Dozens of straphangers voiced their grievances over the handling of the Queens public transit system, chiefly on the No. 7 line, at a town hall meeting in Sunnyside on Tuesday night.
MTA President Veronique Hakim and several other MTA staffers answered questions and heard concerns from the audience, as well as Twitter users, who sent their input via the hashtag #AsktheMTA. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer organized the meeting, hoping to open a dialogue between the MTA and the community.
“When I’m on the train and there’s a problem, I need communication about what my options are,” one rider told Hakim. “I not only need to know when the next train is going to come, I also need to know what’s going on on the other lines nearby.”
Several commuters made related complaints about delays and overcrowding on the No. 7 line due to signal malfunctions that had caused them to arrive late for work.
“My employees live on the 7 line, and I am sick and tired of them being late,” said James Iniguez, a 47-year-old attorney from Astoria. “And it’s not even that they can say that the train was messed up because sometimes they can’t get on a train.”
Hakim assured commuters that delays would be less frequent after the current signal system is updated, through a new control system that will add capacity to the line by allowing trains to operate closer to each other.
Hakim also added that two additional No. 7 trains will be added during evening peak hours starting this fall.
“Every weekday you are joined by 525,000 riders, so we clearly have to work at providing enough service to meet that demand,” said Hakim. “We’re putting as much train service through the line today, and we’ll see some improvements going forward.”