Weekend train tie-ups nearly double in a year
The weekend subway shuffle has gotten a lot worse and dont expect the time-consuming tie-ups to end any time soon.
The number of route changes on weekends nearly doubled between this January and last, according to an amNewYork analysis of MTA service advisories.
Straphangers have had to make sense of service advisory signs, and hopscotch through an average of 32 system changes on weekends last month, up from 17 in January 2008.
Youre looking at a wall full of (signs saying) dont take this train, take that train, said Sabrina Chapman, 26, of East Harlem. Its like trying to decipher another language ... How do I even get anywhere?Taking the No. 2 downtown from the Bronx, for example, required catching a No. 5 train instead, then switching to a shuttle bus at 149th Street. Those looking to go to the World Trade Center station had to swap the E for the A.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board President Howard Roberts Jr. admitted that the MTA should do more to ensure passengers know the hurdles that await them after a MetroCard swipe.
We don't always get (the advisories) right, Roberts said at a board meeting this week.
The MTA is cramming in weekend work to spend its allotted $10 billion under its 2005-10 capital plan. Crews are upgrading stations, replacing signals and conducting maintenance on the aging infrastructure.
The MTA believes it will take until 2030 - at the earliest - to bring the system into good repair. With weekends the preferred time for work, expect diversions for years to come.
There is tremendous amount of work to do, said Larry Gold, the MTA coordinator for service diversions. Almost every train route has some disruptions on it during the weekends.
Slowing the pace of work is undesirable, Gold said, because the MTA gets more bang out of its diversion buck by stringing several projects together. Crews will work at several stations on a line once its power is cut, or fix the signals and tracks on one segment, he said.
Still, some transit advocates fear all the work could turn people off from the subways at a time when ridership is declining.
When a passenger walks into a station and sees walls of diversion, they turn off, said Andrew Albert, a nonvoting MTA board member. It's bewildering.
Service is bad on the weekends, said Treniese Ladson, 26, of the Bronx. Everythings just wrong.
Casey Feldman contributed to this story.