Dressed in colorful clothes reminiscent of the 1960s, a group of riders fed up with slow service on the A and C lines stood in front of a Bedford Stuyvesant station Sunday and demanded faster, more reliable service, and new cars.
The bellbottom jeans, flower headpieces, and polka dot dresses were a public display of their frustration, meant to symbolize the fact that many cars on the line are from 1964. Several riders at Sunday’s rally, organized by the Riders Alliance, bemoaned the fact that they were often late to work. They held up nearly 3,000 signatures on a petition calling for improvements on the line.
Bedford Stuyvesant resident Berneda Jackson has lived in the area for nearly 60 years, and said she is late to work three to four times each week. Jackson, who is a member of the Riders Alliance, lives off of the Ralph Avenue station.
“My grandkids, when I go to take them on events and activities, we are an hour late,” she said. “My grandkids are getting fed up — they’re always yelling, ‘Cab.’ You can’t afford to have a cab everywhere you go.”
The A and C lines were ranked nearly last in the Straphangers Campaign’s 2014 State of the Subways report card.
Last year, the MTA announced a full audit of the lines. And Sunday, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said there will be 300 new R179 cars, most of which will be allocated for the C line, by 2017.
Council Member Robert Cornegy, who represents Bedford Stuyvesant and parts of Crown Heights, said the population of these neighborhoods is growing, and service needs to meet that increasing need.
“Just pouring money at this problem is not going to be the only solution. The trains themselves are one portion of the problem,” he said about allocating funds for improvements, including the new cars. “It shouldn’t be one or the other: it shouldn’t either be new trains or better service. Nobody would expect that for the amount that’s being paid and the work that’s being put in. That’s the wrong way to go.”