Subway riders more than willing to slam service during City Council transit tour

"It’s miserable when you have to be on the F train."

August 8, 2019 Kelly Mena
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City officials kicked off their annual effort this week to collect input from riders of the MTA — and those riders had no shortage of input to give.

Led by City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the Transportation Committee, the Riders Respond Transit Tour surveyed riders this week across the five boroughs. On Thursday afternoon, when councilmembers stopped at the Downtown Brooklyn’s Jay Street-Metrotech station, they met an assemblage of commuters ready to to talk about their biggest MTA grievance: delays. 

“The time you wait and the nastiness — the delays — it’s just horrible,” said Karen Rivera, a longtime Red Hook resident who frequently rides the F train and the R train. “It’s miserable when you have to be on the F train. I have to be to work at 12 o’clock, but I leave with an hour and a half to get to work because of the delays on the damn trains.”

Chad DeRoche, a blind subway commuter, has had to rely on his own acute sense of hearing to tell him when the train is pulling into the station instead of waiting for an announcement.

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“We both live off the 2 and 3 subway lines, and he listens for the breaking pattern of the trains so he can tell which train is pulling into the station because the schedules are so unreliable,” DeRoche’s friend Matthew Estep told the Brooklyn Eagle. “That is the model he’s had to come up with. He can tell by the noise which train is pulling up on which line.”

Riders Respond Tour survey. Photo courtesy of Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez’s office.

Councilmember Rafael Espinal, who was out early Thursday canvassing, praised the tour, now in its third year, for its ability to reach commuters directly.

“During this year’s tour, my commuter constituents were excited to participate by sharing stories about how late trains or broken elevators put heavy strains on their daily lives. This community-driven process is necessary in identifying potential investments and providing oversight over the MTA,” Espinal told the Eagle.

Councilmember Rodriguez was scheduled to meet with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Thursday to discuss the survey’s results. He is slated to reveal the data gathered on the tour later this year at a public hearing.

“First we are going to be sharing with the public what the findings are. Second, we are going to be sitting [down] with the New York City Transit to discuss one-on-one what the priorities are from the rider’s perspective and third we are going to be holding a hearing at the council to discuss how riders are feeling and how they feel the MTA is making progress on updating stations and stations where riders expect more,” Ydanis told the Eagle.

MTA did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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