”

Riders, he said are being left with trains that are both old and overcrowded.

“I will do everything in my power to hold the MTA accountable for inadequate service and improve R train service for riders in my district,” said Gentile, asking constituents to share their stories on Facebook, in hopes of convincing the MTA to reconsider.

“It has been worse,” wrote Facebook user John Wood in response asserting that service was “definitely” faster before the tunnel’s reopening. “It seem[s] that there are longer wait times to and from work.”

Resident Matthew Kabel maintained that rush hour morning service has been “pretty solid” but the buck stops at the evening commute.

“There is a consistent delay in getting an R train at 59th Street during the evening commute,” he wrote, arguing that there are three to four Ns before an R arrives. “This happened [three] times last week. Prior to the tunnel reopening, the service was much more reliable.”

“The mornings seem to be smooth but in the evenings, there just are not enough Rs moving through South Brooklyn,” agreed Facebook user Alaric Hahn, who says he waits at 36th Street for 10 to 15 minutes on a regular basis during rush hour. “I used to get home just before 7 [p.m.] (when the tunnel was closed), and now am getting home no earlier than 7:20 pm.”

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