Sept. 25, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The MTA will be adding trains to the 7 line beginning next year to meet increased ridership once L train service shuts down between Brooklyn and Manhattan, the agency announced yesterday.
The service increase will begin in April 2019, the same time the Canarsie tunnel connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan is set to close, and will go through the 15 months of scheduled repair work for the tunnel.
Riders will notice increased 7 train frequency during weekday mornings and evenings—five round trips will be added between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., and nine round trips will be added between 5:30 p.m. and midnight.
The 7 line, for example, sees 12 scheduled Manhattan-bound trips between 8 a.m. and 8:29 a.m. on weekdays, with an average headway of about 2.5 minutes. With the new measures, two additional trips will be added during this time frame, making for a total of 14 trips. The average headway would decrease to 2.1 minutes.
The added trips will also help with crowding. An average of 111 riders are currently observed in one 7 line car during 8 a.m. and 8:29 a.m., but the MTA is projecting that number to drop to 95 once the measures are in place.
The additional trips will especially help accommodate the surge in displaced L train riders heading to the Court Square station in Long Island City from Brooklyn.
“It’s extremely important for us to get the subway service alternatives right during the L tunnel reconstruction project, because we plan to accommodate up to 80 percent of diverted riders on other subway lines,” said MTA NYC Transit president Andy Byford. “By adding service on the 7 line to prepare for more customers, we’re making sure that once the tunnel work begins, Brooklyn riders can get to where they need to go while Queens customers get the service they depend on.”
Apart from the 7 line, the 6 line will also see a total of two additional round trips during weekday peak commuting hours.
MTA documents show that average ridership volumes on the 7 line already warrant four additional round trips in peak morning and evening hours. Projected ridership on the line for the L tunnel closure, however, warrants an additional 14 round trips.
The changes to the 7 and 6 lines come at a cost of $3 million annually. The cost of 10 of the additional 14 round trips on the 7 line cost about $1.7 million annually, and is included in the L tunnel’s reconstruction budget. The remaining cost for added service, meanwhile, is included in the 2019 operating budget.
The MTA projects that the L tunnel closure will affect more than 400,000 daily riders of the route, with the bulk of riders opting to use other subway lines like the G, J, M, and Z to get around.
The agency has been holding periodic town halls and community board meetings since the beginning of this year to inform and gather feedback from the the public on mitigation measures for the tunnel’s closure.