L train commuters certainly didn’t notice much of an improvement on their crowded line on Monday, the first day of newly expanded service.
Straphangers packed themselves into trains that were just as crowded on Monday as they were last Friday, two days before Transit added two trains on the line, between 8 and 9 am, bringing the number of rush hour trains to 17 trains.
But did they help? Certainly not, if you were reading the digital signs on the Manhattan-bound platform at the Lorimer Street station.
Even though the new service was supposed to improve arrival times to one train every three and a half minutes, the signs — like clockwork — indicated that the rush-hour trains were still coming once every five minutes.
“I don’t see any difference,” said one L-train regular, looking around the crowded platform. “Maybe the train won’t be so crowded today.”
She ended up disappointed.
“It seems like a normal morning to me,” added another straphanger.
Subway watchdog Gene Russianoff of NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign said riders should not expect miracles — or a less-packed commute — overnight. And he should know; he’s been a subway watchdog for decades.
“Whenever the MTA starts more service to reduce overcrowding there is always a transition period when the problem remains,” Russianoff said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will launch a second phase of increased service on the L in mid-December that will have trains running more frequently at mid-day, during the evening rush and on weekends.
At that point, trains will run every six minutes instead of eight between 10:30 am and 3 pm on weekdays.
Transit is also adding L-train service on the weekends. On Saturdays, between 9 am and 7 pm, trains will run every five minutes, as compared to every six or seven minutes now. Sunday service will also be expanded.
Altogether, it’s the largest expansion of service to a single subway line since 2004, the MTA said.
Ridership on the L train is up 48 percent since 1998, but service could not be improved until the MTA upgraded signals and switches on the line.