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Queens Straphangers to Face 7 Train Disruptions Next Month: MTA

7 train at Queensboro Plaza (Photo: Unsplash @nathan_hurst)

Dec. 9, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

The MTA will not be providing 7 train service between Queensboro Plaza and 34 Street-Hudson Yards on most weekends in January and February.

The agency announced Friday that is it cutting service to conduct track work near the Grand Central-42 Street station.

Service will be suspended from 1 a.m. on Saturdays through 5 a.m. on Mondays on Jan. 9-11, Jan. 16-18, Jan. 23-25, Jan. 30-Feb.1, Feb. 20-22 and Feb. 27- March 1.

Service will also be cut on weeknights – every Monday through Thursday – from Jan. 11 through March 19, from 11:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. Service is expected to be down from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. during these dates anyway for overnight disinfecting.

During the weekend cuts, riders can take the N train between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42nd Street on Saturday’s from 7:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 10:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

W service will also be available between Queensboro Plaza station and Times Square-42nd Street station.

Free shuttle buses will service all 7 line subway stations between Queensboro Plaza and Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue. Riders can also transfer to the E, F, M and R lines at Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue.

The agency said it is taking advantage of lower ridership due to the pandemic to conduct the work and to minimize the impact on riders.

The track near Grand Central-42 Street has reached the end of its service life and is in need of complete replacement, the MTA said.

Crews will also remove components from the old signal system since the move to the modernized Communications-Based Train Control system has been completed.

The upgrades will bring about improved reliability and better service, the MTA said.

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Larry Penner

This work is understandable, but how many more years must we wait for the MTA NYC Transit resume mid-day express service between 10 AM and 3 PM?. This last ran in the mid 1980’s. Investing $600 million in Communication Based Train Control only resulted in increasing the number of rush hour trains by 2 from 27 to 29 in each direction. NYC Transit no longer has any other opportunity for increasing rush hour capacity on the #7 line.
Given the tremendous growth in #7 subway ridership 24/7 prior to COVID-19, riders would still welcome restoration of mid day express service, This would assist in providing adequate social distancing and avoid excessive crowding. Ridership will begin to return some time in 2021 as COVID-19 fades and a vaccine becomes widely available in coming months. Riders would also welcome a return of Saturday and holiday express services (which briefly ran in the early 1950’s) along with more frequent local service off peak, late evenings, overnight and weekends.
There are opportunities to increase capacity and service. There is equipment used primarily for rush hour peak service that is available to provide additional service during off peak hours. It is a question of finding millions of dollars more to cover operating costs for additional service. Why not use future Manhattan congestion toll pricing revenues now scheduled to start two years later in 2023 to pay for this?

(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for grants supporting billions in capital projects and programs on behalf of the MTA, NYC Transit bus and subway, Long Island and Metro North Rail Roads, MTA Bus and NYC Department of Transportation along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ)
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