No. 7 straphangers demand better service from MTA

By Bill Parry

Fed up with poor service on the No. 7 subway line, angry straphangers joined community leaders at a rally beneath the 40th Street station in Sunnyside during Tuesday’s morning rush. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) called on the MTA to implement and expedite a complete Full-Line Review of the 7 line, something that has proven successful on the A, C, F, G and L trains.

“Over the last several weeks constant delays and service interruptions have piled up, crippling morning commutes for thousands of 7 train riders,” Van Bramer said. “These delays, which lead to overcrowding on platforms and dangerous conditions at numerous stations, cannot continue to go on without a response from the MTA. The MTA cannot ignore the voices of my constituents and all 7 train riders who suffer every day.”

Three other Council members from districts along the No. 7 line—Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst) and Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing)—joined Van Bramer in drafting a letter to MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast, demanding a Full-Line Review. The top-to-bottom study of the line’s operation would examine the implementation of new signal upgrades in addition to day-to-day operations and maintenance.

Last month, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) held a rally at the Main Street station, where he warned development in Flushing would further strain a line that is already over capacity.

“Enough is enough,” Van Bramer said. “Riders need relief now. The MTA cannot continue to neglect hardworking New Yorkers who pay for subpar service.”

In September, the Citizens Budget Commission released a report ranking the city’s 467 subway stations. Four 7 line stations were among the 10 worst in the city, which included six in Queens. The 52nd Street station was ranked the worst.

“For years now, every one of us can tell story after story about 7 train experiences, and none of them have happy endings,” Community Board 2 Chairman Patrick O’Brien said. “People need and deserve reliable, timely and efficient 7 train service, and the simple fact is that the MTA has not delivered it. Whatever plans and promises have been made, they have not been realized and certainly have not had any significant effect in mitigating or eliminating the daily 7 Train Blues we all live with. Glaciers erode rock quicker than the MTA acts, but we live in real time, not geologic time, and we need these improvements now.”

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the agency has been making capital improvements on the 7 line over the past several year to increase rider capacity and service reliability.

“We are fully committed to conducting line reviews of all the system’s lines,” Ortiz said. “In addition, over the past several months, we have enhanced inspections and added additional personnel to improve response times to right-of-way incidents on the 7 line that are beginning to stabilize service along the line, However, there have been a couple of major incidents on the line over the past several weeks, a broken rail for example, that have negatively impacted service.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.