Hipsters, rejoice: An arbitrator said the L train conductors must go back to work because removing them violated a labor agreement. The MTA had removed conductors from L trains, in hopes of taking advantage of technology (the special, shiny robot trains) and trying to reduce costs (and start removing "excess" conductors from other train lines), giving riders the One Person Train Operation instead during nights and weekends - and then all the time later this year. The transit unions had argued that straphanger safety was at issue, though riders themselves were divided about how effective conductors were. NYC Transit called the ruling an "overly technical" reading of the agreement, as it says one person train crews are only okay for trains under 300 feet, and the L train is 480 feet. However, NYPIRG and the Straphangers' Gene Russianoff told the Times, "It makes no sense in an age of terrorism to leave only one person at the front of a train that might be carrying more than 2,000 people." Well, of course - and only the MTA would invest millions in trains whose technology might not be used because they are not going over labor agreements with a fine tooth comb.
What has the L service on nights and weekends, with just one person operating the train, been like? More or less of a hassle - or just the same old same old?