August 14, 2007

The Subway's 'Underdog'

From today's Metro NY:

The subway’s ‘underdog’
Brooklyn blogger expresses G love, and calls for better service
by michael rundle / metro new york
AUG 14, 2007

INTERVIEW. The much-maligned G train is in need of a boost, according to a Brooklyn blogger. The area it serves is booming and ridership is growing, but the trains are still the shortest and breakdowns are increasing. Now the “Save The G” campaign, a group of transit advocates formed in 2001, is relaunching its Web site and calling on the MTA to bring the G into the 21st century. Metro asked “Save The G” staffer Teresa Toro to explain why the ghost train deserves our love.

What’s wrong with the G?

It’s a reliability issue. Even when the G is running, people have learned not to trust that it will run on schedule. It has some of the longest waiting times in the system. When you know the next train isn’t going to be for 10 minutes, and you hear it coming in, and you know it will be all the way down the platform because it’s only four cars long — people sprain ankles and drop belongings desperately trying to run for the train.

Why do we need to save it?

G train ridership has been steadily increasing and the MTA still hasn’t given the G train the kind of attention and planning it gives to other lines. The changes in service a few years ago were based on studies predicting population declines on the Brooklyn waterfront. Clearly the opposite has happened.

Do you still have affection for the G despite these problems?

The G is the transit system’s underdog. It’s kind of this underachieving kid that you want to do well because you see the potential.

Were you inspired by the recent campaign for an F train express?

That was really exciting, yes, because the G is another underused train. It could connect to so much more. It definitely was inspiring. Also the new leadership at the MTA was a nice change of pace. I think the key is strength in numbers. People don’t realize their inconvenience is the pet peeve of 12,000 other people.

What practical changes do you want the MTA to make?

In the short term we want better communications. We also think that the new Rider Report Cards should be introduced into the G.

And the V has the least ridership numbers in the system. I don’t see why the MTA can’t consider reallocating some of those cars.

With budget shortfalls on the horizon is this the wrong time to push for investment?

No, actually this is the time to be reminding the MTA that the G is providing more service than it used to.

Where to go
The “Save the G” campaign can be found at

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