Express F Train Tradeoffs: Shorten Commutes in Brownstone Belt or Southern Brooklyn?

Photo via Wikipedia


    Express F train service will begin again starting this summer, Councilman David G. Greenfield announced on Tuesday. The release of a feasibility study [PDF] on express F train service by the MTA coincided with the announcement.

    The MTA, however, has not yet approved the recommendation to restore express service, and is only now beginning a process to determine what is best for affected commuters as well as what is best for the agency itself.

    Where do you stand?

    f train

    Image by MTA

    The proposal

    If approved, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz told Brownstoner, express service would begin in the fall of 2017, not this summer. As outlined by the feasibility study, express service would entail some 50 percent of F trains skipping all stops between Church Avenue and Jay Street MetroTech (with the exception of 7th Avenue) in both direction during rush hours periods.

    There’s a catch

    This would mean a shorter commute for those coming from the less accessible, and also less trafficked south Brooklyn stops between Coney Island and Church Avenue, but more delays for those at the F train’s most crowded Brooklyn stations, in the brownstone belt in northwest Brooklyn.

    What F train express proponents want:

    Proponents of the return of an F express, such as Greenfield, argue that since Southern Brooklyn straphangers have longer commutes than riders at the local stops being skipped between Church and Jay Street, the F express is “only fair.”

    What F train express critics want

    The opposition wants continued, if not better, service at the local F stations the express would skip. They also want less overcrowding.

    The opposition complains that the six stops proposed to be skipped by an F express are far more frequented than the south Brooklyn stations which would benefit from the proposal. Indeed, the MTA’s study found the F train to be the most crowded between Bergen and Jay Streets.

    Additionally, the study found that an F express would be more crowded than current F trains, with worsened stair crowding at some stations.

    F Train Brooklyn

    Image by MTA

    Time saved and lost

    According to the MTA’s feasibility study, express riders would save 3.4 minutes during morning rush hours while local riders would only lose an average of 1.3 minutes. As well, express service could potentially lessen delays along the Culver line caused by the G train.

    Five facts:

    • Should an F express be implemented, no additional F trains would be added
    • Service at skipped stations would be down by 50 percent during peak times
    • The MTA calculates that express service would net a total of 27,000 minutes of saved travel time
    • Express F service operated from 1968 to 1987, when it was suspended due to structural work
    • The change would benefit stations located south of Church Avenue in Kensington, Borough Park, Midwood, Gravesend and Coney Island, all of which have significantly lower population densities than the neighborhoods that would be burdened, namely Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill

    What do you think?

    Is it “only fair” for Brownstone belt riders to endure extra delays so their southern brethren can get to Manhattan faster? Is this the most efficient use of resources, or would an F express create more problems than it solves? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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