Slowly, straphangers opt for the less-crowded V-train

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Will the tens of thousands of straphangers who endure sardine-like conditions on E and F subway trains ever turn to the uncrowded V line for relief? The Transit Authority says it’s already happening.

“It’s slow but it’s growing,” said New York City Transit Authority President Lawrence Reuter in reference to the number of subway riders who he says have switched to the V.

To be specific, Transit Authority spokesman Mark Groce said the E-line was carrying passengers at 116 percent of capacity before V trains began running five months ago.

“At present, the E line is at 96 percent of capacity,” Groce said, “meaning the V is now carrying 10 percent the of riders who formerly took the E train.”

Transit officials said they expected to have further and more detailed statistics on the E, F and V trains, perhaps by early June.

Although some E train riders have switched to the V, it would appear that the majority prefer to get where they are going faster on an express but jammed train than ride in comfort aboard an uncrowded train that stops at local stations as does the V.

On Dec. 16, the Transit Authority introduced the V on runs that begin at 71st and Continental Avenue in Forest Hills and end at the Second Avenue station on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The TA said its objective with the V train was to relieve overcrowding on the E and F lines, but it was not expected to completely solve that problem.

Many subway riders agree with transit activists such as Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, who calls the V a flop.

“We’ve got enough local trains,” said Adam Wiles of Forest Hills. “The V — it’s just another local train.”

“I think it’s too slow,” Bob Cohen of Forest Hills said of the V. “I prefer the F.”

Cohen said he did not mind the crowds on the F.

“I stand and read,” Cohen said. “The F just gets me there so much quicker.”

But Lydia Kane of Forest Hills said she likes the V.

“I get a seat in the morning and I can read. It think it is an excellent invention. It’s more peaceful.”


Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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