F train riders in southern Brooklyn will have a little relief this summer, because the F train will be going express between Church Avenue and Jay Street-Metrotech. Council Member David Greenfield issued a statement, saying: "This is a huge victory for Brooklyn’s commuters, who for years have had to endure lengthy commutes and overcrowded trains."
Greenfield explained, "In my very first campaign over six years ago, I literally ran on this issue. I will never forget standing at F train stations, asking people for their votes so I could fight to restore the F express. They were skeptical. However, six years later we got it done!" His office emailed the below details with a subject line giving him full credit for the F express: "Breaking: Greenfield Brings Back the F Express Train." The email read:
The program will begin on a limited basis in Summer 2016, with more regular express service expected to follow in Summer of 2017. When fully implemented, F express service will run during rush hour between Church Avenue and Jay Street-MetroTech. This will benefit hundreds of thousands of commuters every day who have up until now struggled with delayed and overcrowded trains. It is expected that this new service will save F train commuters, who currently experience some of the longest waits in the transit system, as much as 15 minutes per trip. Additionally, the restoration of F express service will reduce operational conflicts between the F and G trains, reducing congestion and unnecessary delays...
F express service was suspended in 1987 due to track work. It was assumed that the service would be restored after track work was completed, but that never happened. In the early 1990s, several plans were considered for restoring express service to the F line, but all were discarded due to budget constraints at the time. Over the years, F service has steadily deteriorated even as the population served by the line has grown.
It happens that Second Avenue Sagas considered the F train express plan yesterday, pointing out, "F express service would lead to reduced service for some of the F’s busiest Brooklyn stations. Carroll St., Smith-9th Sts., 4th-9th Sts., and 15th St.-Prospect Park, to name a few, would see less frequent F train service, and the ridership from those stations far outpaces the number of riders who would gain a few minutes from the express service... Word is that the MTA’s own studies on the F express plan show little to no net travel gains from the F express plan, but the idea is a political hot potato that the agency isn’t comfortable quashing quite yet." Note: The overall number of F trains
Knee jerk reaction is that this is a selfish move by @NYCGreenfield that pits neighbors against each other & makes overall F service worse.
— Second Ave. Sagas (@2AvSagas) May 17, 2016
We've contacted the MTA for a comment and will update when we hear back. It's also unclear what the start and end dates for express train service are, but we imagine that the school calendar has something to do with it (the last day of school is June 28; the first day of school is September 8). It's possible they've been testing the express—a tipster tells us that last week "during rush hours, some F-trains [had] been skipping Bergen, Carroll and Smith/9th Street by running on the express track from 4th Avenue to Jay Street... MTA site claims it is due to planned work, but I see no work being done anywhere. Trains [were] way less packed as a result."