Ask the MTA | Alternatives to the F train and connections between platforms

amNewYork Metro, in conjunction with the MTA, presents “Ask the MTA,” a column where MTA officials answer your questions about transit service in New York City. If you have a question for the MTA about subways, buses, commuter trains and more, email askthemta[@]amny.com.

Q: I would like to know why the MTA refuses to provide shuttles between Church Avenue and Stillwell Ave on weekends when the F train does not run between these stations? The alternative routes offered are time consuming and the buses, B8 and B11 are particularly unreliable. It’s grossly embarrassing and unfair. —Paul Anderson

A: Weekend service is frequently suspended on this portion of Line F due to ongoing construction to upgrade signals. When this happens, we advise passengers to use nearby bus routes to connect to the D, N and Q lines. We also operate the local N service in Brooklyn so passengers have an additional transfer option at 4 Av-9 St.

Weekend subway ridership has been significantly reduced during the pandemic and is now approximately 30% below pre-pandemic levels, and alternate bus and subway routes have ample room for passengers F diverted. However, we recognize the inconvenience to customers, and will continue to monitor ridership and consider operating an F shuttle if ridership increases. – Allyson Bechtel, NYCT Director of Operations Analytics

Q: I live near a local metro station and often make a few stops on the train to catch the express. On rare occasions we stop at the express station and an express train is waiting for us. But before the local train doors open and the mad dash to the platform can be performed, the express closes. What’s wrong with that? I have to imagine there’s some sort of timetable reason behind this, but I can’t help but think there’s a sadistic train operator behind this infuriating experience. Which is it? —Jacob Kaye

A: During peak hours, when train service is most frequent, our drivers are generally advised to refrain from holding trains for on-platform connections. The short time between trains during peak hours allows us to provide fast service to our customers without the need to make transfers on the platform, which could unnecessarily delay passengers on trains behind the one at the station.

Sometimes trains are held up at stations by supervisors for operational reasons, such as waiting for a train just ahead to change tracks or to adjust the schedule. Such situations may incidentally allow transfers between platforms, although sometimes a necessary adjustment of schedules will result in a missed connection.

Nevertheless, we recognize the importance of making these connections at times of the day when train service is less frequent and when waiting times between trains are longer. Drivers are instructed to allow connections on the platform during off-peak hours when two trains arrive simultaneously, and neither would be unduly delayed if held for a connection. – Allyson Bechtel, NYCT Director of Operations Analytics

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