Ask the MTA | F train alternatives and cross platform connections

An F train near the Avenue P station in Brooklyn.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Mtatrain

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’d like to know why the MTA refuses to provide shuttle buses between Church Avenue and Stillwell Ave on the weekends when the F train doesn’t run between those stations? The alternative routes suggested are time wasters and the buses, the B8 and the B11 are particularly unreliable. It’s grossly inconvenient and unfair. — Paul Anderson

A: Weekend service is frequently suspended on this portion of the F line due to ongoing construction to modernize signals. When that happens, we advise passengers to use nearby bus routes to connect to the D, N and Q lines. We also operate N service local in Brooklyn so that passengers have an additional transfer option at 4 Av-9 St. 

Weekend subway ridership has been significantly reduced during the pandemic and is now about 30% lower than pre-pandemic levels, and the alternate bus and subway routes have sufficient room for diverted F riders. However, we do recognize the inconvenience to customers, and we will continue to monitor ridership and consider operating an F shuttle bus if ridership increases. – Allyson Bechtel, NYCT Director of Operations Analysis

Q: I live near a local subway stop and often ride the train a few stops to catch the express. On rare occasions, we pull into the express station and there’s an express train waiting for us. But before the local train’s doors open and the mad rush across the platform can be performed, the express shuts its doors. What’s the deal with this? I have to imagine there’s some sort of scheduling reason behind this, but I can’t help but feel like there’s some sadistic train operator behind this maddening experience. Which is it? — Jacob Kaye

A: During rush hours when train service is the most frequent, our conductors are generally advised to refrain from holding trains for across-the-platform connections. The short time between trains during peak hours allow us to provide timely service for our customers without needing to make across-the-platform connections, which could unnecessarily delay passengers on trains behind the one held in the station.  

Sometimes trains are held in stations by supervisors for operational reasons, like waiting for a train just ahead to switch tracks or to adjust the schedule. Such situations may incidentally allow across-the-platform transfers, although sometimes a necessary schedule adjustment will lead to a missed connection.  

Nevertheless, we do recognize the importance of making such connections at times of day when train service is less frequent and waits between trains are longer. Conductors are instructed to allow across-the-platform connections during off-peak hours when two trains arrive simultaneously, and neither would be unduly delayed if held for a connection. – Allyson Bechtel, NYCT Director of Operations Analysis

Send us your questions at askthemta@amny.com.

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