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MTA Upping Service on L Train to Reduce ‘Sardine Crush’ of Riders

Monday, June 11, 2012

WNYC

The chronically overcrowded L train is now running 98 more times a week. The MTA just finished installing a new radio-based signal system that allows trains on the line to travel close together and, as a result, more frequently.

Brooklyn Democratic District Leader Lincoln Restler, who joined elected officials at a press conference outside the Bedford Avenue stop in Williamsburg, said it's about time. "The complaint I receive most frequently about quality of life for Williamsburg residents is L train service," he said. "It is terrible. We've been unable to fit onto trains for too long."

Ridership on the L train has grown 141 percent since 1998 because of a population boom in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the fastest growing neighborhoods in Brooklyn. It's not unusual for riders during the morning rush to let a packed train pass because there's no room to board.

Riders now see 16 more trains on weekdays and 18 more trains over the course of a weekend. That comes to 98 more round trips per week.

The MTA says, during the morning rush, customers can shave 30 seconds off their wait time with trains now every 3 minutes. Non-rush hour weekday riders, as well as Saturday night revelers, can expect a train every six minutes, down from 7 ½ minutes. And Sunday evening straphangers can expect a train every 6 minutes, down from 8 ½ minutes.

State Senator Daniel Squadron said those improvements should lessen claustrophobia on the line. "That means that you're going to spread out that sardine can crush. It'll still be standing room only but it'll at least get us below over-capacity."

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