More on Great G Train Debate

g2 More on Great G Train DebateOn Friday morning, I posted about transit activists’ attempts to pressure the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to move V cars to the G train. Friday afternoon, we received from Jim Trent of the Queens Civic Congress a copy of the note he sent to MTA chief executive Elliot Sander, and the eight-page letter he received in response.

Mr. Trent wrote:

The V, being underutilized, should sacrifice two of its eight cars with the cars being returned to the G trains from whence they were taken, thus increasing G trains from four to six cars. Given the length of platforms in the City subway system, no train should operate as four cars. The Queens Civic Congress had argued at the time the V train was conceived that if the MTA was short rolling stock, it should wait until new cars were delivered, but [MTA Chairman, Peter] Kalikow didn’t want to wait.
So he robbed the G of some of its cars to create the V. …
The MTA is awash in bad publicity over the conditions on the G. This includes poor station maintenance, short trains, long headways, and curtailment of service north of Court Square. We would all be ahead of the game, both riders and MTA image, if at least some of the changes outlined above could be achieved. actually [sic], I don’t see why all of the changes couldn’t be implemented. …

And Mr. Sander responded:

We do agree that G service could be enhanced. Scheduled G service along Queens Boulevard frequently cannot operate due to ongoing capital projects and maintenance work that restrict track capacity along the Queens Boulevard line. …

The shortening of the G to 4 cars from 6 did not generate cars for the V. When the 63rd Street Connection opened, the G train length was shortened in order to increase G service frequency. G service was increased from 6 trains per hour with 6-car trains to 9 trains per hour with 4-car trains, leaving the same number of cars serving G riders (36 cars per hour per direction). Shortening the V to 6 cars and lengthening the G to 6 cars is also not feasible because of NYCT’s practice of permanently coupling cars into half-train-length units. ‘Linking’ cars this way is one of the key strategies NYCT has used to boost reliability of the car fleet to record levels. … Train length is based on a number of factors, including ridership levels and train frequency. There is a trade-off on the G line between service frequency and train length. …