Speed the F up: Express F train service coming this September
Two trains will run express in the morning toward Manhattan, and two in the evening toward Coney.
Limited express train service is coming to the F line this fall, the MTA announced Tuesday.
Starting this September, two peak-hour Manhattan-bound F trains will run express from Church Avenue to Jay Street-Metrotech between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. A pair of peak-hour Coney Island-bound trains will do the same between 5 p.m. and 5:40 p.m., the agency said.
The F train has the longest local-service-only portion of any subway line in the system, according to the agency.
“We’re adding some limited express service to the F line in Brooklyn because our customers asked, and we listened,” MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford said in a statement. “It will benefit thousands of commuters by getting them to their destinations faster instead of sitting waiting as their train makes all local stops.”
The MTA estimates that the new express lines — which will be identified by the letter F inside a gold diamond, as opposed to the classic orange circle — will shave off close to an hour from some riders’ commutes.
Local service schedules will be adjusted to ensure even train spacing for riders who might not be lucky enough to get onto one of the two express trains on either of their commutes.
Local politicians — some of whom have been advocating for the return of such a service for years — have called the move a good start.
“Undoubtedly, our neighborhoods need better and faster public transportation options, and I know the MTA agrees,” Councilmember Kalman Yeger said in a statement. “I’m hopeful that this express option expands to more hours in the near future.” Yeger represents Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Midwood, all neighborhoods along the F line.
Yeger’s predecessor, David Greenfield, often blasted the MTA for playing politics with the line he called “the F-Bomb in Brooklyn.”
“Southern Brooklyn residents have really received the short end of the stick for years when it comes to mass transit,” Councilmember Mark Treyger told the Eagle Wednesday morning, adding that, while other neighborhoods are constantly celebrating improvements, he and his colleagues in the south of the borough are too often advocating against cuts. “We needed to see some more transit equity, so I’m pleased to see the MTA taking these first steps.”
Byford, Treyger said, is a “man of his word.”
“When I met with him, I told him that Coney Island alone is slated to see at least 5,000 to 10,000 new units of additional housing over the course of the next few years,” he said, stressing that, for countless Coney residents, the commute to Manhattan can be an hour and a half each way — on a good day. Coney Island, the last stop on the F train, is among the neighborhoods in Treyger’s district.
“Residents who live on the western end of the peninsula have a 15- to 20-minute bus ride to the Stillwell Avenue station. Add a 50-minute train ride, when there aren’t signal delays, and you’ve got a really burdensome commute,” he said. “I think this is a welcome first step, but we need something more permanent.”
Though, not all politicians praised the news.
“It’s disappointing that the MTA has decided to reduce service to stations that thousands of New Yorkers use during peak hours without consulting the communities that will be negatively affected. It’s especially troubling given the concerns our community has articulated to the MTA in the past regarding frequent unannounced irregularities in service that have led the F train to skip stops,” said state Sen. Brian Kavanagh, whose constituents along the Brooklyn waterfront utilize the service.
“We will be seeking assurances from the MTA that the scheduled reduction in frequency of local trains will not be compounded by routine disruptions in local service at stations on our communities,” he said.
Kavanagh pointed the Eagle to a March letter to the MTA, in which he joined Councilmember Brad Lander and Assemblymembers Jo Anne Simon and Robert Carroll in criticizing “rogue F express” trains.
Update (July 11) — This article has been updated to include an opposing statement from state Sen. Brian Kavanagh.