On Sunday, January 27th, residents stood alongside elected officials to call on the MTA to conduct a full review of G Train service and to make necessary improvements. The rally, on the corner of Metropolitan and Union Avenues, was organized by the Riders Alliance, a newly formed transportation advocacy group.
The group’s chief concerns regard the frequency of trains, communication with riders on issues like service changes and disruptions and the lack of free out-of-system transfers.
For more than a decade, the MTA has claimed low ridership as the main reason improvements have been slow in coming to the G. With the growth of communities along the line, leaders say it’s time to re-evaluate. A letter to MTA interim president Thomas Prendergast from State Senators Dan Squadron and Martin Dilan, last week, urged the agency to conduct that review, with the goal of creating a schedule that is more reflective of ridership patterns.
“If there were a grade after F it would be G,” quipped Squadron, “and that’s what many riders would give the G train. As the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods surrounding the G continue to grow, their lifeline must grow with them.”
The Riders Alliance is a grassroots organization that advocates for subway and bus riders. In its first eight months of operations, it has surpassed 800 paid members.
“We’ve been pushing for better G train service,” said Executive Director John Raskin. “What was so valuable about today was having the support of so many local elected officials and bringing that kind of strength to back up our grassroots members. It’s very helpful to what we are trying to accomplish.”
Dilan, the ranking democrat in the Senate Transportation Committee, said the MTA must listen to straphangers, as they did during 2011’s L Train review. “The MTA discovered that transit riders are a reliable resource and know a thing or two about what improvements can be made, and where. These suggestions are worth looking into.”
Greenpoint resident Greg Rachane joined the Riders Alliance to raise awareness about the needs of the community concerning the G train. “We want to make sure that folks know that we’re committed to making it better and holding the MTA and all the policymakers accountable for better service, more connections, cleaner stations and a better G train overall.”
“The G train is an essential line for North Brooklyn commuters,” agreed Councilmember Steve Levin. “The G train needs to be reliable and to meet the growing needs of [the community].”
“The full line review will undoubtedly prove that the G train needs to be improved,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol. “The G train has always been the ugly step child of the MTA and now it is time for the MTA to step up to the plate and provide the people the service that they deserve.”