On a freezing cold afternoon, last January, State Senators Martin Malave Dilan and Daniel Squadron stood with fellow elected officials, members of newly formed transportation advocacy group, Riders Alliance, and G train riders to request the MTA conduct a Full-Line review of the G. Six months later, on a sweltering July 15th afternoon, the Senators and Riders Alliance returned to the same Metropolitan Avenue station to announce the release of the review.
Amid the 29 page report issued by the MTA were several recommendations for improving G service. Among them, increasing afternoon and evening G train service by 25%, running trains at more even intervals, stopping the four-car train at the same place on the platform at all times and clearly marking where on the platform the train will stop and adding public announcement systems at the 12 G train stations that currently lack them.
“It does all the things we hoped the review would do, similar to way the F and L line reviews helped those lines,” said Squadron. Squadron worked with the MTA to create Full-Line Reviews of those trains, which resulted improvements to both lines.
Some of the recommendations in the Full-Line review could be implemented immediately, should the MTA choose to, while others are going to require finding money in the State budget. Setting a consistent stopping point for the four-car G, for example, would eliminate the “G Train Sprint,” in which riders chase their short train down its long platform, is an example of an improvement that doesn’t require additional budgeting. The same goes for G’s stop times and improving signage in stations.
The addition of 25% more trains in the afternoon and evening, however, is contingent on an estimated $700,000 of annual funding being allocated. The Riders Alliance is pushing for the MTA to use $40 million in unexpected state funding to pay for the extra service. Capital funds will also need to be found before adding the sound systems into the 12 stations identified in the review.
“These Full-Line reviews are not promises to make changes, but they do point to changes that can be implemented in a meaningful way,” Squadron said. “[In regards to items that don’t require budget], our understanding is that’s going to be implemented over the course of this year.”
Convincing the MTA to conduct the Full-Line review of the G was one of the first campaigns by the Riders Alliance. “These changes are going to make riding the G train a much better experience,” said Riders Alliance Executive Director John Raskin. The MTA collaborated closely with the Alliance, Squadron and Dilan, the ranking Democrat in the Senate’s Transportation Committee on the review.
The full review is available at: http://www.mta.info/nyct/service/G_LineReview.htm.