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Van Bramer Lambasts MTA Over 7 Train Weekday Service, MTA Pushes Back

Tara Turtell

Tara Turtell

March 11, 2015 By Christian Murray

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer took off the gloves this morning and threw a volley of punches at the MTA concerning its No. 7 train weekday service.

Van Bramer, who was joined by several disgruntled 7 train riders, held a rally at the 40th Street station this morning and said that weekday service had fallen to a new low.

He said that rush-hour commuters have had to contend with trains breaking down, signal malfunctions and overcrowded platforms that have put people’s lives at risk.

“Queens riders are fed up with poor 7 train service,” he said. “Riders are paying for a service that is poor, inconsistent and just plain late.”

He said that the level of service was “outrageous, potentially dangerous and disgraceful.” He said that the MTA, a state-run agency, was not being held accountable and that its standard excuse that ‘it will get better one day’ was inadequate to commuters who have to get to work on time.

He called on the MTA to publicly release detailed information about every disruption (during rush hour) over the last year and to respond to angry riders at a town hall meeting.

But the MTA pushed back. “We will be more than happy to look at the data but what does that accomplish?” wrote Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, in an e-mail. “To confirm what we already know?”

“We are already working hard to make the 7 line more reliable by installing a new signal system, thousands of feet of track panels and making Sandy-related repairs—all vital work to improve service on the line.”

“We understand that these service disruptions are inconvenient to our customers who depend on the No. 7 line and we appreciate their patience.”

But Tara Turtell, one of several angry riders, wasn’t so patient with the MTA recently when she waited in the freezing cold on the 40th Street platform for over 45 minutes. She said that 10 trains came through the station, which were too packed for anyone to board.

Turtell said she got to work an hour late and that she was so cold that she was unable to E-mail her boss as to her delay.

“Unfortunately that was just one of many times the 7 train has made me excessively late to work. When I complain to the MTA all I hear are halfhearted apologies and absolutely no desire to improve, which makes the situation that much more frustrating,” she said.

Van Bramer said that the MTA’s response to the community has been inadequate.

He said that he sent the MTA a letter on Dec. 12 following another period when his constituents were complaining about weekday service.

Van Bramer said he received a response two months later and the MTA wrote that over the course of the past 12 months “there were periods where delays and incidents have spiked.”

Furthermore, Van Bramer said, the MTA stated in that letter that the No. 7 train outperformed the entire subway system as a whole with fewer delays on average.

Van Bramer said that the MTA had promised the community that it would receive improved weekday service—in return for the hardship caused by the weekend outages.

“My question to the MTA: why then has it sunk to new lows over the last four months?’”

But the MTA struck back claiming that Van Bramer was getting in the way of progress by trying to postpone No. 7 train weekend work for events such as the St. Pat’s for All parade.

“It is disingenuous of the councilman to request on several occasions that we postpone work on the 7 line then hold a rally to complain about service,” Ortiz wrote.

Despite the MTAs claims, Pat O’Brien, the chairman of Community Board 2, said the level of service has been unacceptable. “The MTA may call it the 7 line but for all of us it is our life line—to get to work, school and doctor’s appointments.”

 

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45 Comments

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Don Kedek

With communities along the 7 line growing at a fast pace with no end in sight the only real solution to this problem (especially if the Sunnyside Yards are built over) is to retrofit the entire line. This would mean widening the span to add more track or another deck of track over the existing track. Another tunnel under the East River would have to be built. These are major fixes, you think its a nightmare now.

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MTA knows the deal

Sadly, Kevin Ortiz is playing a game with JVB and all of the commuters. He needs training on how to manage public relations. He’s like Marcia Clark, ‘nanner nanner, neener neener’ – ‘Dude, you can’t ask us to stop weekend work during the parade and then get mad that the work isnt done. So there.’ Instead, he should reasonably state that the 7 train has trains running every x minutes during rush hour and is over-capacity. If any delay occurs – be it debris, signal or otherwise – the entire system is affected. We understand your concerns and ask all commuters to blah blah blah. But he’d rather fight.
We need to stand up and refuse to pay this increase. Who’s with me?

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Pete

Mr. Ortiz’s response is snide, condescending, and typical of the perceived bureaucratic disconnect of the MTA. He should understand that the MTA’s unpopularity is only compounded by such a comment.

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A.Bundy

fact: the MTA makes 30 million dollars a DAY! 6 million riders x $5 every day! yet here we are with a system that is a century old and functions like day one…rattling and nothing but problems. what is the MTA doing with $30 million a day? that’s what i want to know! i think a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit is in order. people need to get their money back for piss-poor service.

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Sunnyside-resident

I agree. We should all tally up how much revenue we’ve lost. Take the number of hours late and multiply by $ per hour. Send them a bill.

But seriously I would like to hear from a lawyer if there is grounds for a law suit.

