Thursday, February 28, 2008

Take the Super A Train

So let's kick off this series with my pet peeve favorite topic: the A train. I love it, except when I hate it.

The A runs close to my door and gets me to just about anywhere I need to go in Manhattan. And it's express. When all is right with the world, it gets me downtown in about 35 minutes, which is a beautiful thing.

But there's a catch: starting at (the rather early hour of) 10:30 p.m., it runs local. And it runs local every time the MTA does track work on the line, which is, oh, about every weekend (2007, anyone?). For some reason, they also like to run a special shuttle periodically between 207th and 168th streets, which can really slow you down, or just shut down that part of the line entirely and run free buses.

Have you ever noticed the train engaging in other strange behaviors late at night? Like traveling at half-speed, or stopping inexplicably for several minutes when you're halfway through a tunnel, or waiting interminably at a platform with its doors hanging open? Or not showing up for 40 minutes when they're supposed to be running every 20? Any of these unfortunate events can suck the joy out of even the most ardent Inwoodist's life.

Now, I don't want to risk getting killed or seriously injured or simply suffering through train break-downs and delays every time I hop on the subway (which is just about every day, multiple times a day), so I understand the need for maintenance, but can't the MTA do any better?

Go visit Paris and see how a world-class subway system can run. Their trains are clean, efficient, and run on time.

So here are my proposals for improving service on the A train, running from smallest to largest:
  • FASTER, PUSSYCAT: Lengthen the hours of operation for express service--at the very least, run the A express until midnight Su-Th and 1:30 a.m. F-Sa. Even better, run it express 24 hours per day, like the D train. (Have you ever experienced 145 St. envy?) This will require, of course, keeping the C train in operation during extended hours.
  • DROP STOPS AND ROLL: Eliminate unnecessary stops that are already covered by local service and do not provide significant transit links--145 St, Canal St, Chambers St
  • EXTEND IT: Build local tracks up to 207th St, then cover all stops between 207 and 168 streets with the C.
Now we have it: the super A train. It runs 24 hours and services the following stops: 207, 168, 125, 59, 42, 34, 14, 4, Broadway-Nassau. Imagine, all of Manhattan in just 9 stops, with Midtown only 4 stops away.

Since I believe in self-determination, I'll let the Brooklynites figure out where the Super A should stop in their borough.

1 comment:

thegayrecluse said...

All of these are great suggestions. The MTA definitely gives short shrift to uptown Manhattan. How about renovating some stations, too!