Riders want MTA subway work done during week nights: Survey

Workers pre-build track panels for installation during work to replace panels of track on the No. 7 near Court House Square. Photo courtesy Leonard Wiggins/MTA
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A survey indicates that straphangers agree with the MTA’s plan to perform maintenance during weekday overnight periods.

“Keeping the city’s subways in a state of good repair is critical,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a transit advocacy agency. “But the MTA needs to find a way to get this work done when it impacts the fewest straphangers. This plan will help make weekend subway service more reliable and easier to use.”

Transportation Alternatives asked people in its Rider Rebellion network to choose from three options as to when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority should make repairs and perform maintenance in the subway system.

Responding by text message, 748 people replied as follows:

• week nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.: 66 percent

• weekends over a few months: 19 percent

• 24/7 shutdown on a entire subway line for a few days: 13 percent

The MTA recently said it planned to change service and repairs from weekends to week nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. rather than multiple weekend service disruptions for weeks at a time.

The first of the week night maintenance sessions is scheduled for the Lexington Avenue line (Nos. 4, 5 and 6 trains) between Grand Central Terminal and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

“We are one of the few transit systems that operate around the clock, so it’s always a challenge to find time to do work on the tracks, especially with ridership up on weekends and overnight,” said New York City Transit President Tom Prendergast.

The initial pilot of the new program is planned for the week of Jan. 9.

“Closing segments of lines so that we can get in and get the work done quickly benefits everyone — it’s safer for workers, less disruptive for riders and gets projects done more quickly for everyone,” he said.

Transit riders have long experienced delays and uneven subway service on weekends due to maintenance of the system.

The Transportation Alternatives Rider Rebellion calls its members to support what the agency calls affordable fares, better service and the end of service cuts. The Rider Rebellion pressures elected officials to stand up for transit riders and calls for long-term funding for subways and buses.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or phone at 718-260-4536.

Posted 7:13 pm, December 14, 2011
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