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Dude

Unfortunately for Mr. Ortiz, his Twitter handle is public. I know who I am going to send a tweet to every time the #7 is delayed…

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rikki

Hey Everyone,
I want to apologize for being such a midget dick. I’ve had a rough couple of days because of the 7 train service. I don’t mean the things I say. I am just looking for attention because even my dog hates my guts. Again. I’m sorry. Sincerely, rikki

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Med

It is currently 10:18 p.m. If you look at the status of the system right now, you’ll find the 1 2 3 7 A C E B D F M lines all delayed because of the popular “signal problems.”

Earlier today, all of these lines had “Planned Work.” Now they are all delayed with the same excuse. Maybe it’s a coincidence.

To the person who said they can only work two days a week on fixing issues, and have been for at least a “year.” I’ve lived in the area for 14 years now. I can honestly tell you, I can’t remember when the trains WERE running normally on the weekends. It’s most certainly been longer than a year.

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A.Bundy

they slow down the system because contract negotiations are up and they want to show how much they matter when they really don’t. time for a class action lawsuit. sue sue SUE! demand your money back!

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anon

You do realize that many of the men that you see working on a track job are outside vendors and not members of any transit union, or do you base your attacks on unions out of a shared sense of stupidity and jealousy. If you want the job take the test dumb ass. While I agree that the supposed improvements on the 7 line over the last 15 years are a joke, blaming rank and file TWU members is rank bullshit. They are not Irish and Chinese work gangs building a railroad in the 1800s, one person may an engineer, the next an electrician, the next something else. So take your anti-union bullshit an shove it up your ass. I gave up on the 7 train when I worked 4-12 because the MTA would routinely lie about late night service. This was done by senior managers. The operators at the old MTA phone line knew nothing about it. They would tell you the 7 was running even if it was not, (if we don’t admit the trains were not running then we are still the best line in the city.)

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Jamal

Cannot wait till CBTC comes so these people can stop their bitching. People obviously don’t know what its like running a 24/7 subway system.

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The grand wizard

JVB is a two faced Wiesel. She needs to hide behind the neighborhood for protection but she would never do this on her own. She’s always looking for attention from the media but yet she agrees to build more housing than jumps on the 7 train being slow during rush hour???i
Pick a side Hilary and stick to it or go home put on your dress and go dancing. Sissy.

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OldenDays

is it just me or is the “Like/Dislike” buttons broken? i was expecting so many likes on my last comment (joking).

anyways while the Dislike button is broken i’ll take this opportunity to say that the 6 is the worst train in the whole system, yes it is WORSE THAN THE 7. anyone who is complaining this much about the 7 probably has never had to commute on the 6. for five years i had to take the 7 AND the 6, really put things into perspective. the 7 goes down on the weekends but even when the 6 is running normally it’s the worst train. the 2nd ave subway is sorely needed to relieve overcrowding on the 4-5-6, even if it costs infinity dollars

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La Ma.

Agreed! I take the R to the 4 every morning and I am amazed that the MTA still refers to the 4 and 5 as “express”. They are anything but. The 6 is even worse than that. I take the 7 in the evening to avoid 59th street station. It is a clusterfuck, especially since the 4 and 5 almost never work at that time. The 7 has been good in the evening rush, but you couldn’t pay me enough to take it in the morning. I’ve moved, so I don’t have to deal with it on the weekends but when I lived in Sunnyside (for 6 years), the Q32 and Q60 were me salvation. They were on many, many mornings, too, when I managed to wedge myself on one.

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i

Remember that thing called weekend construction that’s been happening for a year at least? THEY’RE FIXING IT. If you can only work on a hundred year old system two days a week, and it has to run a train every 5 minutes for 5 days after that, how quickly can the system be repaired??

This is overcrowding due to high rent pushing everyone to the outer boroughs. Bitch at Albany for not funding the MTA enough. Complain to the developers building skyrise overpriced housing where there is no infrastructure to support it. Stop bitching about this amazing system we have and leave your house 15 mins earlier.

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La Ma.

You haven’t lived around here long, have you? Also, you really think the MTA only has 2 days a week to fix it? You don’t look ouitside your own world very much, do you?

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40th St

Thank you Jimmy Van Bramer for standing up for Sunnyside! I have definitely experienced these problems with the 7 this winter, and it has made my commute stressful. The MTA is not providing good answers and I find their response disrespectful. We need to keep demanding better service as they keep raising the fare rates… They don’t seem to understand that neighborhoods like Sunnyside ONLY have the 7 train to rely on, unless you want to take a bus (shudder).

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Sunnysider

And Di Blasio wants to roughly double the size of the neighborhood by decking over the Sunnyside Yards. Apparently he thinks “If you build it they will come” applies to transportation and other infrastructure too… all without anyone’s planning.

