An irritating vestige of the subway's old days is finally gone
A grating quirk leftover in the subway system from long ago was finally fixed Tuesday, as straphangers can now transfer between the B/D/F/M lines at Broadway-Lafayette and the uptown 6 at Bleecker Street.
Until Tuesday, riders had to exit the station and swipe back into a different one to get between the two lines, but with this long-awaited fix, an in-station transfer has arrived and will help an estimated 30,000 passengers every day.
"It shows that the MTA is working on things that actually really affect people," said Jay Wegman, 48, of the Upper West Side, who took the transfer yesterday.
"Sometimes you assume things will always stay the way they are, are so it's nice to so pleasantly surprised by the MTA," he said.
Eugene Diamant, 32, of Sheepshead Bay, agreed.
"It didn't make sense not being able to get between ," he said. "I've already saved time from just this first day using the transfer."
The project has been in the works since 2005, and cost $127 million to complete. The Broadway-Lafayette/Bleecker Street station is the 24th busiest in the system, with more than 11.6 million riders last year.
The puzzling lack of a transfer existed because the lines used to be owned by competing companies that had no incentive to work together, and the stations didn't line up in a way that made a transfer easy, experts said.
But with Tuesday's opening, one of the last vestiges of that old three-company system is gone.
"This really was a pretty late holdover," said Clifton Hood, city historian and author of "722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York."
"There hasn't been anything like this, of this scale or significance, for a couple of decades," he said. "This is going to be one of the last major ones."
Ben Kabak, who runs the subway blog SecondAveSagas.com, agreed, adding that correcting this flaw was a very long time coming.
"It's a valuable transfer, one that's going to help a lot of people and offer much better travel times to the area," Kabak said. "It's a thing that needed to happen, and it's good that it finally did."