Queens straphangers say 7 train needs full line review now

7 train
THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

Fed up with delays, overcrowding and poor infrastructure, 7 train riders are taking matters into their own hands.

Commuters who frequent the 7 train gathered at the 40th-Lowery Street station in Sunnyside on Tuesday to demand that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) conduct a full line review.

The riders were joined by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who said his constituents “blow up” his social media feeds every morning when there are train delays and crowded platforms.

“This is not happening once in a while, in a big city, on a busy train line,” Van Bramer said. “It happens almost every single day. The MTA knows this.”

He also added that the 52nd Street-Roosevelt Avenue stop in Woodside was voted the worst station in New York City in terms of structural components by the Citizens Budget Commission last year.

Sunnyside resident Melissa Orlando is a founder of the Facebook page 7 Train Blues, a forum for riders to share their 7 train experiences and update each other on train delays. Orlando argues that the service has gotten worse in the last year.

“We’ve had at least five days with train outages,” Orlando said. “It’s unacceptable for the people of Queens to have this level of service.”

Hayes Peter Mauro, a 7 train rider and media director for Access Queens, said the train is “dangerously crowded” and passengers have to frequently wait for multiple trains to go by before they can get on one. Mauro said the MTA has been telling passengers for several years that the signal system will be fixed, but the improvements have not been made yet.

“On a regular basis, every week there are shutdowns, service disruptions,” Mauro said. “It’s not just the crowding, it’s also the tracks themselves and we know they’re working on it, yet this keeps happening.”

A spokesperson for the MTA said the agency has “enhanced inspections and added additional personnel to improve response times to right-of-way incidents on the 7 line that is beginning to stabilize service along the line.”

Several incidents such as a broken rail line have “negatively impacted service” in the past few weeks, he added.

Access Queens is requesting that the MTA appoint a community liaison to listen to riders’ frustrations, and a town hall meeting is currently being planned, with an invitation sent to the MTA board and new president.

Officials for the MTA said they would be open to meeting with the community.

Van Bramer, along with Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Councilmen Daniel Dromm and Peter Koo, sent a letter on Monday to MTA CEO Thomas Prendergast calling for the review.

“After years of ongoing signals work, 7 train riders deserve the best service the MTA can offer, and a Full-Line Review can help achieve that,” the letter read.

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