The slow train of L trains stumbled out of the gate on Friday night, launching drastic reductions in nights and weekend service with a performance that made many drivers confused, frustrated and confident. The next 15-18 months will be more painful than previously thought.
The problems started at 9:30 pm, only half an hour before the L-Service was set to scheduled 20-minute departures. The trains run only three times an hour. As the gap between the trains began to grow, the countdown clocks jumped over the L-train corridor and showed 41
"Day one, and we're already behind schedule, really ominous," remarked David Dimicelli, who lived in Williamsburg, as he gaped on Bedford Avenue's screen. "I expected it to be pretty awful, but …" The 33-year-old supply chain manager fell silent, then turned to his partner, reminding her that it was not too late to be out of the neighborhood forever to draw.
About 30 minutes later an L-train arrived, but the MTA soon had to take its countdown clocks offline and left the drivers in the dark until just before midnight. And even as the official Twitter account of the subway assured customers they could find real-time service information in the MTA app, this was also on the Fritz. On Saturday night, the app still showed no 8-Avenue L trains.
For many of the city's regular L-drivers – a group that counts 400,000 on a normal day – the reality of the subway was a big shout from the description of the governor of "service that would still work". Crowds were pinned along the mezzanine level along Union Square. In some cases, they were waiting to board an open train, which did not arrive for nearly an hour. Transit workers, who were stationed in large numbers throughout the system, effectively asked customers to take advantage of the extended M, G and 7 service, or the free M14A / D and Williamsburg Link transfers.
Those who stayed had longer waiting times, not only in the stations, but also in unmoved trains. Break times at Union Square appeared to be particularly bad, where the MTA interlocking system meant the Brooklyn service had to wait for the passing train before changing to the shared line to bypass the construction area between 3rd Avenue and Bedford ,
"It's worse than I thought," said Alfredo Fernando, a dishwasher in a restaurant near Union Square. Usually he leaves work at 11pm. Shuttling home to the Graham Avenue station, he said, and had not seriously considered using other alternatives. "This will be a total disaster for me."
27 minutes have passed since the last train. The station leader of the group (Shan) drives the car to the people that it takes another 5-10 minutes. Above, a number of people are waiting for the next train pic.twitter.com/iSnikL4wuo
– Jake Offenhartz April 27, 2019
The ubiquitous showtime dancers of the L-train were Bummed the service reductions as well. "This is really a mess for us," said Danny "DocSmooth" Cruz, a resident of the Bronx. Realizing that he would probably have to play on a new line, he complained that he had taken the L for granted for so long. "This is the train here, here it is really."
Several drivers found that they were impressed by the efforts of the MTA in human communication. In addition to the strong police presence, hundreds of transit workers – their orange waistcoats dressed in light pink "buttons, ask me about the L project" – were distributed to stations that distributed literature and did their best to answer questions. Among them was New York transit president Andy Byford, who spent most of his nightly walks. The platform asked New Yorkers where they were going and whether they knew about alternative service options.
A handful of workers also reiterated their own concerns about the safety of the redesigned L-Train project, which some employees might fear and drivers to carcinogenic silica fume. "It's getting dusty here," said an MTA employee behind a face mask. When asked if he was worried about air quality during the downturn, he replied, "I would not be a mask if I were not."
The MTA in turn has the fears of dust from the construction on the damaged one Bank wall referred to as "outrageous and wrong". The agency has also promised to make the results of air quality monitoring available to the public, although it is not clear when or where this information will be published.
New Yorkers work together. Without a countdown clock, they wonder how long they have been waiting for the L-train to figure out when the last train came. MTA workers suggest releasing the free shuttle bus. @ NY1 pic.twitter.com/9BfKkAa28m
– Van Tieu [@ Van_Tieu] April 27, 2019
However, some drivers said the reduced service was an improvement over the previous one Plan that would have completely closed the tunnel for 15 months. Kristi Maroutas, a 30-year sales manager who moved to Williamsburg last month from Southold, Long Island, said she did not understand why people freaked out, "If you're in a hurry, just take an Uber are just happy that it's open at all. "
According to supporters of the transit, the slowdown in slowdown fears that L-train drivers will be dealing with carpools in bulk, resulting in a congestion that forces bus traffic and traffic slowed down More and more people give up on public transport. At least half a dozen riders told Gothamist on Friday night that they would probably be commissioning car services between Manhattan and Brooklyn much more often.
As the crowd around Union Square subsided at midnight, Byford explained to Gothamist that he was proud of how the MTA had handled the first night of slowdown, even though there were some "learning points".
"The whole point is continuous improvement," he added. "While Friday is intense for a short time, we are busy [on Saturday] all day, and I think tomorrow will be the bigger test."