MTA Rebuffs Queens Councilman’s Plan To Ease Burden For 7 Line Commuters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The MTA is facing some backlash for rejecting a plan that might have eased weekend disruptions on the 7 line.

Plenty of commuters have voiced their complaints regarding the fact that the 7 Train will be screeching to a halt every week through April.

“Most of my friends live in Manhattan, so it’s making me spend more in cab fare to get in and out of the city. The next 11 weekends I have plans almost every weekend in Manhattan, so it’s going to cost me a lot more money, or a lot more time to get in,” Catherine Hart, of Long Island City, told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.

Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer decided to take action and said he got approval to use $250,000 in city funds to pay for a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard Station to Grand Central.

“I said let’s talk about alternatives. Let’s think out of the box. The community has been asking for a shuttle bus service,” he told Schneider.

However, the MTA said no thanks and came up with its own plan.

“I said to the MTA, ‘please do not do this to my constituents. Let’s come up with a solution, let’s mitigate the damage.’ We don’t dispute that it’s necessary work. We get it, it’s necessary work — no one’s complaining about that. But MTA work with us to try and keep our residents moving,” Van Bramer said.

For the next 10 weekends, the MTA will shuttle people from the Vernon Boulevard Station, which is well within view of Manhattan to the Queensboro Plaza Station, which is actually further west into Queens. From there, riders can take a different line into Manhattan.

CBS 2 spoke with an MTA spokesman who says the agency turned down Van Bramer’s offer because the alternate subway route is more efficient and faster than a shuttle bus. Plus, he said, there isn’t room to stage the buses in front of Grand Central. However, straphangers aren’t buying it.

“I think that sucks – they should definitely take into account the inconveniences,” Hannah Yang said.

“That’s what we need. If we had that, it wouldn’t be so bad,” Karolyn Richter said.

Some people, however, do agree with the MTA. They wonder if it’s worth it to spend $250,000 in tax payer dollars for a non-essential shuttle bus to Grand Central.

The re-route will be in effect the next 10 weekends while the MTA performs track signal work.

Has the planned work on the 7 line affected you?  Tell us about it in the comments section…

  • darth nova

    I remember this would happen back in the 1980’s all the time. Had to take the shuttle the Vernon – Jackson Ave Station to the Queensboro Plaza Station, and then take the train into Manhattan. It was a hassle on Saturday Nights when the clubs were open, and you’re trying to get into the city for some fun and relaxation. Plus to meet someone as well! LOL!

    You would think that the MTA would have it’s act together with this now, but I guess that it hasn’t. At least you’re not in the DC area where they do their track work during the weekday and weekend by screwing up the train lines with track work and making everyone get delayed into getting to work or anything else that they have planned. Plus the fare down here is terrible! You have to pay for whatever stop you get off! At least in the NYC transit system, it’s just one fare 24/7, and the DC trains and buses do not run 24/7. So everyone in NYC are lucky to pay just one fare, and not something that is much more.

  • JZ

    I support Councilman Van Brammer, MTA decisions make no sense. There is a lot business and tax revenue lost, by all the folks from the LIC area not going into the city on the weekends. I’m assuming cost of running a bus to Grand Central is about the same cost as the bus to Queensboro Plaza, and more efficient for New Yorkers.

  • Michael H.

    Um, Queensboro Plaza is EAST, not west, of Vernon-Jackson.

    Does anybody at CBS have a map?

  • Fred

    Maybe the riders on this line should boycott this line ….. yea like that’s gonna happen, or how about demonstrations against the MTA ….. have the national news show the country what a lousy management the MTA really has and they don’t care about the passengers.

  • Linda Elsey

    The governor needs to stop allowing all these idiots from wasting taxpayers money, let MTA take care of their own travel plans. What do we have, 60,000 flipping politicians throwing our money away ? No wonder our taxes are so much higher in New York State, these politicians need to be stopped.

    • Kris Woods

      I hope your train line is shut down for 11 straight weekends and the MTA’s solution is to take you in the other direction from where you want to go.

  • maggie baker

    Reading the signs is not the problem. Not having reliable transportation service is. It’s ridiculous that the MTA gets away with this year after year. This isn’t the first time they’ve taken the train out of service for long stretches of time. 8 weeks this past fall. Now 11 weeks this winter/spring. That’s almost half of a year we are out of service. Not to mention the stretch of time last winter/spring. And I understand these outages are not ending any time soon. Many years to go with the construction work. I appreciate improvements need to be made, but they aren’t working with the community that is negatively impacted by the outages.

    The shuttles are not reliable. Sometimes it’s a 5 minute wait. Usually it’s a 30 minute wait for the bus. Beyond unreasonable to stand out in the cold and snow and not know when the shuttle bus is coming. Maybe they built us a bus shelter. But really it would be a lot easier if we could at least take a bus to Grand Central. I’ll pay for my ride using my Metro Card….the one I pay for every month.

    At the least, I would like to get credit for the weekends without service on my monthly pass. 11 weekends = 22 days without service. Seems like we are owed something other than additional service outages and fair hikes.

  • Annoyed Train Operator

    There have been posters on the train announcing the MTA Capital Program for months. And every week there are COLORFUL notices at EVERY STATION that update and notify riders about the upcoming week and weekend’s work and scheduled changes. If people would just pay attention, shut their iPods off for a sec, and read notices instead of being ignorant and lazy…maybe you would know whats going on? IJS.

    • Jamie C.

      It’s not a question of whether or not there are bright and colorful posters in the stations. It’s the fact that I can’t use the subway for 20% of the week for the next 11 weeks! If you think MTA is doing such a bang up job, I would invite you to not use the subway on the weekends to see how it feels.

  • Richard Flanagan

    The Mta should honor the metro card at 61st Woodside LIRR stop. That would help alleviate the struggle. Jersey Transit cross honors tickets of PATH customers when problems arise. Great report by Schneider!

  • james

    just like when there is a delay on 7 line service.The MTA would never tell you on a 4,5,or 6 line until you walk down stairs and ramp just to find out there are delays or no service at all. MTA= metro trained assholes

  • Thomas Pacheco

    By the way, they’ve been doing this type of work between Grand Central and Queensboro plaza for over 12 years. Hmmmmm, something is wrong with that picture.

  • Thomas Pacheco

    The MTA have always disrespected the passengers of New York. They cater to the outside contractors and the MTA makes money with them. Councilman, use your power to investigate members of the MTA for possible corruption. I guarantee you that they will think twice about rebuffing an elected official

  • VikingIrish

    Jimmy is a great city councilman. If an elected official can not implement a sensible solution to such an absurd problem, what chance to ordinary citizens have? Its immensely discouraging.

  • Unhappy Camper

    On Sunday, I took the 6 to Grand Central only to be greeted by yellow tape stopping me from going down the steps to the 7. It would have been nice to have a message beforehand, I could’ve just gotten off at 51st instead. The 6 train made no mention of 7 trains not running.

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