The MTA's Fastrack program, which shuts down large portions of subway lines overnight, isn't just for Manhattan any more. The pilot program will be expanded to the outer boroughs - possibly to the chagrin of late night riders.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said Fastrack will continue into next year, when it will expand to lines in the outer boroughs and possibly the N, Q and R trains along Broadway in Manhattan.
Originally, the shutdowns were only supposed to take place in Manhattan, and only this year, for a total of 16 weeks of inconvenience. But the MTA has declared Fastrack a success because of how much maintenance is getting done.
Each Fastrack shutdown lasts Monday to Friday, from 10 at night until 5 in the morning. The program, started in January, allows crews to work for seven straight hours on long stretches of track without stopping to let trains pass by.
But that means late night riders have to scramble to find a shuttle bus or trek to another subway line to get to where they want to go. The MTA has warned that riders should expect to add about 20 minutes to each trip when a line is shut for fastrack.
According to the MTA, "Fastrack is a safer and more efficient way to maintain and clean New York City's sprawling subway - a system that never closes...800 MTA employees are able to inspect signals, replace rails and cross ties, scrape track floors, clean stations and paint areas that are not reachable during normal train operation."
Fast Track continues this week with the suspension of the B, D, F and M lines between 57th and West 4th Streets, starting Monday night.