Transportation Nation

MTA Fastrack To Expand To Beyond Manhattan

Monday, May 14, 2012

NY MTA workers repairing subway track during a Fastrack service shutdown. (MTA Photos/flickr)

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Fast Track program, which shuts down large portions of subway lines entirely overnight, isn't just for Manhattan any more. Outer borough riders who take the subway late at night will see the pilot program expanded--possibly to their chagrin.

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 to get to where they want to go. The NY MTA website warns they should expect to add about 20 minutes to each trip.

The NY MTA explains the need for the program this way: "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."

Originally, the shutdowns were only supposed to take place in Manhattan, and only this year, for a total of 16 weeks of inconvenience. But already the NY MTA has declared it a success because of how much maintenance is getting done. And now spokesman Kevin Ortiz says Fast Track 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.

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

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MTA's Fastrack to Expand To Outer Boroughs

Monday, May 14, 2012


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.

Comments [1]


Fastrack Returns to Manhattan's West Side

Monday, April 23, 2012

The MTA will be partially closing the A, C and E subway lines overnight again this week.


Transportation Nation

New York's Night Riders Unhappy with Subway Sleep

Monday, January 09, 2012

The New York subway is the only major city subway that runs through the night (and one of few in the world), complicating track and system repair. With some fanfare, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is rolling out FASTRACK, "a new way to work on the rails."

Beginning tonight, the 4, 5, and 6 lines which run down the East Side of Manhattan will be closed from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., from Grand Central station to Atlantic avenue, Brooklyn's largest train hub. A busy six-mile stretch with 15 stops will have no trains passing through at all. That's a good thing, the MTA says, meaning repairs can happen much more quickly than they could with repair workers darting between trains (metaphorically speaking.)

Even so, in New York, where the subways run round the clock, anytime is someone's time. Here's a sampling of night riders, and what they had to say.

Frances Ruiz, on her way back to Flatbush, Brooklyn from visiting relatives in Riverdale, the Bronx.  "I don't know what we would do. It would be a problem."  (Photo: Jim O'Grady)


Adam Martinez, heading home from a successful date. "I live and work in the Bronx but I take the 4,5,6 regularly to have a social life and if this line is shut down four times a year, four days in a row, it'll greatly hinder that." (Photo: Jim O'Grady)

Writer Andrea Mustain, commuting back to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. "10 o'clock, that's crazy. How dare they." (Photo: Jim O'Grady)

Comedian Eric Mangin:  "I believe I can take the N or the R to Atlantic and switch to the 2,3. I have four trains at my stop so I'm pretty lucky. I don't think it's going to be too much of an inconvenience but I know for a lot of people, it's a big headache." (Photo: Jim O'Grady)

Darlene Womack, who travels from Morrisiana in the Bronx to her security guard job in the West Village. "Get it together, fix the tracks, you know. Do it on they (their) time not on ours." (Photo: Jim O'Grady)

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Transportation Nation

NYC Tries Out First Ever Weeknight Work-Related Line Shutdown

Monday, January 02, 2012

(photo by tracktwentynine via Flickr)

Starting on Monday, January 9, New York's MTA will be suspending all 4/5/6 subway service between Grand Central/42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, in both directions, for four consecutive weeknights, from 10pm to 5am.

New York has one of the few transit systems in the world that runs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That’s why what will happen next week on the Lexington Avenue subway line represents a sea change for the city.

This is the first time the city is closing down sections of an entire subway line for track and signal work. And it's not the last. The MTA is piloting something it's calling Fastrack, which it calls "a new way of working on the rails."

In 2012, sections of four subway lines — the 4/5/6, the B/D/E, and 1/2/3 and the A/C/E — will be entirely shut down. Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said it's worth looking at.

"There's some good arguments," he said, "particularly about worker safety, not having trains do movements around repair sites, but it's a big change for the riding public and for some riders it could mean serious inconvenience."

Deirdre Parker, a spokesperson with the MTA, said the agency knows it will affect a lot of people. "The late-night weeknight ridership is approximately 250,000," she said, "so this will affect 10 - 15 percent of riders." But she said the shutdown makes conditions safer for employees — and it will save the MTA between $10 and $15 million a year.

The MTA added it's only doing this work on lines where there are a lot of alternatives, but that the shutdown will add about twenty minutes to riders' usual travel times. While it's not adding shuttle buses, Parker said for the upcoming Lexington Line shutdown, the MTA will operate the Times Square Shuttle all night, and it will have additional N/Q/R trains standing by.

To learn more about the upcoming Lexington Avenue line closure, see the MTA's brochure here (pdf).

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