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MTA’s long-term solution to No. 7 train overcrowding, two extra trains per hour

VernonirtstairlarApril 21, 2015 By Christian Murray

Ridership of the No. 7 train at the Vernon-Jackson and Court Square stations continues to surge and the MTA plans to alleviate the problem through the addition of two trains per hour.

The MTA is currently working on a new communications system (known as CBTC) that will ultimately add two trains per hour—from 27 to 29 trains during rush hour, said MTA President Carmen Bianco at a town hall meeting in Hunters Point last year.

The MTA also told the state senate in 2009 that the CBTC system would bring two extra trains per hour–prior to construction.

“Relief of Overcrowding Service on the Flushing line is currently limited to 27 trains per hour…,” the MTA told the state senate (page 11). “The combination of CBTC and the 7 West extension will enable a service increase of two additional trains per hour, a 7% increase in capacity.”

The MTA didn’t answer Tuesday with any specificity whether the additional No. 7 trains would meet the growing demand. However, in a statement, the MTA said: “At least 2 trains per hour to start will bring in an extra 2,200 customers into Manhattan from Queens.”

However, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that the additional trains would not be enough. He said that the CBTC is “not a panacea and not a solution to all the problems,” adding that “it is just the tip of the iceberg of what is needed.”

The MTA released figures yesterday that weekday ridership at the Vernon-Jackson station in 2014 grew by 12%, or 1,500 customers per day, compared to 2013. Ridership also increased by nearly 10%, or 2,000 riders per day, at the Court Square station, which includes the E,G,M and 7 lines.

The number of riders who use the Vernon-Jackson station has more than doubled since 2000, the MTA reported, with all the residential development. Overall ridership throughout the subway system was the largest in 65 years—growing by 2.6 percent last year to 1.75 billion customers.

Carmen Bianco in LIC

Carmen Bianco in LIC, March 2014

The MTA, in a press release that provided details about the increased No. 7 ridership, indicated that the CBTC would address the problem.

“The MTA is installing CBTC on the No. 7 line, which will allow more trains to run closer together, carrying more customers while also providing countdown clock information,” the press release read.

Van Bramer said that western Queens residents are too smart to rely on the MTA’s claims that the CBTC is the answer.

“I think 7 train riders are wildly skeptical of anything the MTA says and they are right because their experience informs them of the truth every single day,” Van Bramer said.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Mike Gianaris said that the addition of two trains per hour to the No. 7 line will be inadequate.

However, he said, “It’s nice the MTA is finally acknowledging skyrocketing train ridership in Long Island City.”

“The 7 line is plagued by legendary service disruptions and weekend closures, and in recent months overall service has been the bane of western Queens’ existence,” Gianaris said.

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Anonymous visitor

Here’s my question, “are these trains going to be Local or Express?” The reason I ask us that while Expresses would do a WORLD of good for the yuppies at Hunters Point, it would do very little for the proletariat between 61st and Queens Borough Plaza (QBP) crammed into the cars with all the high school kids who get off at Rawsons & QBP. It’s bad enough that Expresses get a preferred pass over Locals pulling into QBP as it is. So hopefully this “relief” applies evenly.

Anonymous visitor

Thanks. I needed something that was opposite of “yuppie”. It was the first word that came to mind though I had to check the spelling

Anonymous visitor

We have more than enough money in this country to build modern, advanced rail systems. We just need the courage to pry it back from the grubby hands of the Pentagon, the NSA, Homeland Security and all the other military-industrial parasites sucking the life out of the country.


“The combination of CBTC and the 7 West extension will enable a service increase of two additional trains per hour, a 7% increase in capacity.” Right. And then acknowledging that “…weekday ridership at the Vernon-Jackson station in 2014 grew by 12%…” It’s not really hard math, now is it? The capacity is already almost double of what that “service improvement” is supposed to bring. However, CBTC is not even expected to be completed until 2017. Given that we know how timely MTA’s completion dates are and that the population doesn’t just magically stop growing, I would really like to know what their real plan is to a increasingly failing system.

Anonymous visitor

And the MTA is only talking about No. 7 train capacity. What about crowding on platforms, stairways and escalators, and turnstiles? What are the plans to increase capacity for these parts of the system?


What is the issue? That the trains named a buffer for braking? The new system will capture train position. Simple software could run the trains one after the other and brake all trains together in the event of a problem.

Are we that inept? This is pathetic. My kid and his arduino could solve this. Jesus.

Mary V

Two extra trains per hour, why not, provided that the 7 is correctly running, or even running at all… It’s one thing to authorize more and more high-rise buildings but public transportation has to follow otherwise it will soon be problematic.


“… public transportation has to follow…” – – I beg to differ; public transportation has to LEAD. That’s how it worked in the past: trains and roadways first, followed by development. They’re doing it wrong!

I don't get the MTA

Isn’t it a little crazy that the officials in charge of public transit aren’t talking about building entirely new subway lines? How is NYC ever going to stay viable if we don’t create a modern subway system?


See: second avenue subway. Any major public project in NYC is essentially a red tape decorated feeding trough for special interests, unions, and friends of politicians. And to think the original line was built in a couple of years.


We need to do the same with the M line at 23rd ely, its 4 E’s to 1 M and the service has gotten so bad lately


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