N Train Hurtling Downhill – QNS.com

N Train Hurtling Downhill

Queens’ 700,000 daily subway riders get to work via New York’s City’s best and worst train service, according to the latest Straphanger Campaign analysis of the Transit Authority’s subway services.
While four local lines were listed in the TA’s “top ten” roster (the 7,E, J/Z and Q Lines), the borough’s seven remaining lines (the V, F, A, R, M, B and N Lines) languished in the report’s “worst ten” listing.
Based on safety and quality of life data prepared by the Transit Authority, the report graded each line’s scheduled service, frequency of breakdowns, and the chance of getting a seat, train cleanliness and car announcements.
Only the G Line was not fully judged, because data concerning crowding was unavailable.
Gene Russianoff, Straphangers staff attorney, noted that the report was being issued at a critical time for the city’s subways, because of concerns about the TA’s looming financial crisis and fears for subway security, as well as Albany’s failure to approve the MTA’s 2005-2009 capital budget.
Cited again as Queens’ No. 1 subway line, and third best in the City, Flushing’s No. 7 boasts the most scheduled service of all lines in the system and an above average chance for a seat during rush hour.
During the morning and evening rush hours, the Main Street terminal is fed by a tidal wave of 23 bus lines, carrying commuters from eastern and northern Queens, Nassau County and the Bronx.
Ranked as the City’s worst line for the second consecutive year, Astoria’s N-line seems to strive hard to maintain this reputation: It had less scheduled service, riders had a below-average chance of getting a seat, the line was rated last in cleanliness as well as for adequacy of train announcements.
Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr. declared, “Obviously this report raises serious concerns and there is always room for improvement.”
But the Transit Authority said comparing the operation of subway lines with different customer demands made the Straphanger report “seriously flawed.”
TA spokesman Paul Fleuranges said the subways were not designed to “offer everyone a seat during rush hour, particularly at the most crowded point along the route.”
The Straphangers Campaign is a public transportation watchdog and transit activist organization.
Victor Ross is a freelance writer.

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