Bay Ridge

City Council candidate gives R train passengers a lift

McCabe helps riders stranded by Bay Ridge Ave. station closure

May 1, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A stranded R train rider gets into City Council candidate Liam McCabe’s car outside the Bay Ridge Avenue station for a ride to the next station Monday morning. Photo by Kelly Mena

Monday marked the first work day that R-train riders could not catch the train at the Bay Ridge Avenue station due to the closure of the subway stop, and the disruption in their daily routine made riders angry and confused.

MTA, which is renovating the subway stop under its Enhanced Station Initiative, is closing the station for six months. The agency opted not to provide shuttle bus service so that passengers would be able to get on the R train at the 77th Street or 59th Street stations.

In an effort to fill that void, a Bay Ridge City Council candidate decided to get behind the wheel of his car and offer free rides to passengers from the station at Bay Ridge Avenue and Fourth Avenue to the next station at 59th Street and Fourth Avenue during the morning rush hour on Monday.

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“I figured it’s the least I can do,” Republican Liam McCabe told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Using his Buick as a free taxi, McCabe made several rounds trips between the two subway stations to help out his fellow Bay Ridge residents. He decorated the outside of his car with campaign posters so that riders in need of a lift would know how to spot him.

“There was mass confusion this morning when people came to the Bay Ridge Avenue station and found out that it was closed. The MTA was not very proactive in letting people ahead of time that this was happening. Riders were confused, frustrated and angry,” McCabe said.

McCabe said he decided last Friday that he would offer his service as a chauffeur on Monday.


“I was campaigning at the station on Friday and I realized that people were not aware of what was going to be happening starting Monday,” he told the Eagle.

With no service at the Bay Ridge Avenue station, the only option for passengers traveling to Manhattan was to take the B9 bus to 59th Street and transfer to the subway.

“But the B9s were packed. It doesn’t look like the MTA put more B9s into service. People were telling me they waited for than 30 minutes for a B9,” McCabe said.

The Bay Ridge Avenue station is one of the busiest subway stops in Bay Ridge, according to local officials. The station is the center of a major transportation hub in the community and offers riders the chance to transfer to three bus lines, the B9, B64 and B70.

The MTA is renovating three R train station in Brooklyn under the Enhanced Station Initiative: Bay Ridge Avenue, 53rd Street and Prospect Avenue.

The closures will enable the contractor to get in, get the work done, and get out, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The station improvements will include:

  • Enhanced lighting throughout the stations.

  • Improved signage for easier navigation, including digital, real-time updates on on-time performance at subway entrances, before customers even enter the station.

  • Amenities, such as countdown clocks, cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi and new art, as well as security cameras.

  • Renovations that consider the architectural legacy of each station and are sensitive to historical elements.

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