Tuesday, September 30, 2014

M service ended early but NYCT won't tell you that service change

I like lurking (and sometimes posting) on Subchat, a discussion board for everything transit related.  Today on my lunch hour at work, I came across this post by a person who goes by the "handle" of Transitbuff that M service in Manhattan and northern Queens was ending earlier than the usual 12 Midnight time.  So I did some digging and found out that it was related to a trackwork program (called General Order or G.O. in transit lingo) that affected local service on the Queens Blvd line.

Each weeknight this week, from 9:45 PM to 5 am the next morning, R service towards 71st Ave/Forest Hills would be running express from Queens Plaza to 71st Ave/Forest Hills, skipping local stations from 36th Street to 65th Street and again from Elmhurst Ave to 67th Ave.  Riders would have to use the next express station to double back.  This also affects E local service in the wee morning hours, it will continue to run express from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills even after midnight.  Additionally, to make travel easier, E and F trains toward Manhattan will run local from 71 Ave/Forest Hills to their respective Queens Plaza or 21st/Queensbridge stations.

But what about M serviced which was reported in Subchat?  Don't expect to find it on the MTA website because they refuse to post it anywhere.  You would have to go to a subway station to find this, I found this on the Uptown platform (that's not Metropolitan Ave-bound)   from 9 PM to 12 midnight, M service runs between Metropolitan Ave and Essex Street only - - much like they do on weekends:

I also found the M service change on the weekday station service change list, the ones where you find the service changes before you enter the turnstiles and on platforms.  But this is what I found on the MTA website, including TripPlanner+, the results are astounding, if not pathetic.

No M service change on the BDFM service status - - note the times I took the following screenshots - - well after 10 PM (time to get to bed and to charge my phone)

Here is the R service change from the NQR service status.

But what about TripPlanner, the so-called reliable page where you can plan your trip.  Start to laugh really hard because I entered two trip itineraries - - the first one from Steinway St to 67 Ave  - - two stations with no local service towards Forest Hills.  So if I started at Steinway St and wanted to travel to 67th Ave, then it should return a trip which requires me to take 3 trains - one Manhattan bound train to Queens Plaza, one outbound train to Forest Hills then double back to 67th Ave, my final destination on the third train.  Nope, this is what TripPlanner+ gave me tonight.

In the most obscure, if not stupid itinerary, this trip tells me to travel nearly one hour in the opposing direction through Manhattan, over the Williamsburg Bridge and into Brooklyn to Myrtle Ave.  Then I would cross under to the "Manhattan" bound platform for the last Forest Hills bound M train leaving Myrtle Ave for 67th Ave (and none of these M trains are running at that time, let alone no Forest Hills/Jamaica bound trains stopping at 67 Ave station).

Once again NYCT has proved how disorganized and incompetent they are.  NYCT President Carmen Bianco should scrutinize NYCT's operating procedures and quality controls by his management and supervisory teams  - - it clearly shows he really does not care about leading North America's largest and greatest urban heavy rail transit system. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Montague Tunnel reopens

Late Sunday night, the Montague Street tunnel which carries R (and late night N) trains between Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, reopened after a little over 13 months due to a massive undertaking of repairs as a result from the extraordinary damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  The work was so extensive and unprecedented, it took coordination of 2 contracts and multiple units within Rapid Transit Operations (RTO) such as signals, track, pump rooms, etc.

I took a round trip through the Montague Street tube, the above ground street on the Brooklyn side of the East River where R trains run underneath.  The ride from Whitehall Street in Manhattan to Court Street in Brooklyn was nice with decent speed and brand new equipment in the tunnel.  I also noticed the tunnel patches (areas where it looks "bleachy") where the work was done to repair the severly damaged tunnel.  At the Court Street station, brand new lighting on the station platform was present along with a new platform floor and ADA tactile warning strips (the yellow "bumps" as the edge of the platform).

Hopefully the next train indicator will come down soon.  On the other hand, it might come useful again.

The wall on the Bay Ridge/Coney Island bound side shows salt water and dirt.
Train operators must "punch"
The ride from Court Street back to Whitehall was slow - - virtually all timers straight to a switch where a track branches off to Broad Street on the J and Z lines.  However the Montague tube was always been the slowest underwater tunnel in NYC in terms of train speeds, so it really makes no difference anyway.

The job done by NYC Transit was an outstanding effort - - I also didn't have time to take notice whether they addressed serious water corrosion at the Whitehall staircases at the south end - - they had really BAD leaks and dirt in the area where the artwork is displayed.  I will revisit this area soon.  The scope of the work done by NYC Transit in restoring the Montague tube to a nearly brand new state shows that they can perform great work - - if they can apply to same impeccability to the way they communicate to their customers as well as their website information - - then they would be truly a first class transportation network.

Monday, September 1, 2014

NYCT on Labor Day, you missed a lot.

Labor Day brings the unofficial end of summer, the West-Indian Day parade in Brooklyn,  a last hurrah at the beaches and pools, kids going back to school later this week and a sign that football is around the corner.  Labor Day is also no holiday at NYC Transit as they were stuck in holiday mode all day today - - virtually no service alerts.  Even NYCT reiterates that on Labor Day, all buses and subways operate on a Sunday schedule all day today.   All of my phone screenshots were taken today.

The BM1-5 express bus routes do not operate on Sundays.  NYCT has Good Service on them.

In past years, NYCT would post virtually every bus service alert related to the West Indian Day Parades.  Although I didn't get a chance to retrieve any alerts regarding to the parade until 7:30 PM tonight, I did manage to check NYCT Buses Twitter page for their history.  The only alert received was for the B12 bus rerouted to Lincoln Road due to NYPD activity.  Apparently, all day, there were no bus service alerts for the B14/17/41/43/44/44SBS+/45/46/49 bus routes - - all which pass through Eastern Parkway.  Also, note in the screenshot below that B67 buses are detoured around the Brooklyn Navy Yard - - there is no weekend service on the B67 north/east of Sands/Jay Streets. 

The B41 buses were "running - - not!!!  And scratch your heads at the next service alert below it - - it runs from 6 AM to 10 PM everyday. 


This is why NYCT cannot be trusted to provide timely, accurate and consistent planned and unplanned service alerts.  They clearly were taking a holiday today.  On that note, I hope your summer was blessed with happiness.