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Lou Minatti

If you really wanted to make a statement you should have done this at 6:00pm so more people could’ve attended. It looks like 30 people were there.

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Jake M

I get why it was at 8am. Catch the subway when it’s at it’s busiest. A lot of people need to get to work and that’s fine, but a lot can stick around for a couple minutes. Plus they everyone walking by catches a glimpse.

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Rikki is an idiot

The only one dumber than Rikki is the TA stooge Kevin Ortiz. I can deal with the weekend mess if handled properly but what about the constant problems during the week. Fires, signal problems, sick passengers, debris on the tracks, police investigations, door problems, emergency brakes pulled. Is there someone that analyzes these problems when they happen to determine a solution to getting the trains going quicker. No there isn’t. This so called greatest city in the world has the worst transportation system in the world. And why does he keep invoking hurricane Sandy regarding 7 problems. Does that have anything to do with fires?At least Jimmy V. Did something.

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rikki

oh boo hoo hoo tara….you chose to get a job and have to use the 7 at that time………..what happened to personal responsibility…..and thinking outside the box?

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paula

It is kind of hard to take anyone who says, “You *chose* to take a job….” seriously.

That’s it, Tara! how could you not have realized that the best resolution to your problem is STOP HAVING A JOB. Quit yer bitchin’ until you quit yer workin’.
(obvs sarcasm)

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Jake M

Stop giving rikki attention. He/she is clearly trying to get a rise and it’s dominating the feed. No one could possibly this this stupid.

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Hello

Yesterday for example, I took the train at noon to get to an appointment but guess what… There was track work between 10am-3pm and the 7 was skipping several stops! Once again, it doesn’t matter what your work hours are.. The 7 train sucks!

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Hello

I was replying to Rikki who always makes a statement that people need to adjust their work hours from the standard 9-5. Pretty much shows it doesn’t matter what time you try to get anywhere with the 7, there’s always an issue.

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AUDIT THE MTA

Audit the MTA. CEASE WORK ON THE USELESS 2nd Ave Subway. MORE TRAINS ON THE 7 FOR US!
OR
We Start jumping the turnstiles!!!

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SuperWittySmitty

Why is the second Avenue subway useless? It’s a heavily congested part of Manhattan and the 6,5,& 4 trains are already packed to capacity.

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Jason

Delays are happening all over the system due to signal problems, overcrowding, etc. It is a system that is more than a century old with a just as old signal system that they have to custom furnish parts in-house. A system that is perpetually underfunded and treated like an overworked mule. It is a wonder it works at all.

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Rikki is an idiot

Good point. This country always has enough money for wars but never for infrastructure.

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Craic Dealer

What we’re confirming is that the MTA should be privatized and should belong to the hands of the people that use it. Not corrupt politicians in Albany.

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OldenDays

the subways started out privatized (IRT, BMT, etc.), and it was even more of a disaster than it is now. i think it should stay public but be run entirely by NYC, i don’t see any reason why the METROPOLITAN transit authority should have anything to do with albany.

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anon

The private disaster was created by the city. The private subway companies were not allowed to raise the nickel fare and the city and state did not pay the subsidy that would be needed to keep this low fare. The fare stayed the same from 1904 – 1948, and it wrecked the system.

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OldenDays

that wasn’t the only problem. there was a ton of others. the private subway companies were always competing against each other, and you couldn’t transfer between lines without paying again. service was at least as bad as today, and there was just as little incentive for them to do better. i can’t think of any other major city that has a privatized transit system, the idea is absurd. you’d be paying 3x as much for the same crappy service.

if you think it was better with private companies, here’s a political cartoon from 1905. “3 hours to Harlem…Trains run at Co.’s convenience.” it’s the same as today. the idea that a private company could run this system any better is ludicrous.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_New_York_City_Subway#/media/File:Interborough_Rattled_Transit_Restored.png

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anon

Never said private was better, I said the city and state insistence on keeping a politically motivated unsustainable fare wrecked the system. There are several excellent books on the history of the transit system that offer far more insight than wiki. Speaking of books “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and The Fall of New York” should be required reading for every high school student. This way they could learn early that all politicians are crooked even the ones that are “cash honest”.

OldenDays

anon – the power broker is an excellent book. it’s painful to think what NYC could have been if there were someone around at the time who could really check his influence. i’m no expert on transit history, but i know he is largely to blame for how fragile the system still is now.

that being said, that was kind of my point in posting the cartoon from 1905. that was before RM had any influence, and so long ago that the nickel fare still should have been adequate. and it was still a mess. so i would say the nickel fare was a big problem, but other problems predate it, and are probably inherent to letting private companies run a bunch of competing lines. again i am no transit historian, but i do believe in “natural monopolies” like utility companies, mail carriers, and transit systems. doesn’t mean it’s ideal, but it’s better than the alternative.

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