South Brooklyn residents are calling foul on the poor conditions and slow service on the R line.
William Robb, a Bay Ridge resident for nearly 13 years, complained to this paper that several stops along the route, including the 59th Street and 95th Street stations, have been filthy for years, and nothing has been done to remedy the situation.
“I’ve lived here since 2003 and it’s always been this way,” explained Robb, who took photos of the poor conditions, which include broken bathrooms, gum all over the platform and leaking ceilings. “I feel like we in South Brooklyn have been overlooked, especially by the Bloomberg administration, because all of the improvements he made, with the exception of the Barclays Center, were made in Manhattan.”
Robb said he has noticed a stark contrast between the condition of stations in his neighborhood and those in Manhattan. “The tiles and floors are clean [in Manhattan],” he said. “There’s no chewing gum on all the lines that tourists would use. Then you go to some of these stations (in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge) and it’s squalid.”
One of the dirtier stops, according to Robb, is the 59th Street Station in Sunset Park. “That station is just a disgrace,” he contended. “The walls are rusted, and there’s mildew on both the inbound and outbound sides. We are not getting our fair share in this part of Brooklyn.”
Robb also cited the 95th Street station as being in poor condition. “In many ways, it is the worst because it’s the last stop where employees are supposed to clean the cars, platforms and get rust off walls,” he said. “But I’ve seen them sitting around talking. They’ll sweep a little bit of the train and then a lot of them just congregate.”
Service has also slowed down following the repairs made on damage from Superstorm Sandy, Robb contended. “The times between trains — and I’ve heard other people say this — have gotten longer since the tube was fixed, especially during weekends,” he asserted.
Given the litany of woes, Robb decided to take action. “About four years ago, I wrote a long letter to then-Mayor Bloomberg describing the different defects in the system and the problems everyone has had in the neighborhood,” he reported.
Although an aide to the former mayor replied and told Robb that the administration was aware of the situation and would do what it could to fix it, not much change was made, he said. “I wanted to take photos of all the filth,” he said of the numerous photos he had submitted to this paper depicting the dire condition of the stations along the R line. “The pictures speak for themselves. “
More recently, Robb contacted Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who has long been a proponent of fixing the messy situation, and who is poised to take action.
“In general, we are collecting riders’ input on the R train,” Gentile said. “Once the budget process is over, we will focus over the summer and deal with individual issues, such as maintenance and service. We invited riders to complain in our newsletter and we want them to let us know about the problems they see. This is not a fight won over night.”
By press time, the MTA had not responded to a request for comment.