Members of the Transport Workers Union Local 100 are calling on the MTA to restore service cuts to the C and F lines that were put in place last spring. The MTA cut about one third of its rush hour trips on those lines at the start of the pandemic, as ridership plummeted below 95 percent.
The union says workers want those shifts back, and the reduction of service has resulted in increased crowding, particularly on the F train, as ridership has slowly returned.
“It’s physically more crowded, particularly on the F trains,” Eric Loegel Vice President of Rapid Transit Operations at the Transport Workers Union Local 100 told Gothamist/ WNYC. “So it’s not good for the public, and it’s not good for our members.”
The MTA disputes these concerns.
“Service levels on the C and F lines have been in place for nearly one year. Ridership is being closely monitored and has not yet returned significantly,” MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek wrote in a statement. “We continue to provide appropriate levels of service on the C and F given current demand, have restored some of the service that had been removed last year, and look forward ridership bouncing back to enable further increases.”
As a result of reduced service on the C line, wait times for trains have increased between two minutes and four-and-a-half minutes. Waits on the F line have increased between four minutes, and just 30 seconds sometimes, depending on the time of day.
Ridership on those lines remains far below pre-pandemic levels, with average weekday day service on the C line at only 28%, and the F at 33%.
“Reducing service is the wrong message to send as riders are coming back to the system,” Lisa Daglian, the executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, wrote in a statement. “People need to feel comfortable as they get back on board, including not being overcrowded.”
“Earlier this week we saw the outcry on the Long Island Rail Road when service was cut, and that should have sent a loud and clear message that riders and elected officials are not going to just accept these reductions – nor should they,” Daglian wrote.
Also this week, in the wake of the passage of the $2 trillion federal stimulus package, which includes $6.5 billion allocated for the MTA, transit advocates are calling for a return to full 24-hour subway service, and for the MTA to restore any pandemic-era cuts.
On Monday, MTA Chairman Pat Foye appeared to open the door to 24-hour service resumption.
“We're looking forward to bringing back 24-hour service as soon as we can,” Foye said.
His comment was an upgrade from last month, when he flatly declared there was “no timeline” for a return of 24-hour subway service.