G-train riders brace for first of 12 closures
G-train riders since Saturday switched up their travel routines on the first of a dozen weekend service changes that will allow the MTA to make repairs to the subway tunnel between Brooklyn and Queens.
The Greenpoint tunnel will be closed for 11 more nonconsecutive weekends so crews can fix equipment damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
"Twelve weekends? That's going to be a really big problem if I have to work on Saturday and Sunday," said Chie Mori, a Greenpoint resident about to start a babysitting job in Manhattan. "Lots of people here work on weekends cafes, restaurants bars-all the service jobs."
Magali Gonzalez, a 17-year-old waitress who commutes to Vamos Al Tequila in Greenpoint, said she has to leave her home earlier to make sure she can catch a shuttle bus that will get her to work by the start of her shift at 5 p.m.
"Because I work Friday, Saturday and Sunday, this affects me a lot," she said.
The weekend heatwave also added to the frustration of a service disruption.
"The bus takes forever; it's worse than the G," said Michele Mirisola, a 22-year-old Greenwich Village resident waiting for a bus in Greenpoint.
The shutdown means service between the Nassau Avenue stop in Brooklyn and the Court Square station in Long Island City will be replaced by a shuttle bus that runs along Manhattan Avenue. A separate shuttle that runs on McGuinness Boulevard connects to the Lorimer Street L stop.
There were MTA personnel at stations in Brooklyn and Queens to help commuters get on the right buses, though there were several riders who wanted better signage on the affected subway stations and buses.
Angela Whitton, who took the shuttle from Long Island City, said bus labels were not clear about whether the shuttle was serving the G line or heading to the L train.
Overall, the switch to shuttle service ran smoothly over the weekend, Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said. He added that the closures were scheduled at times when ridership is at its lightest.
"Work on the Greenpoint tube is progressing as expected, while at the same time we're able to minimize the impact on our customers," Ortiz said.
Though the G-line service change was the result of damage from Sandy, there were riders on the line accustomed to taking a shuttle when the train was out.
"We're already used to that," said JoAnne McFarland, a 58-year-old artist and writer who uses the line to see family in Brooklyn.