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What Fresh L Is This? MTA Slashes Weeknight L Train Service Until End Of November

Goodbye forever, L train.
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Goodbye forever, L train. Sharilyn Neidhardt/Flickr

Oh, I'm sorry, were you hoping to take advantage of a running L train in these last few moments/months before service to Manhattan is completely shut down in April? One resounding nope to that: On Wednesday, it came to our attention that the MTA had quietly posted a fresh service change that will seed discord into your travel plans through the end of November.

Effective immediately (actually, it turns out, since Monday), the L train will not run between Broadway Junction and 8th Avenue, from 10:45 pm until 5 a.m. every weekday until November 30th, because of "track maintenance."

Commuters can instead take free shuttle buses in Brooklyn and, in Manhattan, the M14 crosstown bus. If for some wild reason you wanted to cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan, or vice versa, you'll need to take one of these buses to the J or A lines. The MTA has provided a helpful chart to help you plan your travel between now and November 29th, so you can reduce your risk of getting stranded because again, the MTA announced this disruption in a manner akin to whispering on a rush hour L train.

But wait, there's more! From 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., on Monday through Friday, from now until November 16th, L trains will run every 12 minutes between Myrtle-Wyckoff and Rockaway Parkway. The MTA cites "signal improvements" as the reason for this slow-down.

A few important caveats: Regular night service will be available on Oct. 31, so if you have a rowdy Halloween and need to get back to Manhattan or Brooklyn or anywhere along the line at, say, 3:00 a.m. on Nov. 1st, your drunk ass won't need to navigate a tangled web of provisional bus routes. Regular night service will also remain intact from Nov. 21 to 23, presumably because Thanksgiving. Thanks, MTA, for that.

But no thanks for this in a larger sense, because recall, the L has already been suspended every weekend in October, as well as the weekends of November 9-12 and 16-19. And that's just 2018! The L will also enter into mini-shutdown mode every weekend in February, and also three weekends (read: most weekends) in March. This is just a small taste of the much larger inconvenience we will all suffer when the MTA begins its larger shutdown in April, slated to stretch at least 15 months.

We asked the MTA to comment on this latest update, and to explain why these newly scheduled track maintenance and signal improvements could not be undertaken in the course of the larger shutdown, which, again, does not have an official start date set and therefore, no definite end date. Here is what MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek had to say about that:

There’s been signage out about this for quite a while. Note that the entire L line is not shutting down in April. Only the Manhattan stations are closing. Bedford to Canarsie-Rockaway Pkwy will still be running. Right now there’s extensive maintenance work going on that portion of the line as well as on other lines we expect people to take as an alternative, so that service is as reliable as possible while the L tunnel to Manhattan is closed.

Meanwhile, the MTA pinky swears that it will do its best to avoid weekend work on train lines that run between Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan for the duration of the shutdown. Ha ha ha it feels so good to laugh again.

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