According to some local R train riders, the much anticipated Second Avenue Subway line’s opening might already be causing them more grief than good.
While long wait times and delays are nothing new for south Brooklyn riders who utilize the line daily, the reinstatement of the W train line – brought back in advance of the new Second Avenue Subway – was reportedly causing longer wait times for R trains due to a shared track, straphangers claimed.
“It’s adding insult to injury because the R line already suffers from delays and this only makes things worse,” former councilmember and mayoral hopeful Sal Albanese, who rides the R on a regular basis, told this paper. “Although the [MTA says] that the addition of the W only delays things for about a minute or so, according to their spokespeople, if the R line was on time on a regular basis that wouldn’t be a problem.”
An MTA spokesperson, however, told this paper that “these delays have nothing to do with the Second Avenue Subway line.”
“There have been specific random incidents that have caused delays – those include a customer who jumped in front of a train, sick customers, a signal problem and other routine rail conditions,” the spokesperson said. “In one case, a broken branch on the Sea Beach N line in Brooklyn and an N train that lost power at Coney Island caused extensive delays in N service during the morning rush hour, which in turn led to crowding and delays in R service. Again, the delays were caused by incidents and not the reintroduction of the W train.”
Though, coming in first out of 24 lines for the largest decline in performance in the last year, according to reports released this past summer, the R’s slackening performance has been underwhelming straphangers for quite some time, in turn causing local elects to feverishly petition for express R train service.
“These are frightening numbers,” Councilmember Vincent Gentile said in April, stressing that the R line is down 20 percent in its performance for the period between March, 2015 and February, 2016 – compared to the same time period a year earlier. “At least, it’s first in something. This past February, out of 50,277 citywide delays, 19,118 were caused by overcrowding. The time is now for the MTA to keep pace with the surge in ridership with nearly 1.8 billion riders hitting the turnstiles across the city led by Brooklyn’s growing population.”
According to Albanese, the MTA clocks slightly more than half of R trains as arriving on time and that, more often than not, the trains are packed with people.
“You feel like a sardine jammed in there so [these waits] only make things worse,” Albanese said of the recent delays. “I’m happy the [Second Avenue Subway] service is finally going on line. [However], certainly when it comes to the R line, the transit authority has to make an extra effort to makes sure that service is not impacted more than it is normally.”