Proposed N train change could spell relief for R riders

Relief may finally be on the way for R train riders.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced late last month that the proposed reinstatement of the W train (connecting Queens to Manhattan), would, in turn, allow the N train to operate “express in Manhattan on weekdays during peak hours, midday and evenings” – an alteration that would also allow for the N and the R to run on separate tracks during those hours.

The express route, the agency said, would be in effect both southbound and northbound between 34th Street and Canal Street, and is something Councilmember Vincent Gentile and colleagues have been calling for for some time.

“R train riders would finally have the option to avoid their laborious odyssey through Manhattan by transferring to the N,” explained Gentile, who, at a December 11 rally, provided the MTA with a slew of suggestions as to how it can better R train service. “Moreover, taking N trains off the R track in Manhattan would result in less traffic congestion for R train riders.”

If approved, these service changes will be implemented in the fall of this year.

However, Gentile said, there is more work to be done.

“I still await a confirmation of an R line review,” said the local pol. “While the MTA has communicated to me that the Second Avenue subway service change could positively affect the R train’s tortoise paced service, I am having great difficulty in understanding this correlation.

“The reasoning behind the Full Line Review that I requested with State Senator [Daniel] Squadron and over 40 legislators, was to analyze the R train operation in order to identify changes that must be made to improve it,” he went on. “All I ask is for the R line to be reviewed so that the MTA can begin to identify and rectify issues with the line so that R Train riders can move closer to an improved commute.”

That, however, doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon. According to MTA Spokesperson Kevin Ortiz, the MTA is “focusing the next series of line reviews on the numbered lines.”

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