Ask the MTA | Train history, ADA accessibility and express bus seating

MTA Parade of Trains in Coney Island, Brooklyn
The New York Transit Museum sponsors a “Parade of Trains” on Saturday, Sep 9, 2023 between Brighton Beach and Kings Highway on the Q line. Vintage equipment, including BU Gate Cars, BMT AB Standards, and R1-9s ran through the afternoon. An R32 joined the lineup at Ocean Parkway. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

amNewYork Metro, in conjunction with the MTA, present “Ask the MTA,” a column where MTA officials answer your questions about transit service in New York City. If you have a question for the MTA about subways, buses, commuter rails and more, email askthemta[@]amny.com.

Q: I’m a history buff and while attending the “Parade of Trains,” I wondered what’s the oldest station in the system and where is it located? Milford B., Tremont

A: The Transit Museum’s archivists and curators actually came up with a few answers for this one. If you consider the entire MTA network, the oldest original station house is in Saint James along the LIRR; it was built in 1873.

For the subways specifically, parts of the elevated BMT Jamaica line (J/M/Z lines) date back to 1885. Of those stations, Gates Av in Brooklyn is technically the oldest — opening on May 13, 1885 – although it’s unclear what parts of the original structure remain today. Underground stations did not open until 1904, when the first ride took off from the Old City Hall station. Trains no longer stop there, but you can visit as part of a guided tour.

– Concetta Bencivenga, Director, New York Transit Museum

Q: When will the Metropolitan Av station in Brooklyn become fully ADA accessible? Amar R., Middle Village

A: Metropolitan Av is one of 12 stations that have opened or will open new elevators by the end of this year. The increased accessibility — delivered under budget — is going to be a gamechanger for riders at this station, which first opened 75 years ago in 1948. Additional upgrades include a reopened exit at the southwestern corner of Lorimer St and Metropolitan Av, raised boarding areas, new braille signs, and more.

— Agron Gashi, Project CEO, MTA Construction and Development

Q: If there’s a packed express bus and a passenger is sleeping in an aisle seat, am I allowed to wake them so I can sit in the window seat? Arielle S., Bay Ridge

A: All unoccupied passenger seats on buses are available to customers and should be made available if obstructed. There is no specific policy about waking a sleeping passenger but if you feel you need help, please ask the Bus Operator who will assist.

— Frank Annicaro, Senior Vice President, New York City Transit Department of Buses

Q: Does the MTA have any plans to acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year? In the past I know employees have worn pink and ribbons were placed on train cars. Barbara F., Midtown East

A: Frontline employees will be wearing pink ribbons once again, and we’ll also have displays on digital screens in subway stations to promote breast cancer awareness.

— Shanifah Rieara, Acting MTA Chief Customer Officer