Bay Ridge

Gentile demands MTA fix ‘drastic dysfunction’ on R train

July 30, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The MTA should be doing a lot more to improve service on the R train, according to Councilmember Vincent Gentile. The R train pulls into the 86th Street station in Bay Ridge. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is rolling in dough, according to Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who said the agency has a surplus of $1 billion.

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), who said he has heard numerous complaints from his constituents about lousy service on the R train, said the MTA should be putting some of that money into improving that subway line.

R train riders have told Gentile of long waits for trains, crowded subway cars and other problems getting to work.

Gentile has written a letter to MTA officials demanding that an audit of the R line be conducted with an eye toward service improvements. The R line runs from 95th Street in Bay Ridge to 71st Avenue in Forest Hill, Queens, via Manhattan. For much of its route in Brooklyn, the R travels underneath Fourth Avenue.

The councilman said he also wants the MTA to purchase new train cars for the R line in the interest of “rectification of the loud vibrations that have become a constant nuisance to two of our schools, St. Anselm’s School located at 365 83rd St. and Holy Angels Academy located at 7320 Fourth Ave.”

Gentile was referring to complaints from residents living on Fourth Avenue who told Community Board 10 and local elected officials last year about strong vibrations from the R train that rattle their dishes and disturb their sleep. The MTA made track repairs along the R line to rectify the situation.

“The surplus could do a lot of good for a train line left in disrepair far too long and for the people who use it and live around it every day,” Gentile wrote in his letter to the MTA.

The R is the only subway line the people of Bay Ridge have to rely on to take them to Manhattan, where many of them work, according to Gentile, who said “the line is still suffering from drastic dysfunction and neglect, including extensive delays, slow transportation and old train cars.”

R train riders also had to put up with the 14-month closure of the Montague Street Tube in 2013-2014 when the MTA had to make massive repairs to the tunnel that had sustained serious damage in Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The R train travels through the Montague Street Tube between Brooklyn and Manhattan and when the tunnel was out of commission, riders were forced to switch subway lines.

The tube reopened in September of 2014.

Gentile said that when his constituents complain about their commutes, they offer details of just how bad the R train is.

“It’s about time the people of Southwest Brooklyn were given the appropriate attention by the MTA,” he wrote in his letter. “The extra funds maintained by your agency provide just the right opportunity to give this attention.”

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the agency isn’t flush with cash.

“The MTA does not have a surplus, but our ongoing cost-cutting efforts and better-than-expected revenues will allow us to devote $1.1 billion to our Capital Program over an eight-year period,” he wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday

“This funding is vital to renew, enhance and expand the MTA network, and generating these funds within the MTA allows us to reduce the amount of money we request from city and state taxpayers,” Ortiz added.

As far as the R train is concerned, the MTA plans to respond to Gentile directly, Ortiz said.

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