R-evisionist: MTA fixing schedules, not R trains

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The trains do not run on time. The trains have always run on time.

In an apparent display of double-speak, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority honcho said the Authority will make tardy R trains run on schedule — by adjusting the schedule.

“We are, however, in the process of revising the weekday schedules on all of our subway lines to better reflect current operating conditions. These revisions include the R, which we expect will allow us to provide more reliable service,” wrote New York City Transit president Carmen Bianco in a Dec. 31 response to a Ridge politician’s call for an audit of the R line.

The petitioning pol likened the response to something out of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece “1984.”

“It’s not only Orwellian, but it’s almost an admission that we’re right,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who called for an audit of the R line in October. “ ‘More reliable service’ implies that service is not reliable.”

But a spokesman for the transit agency defended the schedule revision as a long-overdue update.

“The fact of the matter is that scheduled running times for lines have not been adjusted in nearly 20 years,” Kevin Ortiz said. “Much has changed in the past 20 years — skyrocketing ridership, more aggressive maintenance, and ongoing rebuilding and construction that must be factored into running times. We are now moving nearly 6 million people a day (with more trains) instead of approximately 3.5 million back in 1994.”

Bianco told Gentile that the Authority is reviewing the A and C lines and doesn’t have the resources to conduct a concurrent review of the R line. He did not commit to conducting a review at a later date.

Straphangers and Bay Ridge politicians say that service has gone downhill since the Montague Tubes reopend late last year.

The Authority closed the R’s connection between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 13 months in August 2013 to repair damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy. The tunnel re-opened in September — on time and under budget.

But the honeymoon was brief, and riders soon reported worse service than before the project began.

Bianco said the Authority put more trains on the tracks after the repairs, which could have lead to delays.

“In terms of scheduled service, the peak frequency of R service was increased from nine to 10 trains per hour with the reopening of the Montague Tunnel, slightly increasing the likelihood of delays due to congestion,” he wrote.

A recent Daily News review of Authority data showed one-quarter of subways arrive late — meaning they reach the end of the line more than five minutes after scheduled — but Bianco said R trains are on time.

“During the am and pm rush hours, R service now runs every six minutes on average, as it did prior to the Montague Tunnel closure,” he wrote.

Gentile is compiling evidence that the line is poorly served and is asking riders to share their R train stories via his Facebook page.

“I’m going to continue to press them on this issue,” he said. “I want specific info — ammo — from riders.”

The Authority is expected to vote on a fare hike later this month.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

AF from Bay Ridge says:
Carmen Bianco is not a "she."
Jan. 12, 2015, 10:02 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
This quote is indicative of the incompetence of our local elected officials:

“It’s not only Orwellian, but it’s almost an admission that we’re right,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who called for an audit of the R line in October."

Vinnie called for an audit of the R line in October 2014. After a decade in office Vinnie belatedly recognizes what every person who take the R train knows: the service sucks.

Yet Vinnie has spent the last decade "crusading" to restore bus service for a few hundred people, and ignoring the fact that R service is terrible, and this affects thousands of people.. No wonder the MTA gave him a blatant brush off; Vinnie is not taken seriously.
Jan. 12, 2015, 11:05 am
Joe Domante from Bay Ridge says:
Every single day the R-Train is not running correctly during evening rush hour. There is a huge wait and the trains end up very close to one another so close to the point the train in front has to run express after Whitehall only making stops at Atlantic, 36, 59, 86, 95. It's just consistent proof (that is likely documented somewhere) of how bad service is even during rush hour.
Jan. 12, 2015, 11:06 am
old fart says:
Back when local trains were identified by two letters, the Fourth Avenue/Broadway Local was known as the RR. My friends and I decided that stood for Reading Room, since we were able to finish a book a week during our commute. I don't ride this line anymore but share this recollection by way of saying, the R has always had erratic service. When the trains were renamed, we decided R was short for Rarely and N an abbreviation for Never.
Jan. 12, 2015, 11:50 am
Karina from Bay Ridge says:
R train is sooo bad, I stopped taking it and now drive to work in Manhattan. Life has gotten much better. It is overcrowded and unreliable.
Jan. 12, 2015, 12:37 pm
ty from pps says:
"I stopped taking it and now drive to work in Manhattan"

Well, aren't you just amazing and special little Miss Karina. I'm sure that even costs less than $112 per month, right?
Jan. 12, 2015, 12:51 pm
Bryan from Bay Ridge says:
I stopped taking the R train years ago and instead use the X27.
Jan. 12, 2015, 12:55 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
an idea is to add new service with an R train express from 59 ST to ATLANTIC AVE and continue on to Chamber ST end terminal during weekdays using the existing M train route
Jan. 12, 2015, 1:01 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
or some R train can go over the Manhattan Bridge and some go under the tunnel
Jan. 12, 2015, 1:02 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Like Karina, I stopped using the subway years ago and just have my chauffeur bring me to work. Life has gotten much better.
Jan. 12, 2015, 1:05 pm
DMC from PArk Slope says:
The R train aka slow boat to china no matter what time of day its horrible Express Bus? ha none in my area stuck with that R train
Jan. 12, 2015, 1:13 pm
Frank from Bay Ridge says:
The trains are never evenly spaced. We wait 15 minutes for a train, it shows up and is packed. Then 1 minute later, another train shows up, this one being empty. So on and so on...
Jan. 12, 2015, 3:38 pm
ty from pps says:
it was faster when it had 2 letters and was the RR!
Jan. 12, 2015, 4:30 pm
Jessica from Bay Ridge says:
The R train is unreliable but I am at its mercy because it is the only line that runs in my neighborhood. During rush hours I can easily wait 20 minutes for an R to pass. There are always delays caused by "train traffic" which boggles my mind when it's the only train on that track and they run 20 min apart :/
Jan. 12, 2015, 6:55 pm
Therese from Bay Ridge says:
It takes the n train 27 minutes to get to Canal Street from 59 Street Brooklyn. Then you wait 30 minutes for the r and I only have to go one stop. You can watch the rats and water pouring down. Yes, we pay for this service.
Jan. 12, 2015, 7:31 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
But the MTA in their wisdom, has the N train running local in Manhattan when the Sea Beach was meant to be an express. The MTA thinks that the N and R duplicate service, and there is no need for sufficient local service, Too bad after 59th Street. But the mantra is "Take Mass Transit", yet that is the first thing they cut.
Jan. 12, 2015, 8:30 pm
jay from nyc says:
sadly all the lines are like this now. Fire everyone at the MTA
Jan. 12, 2015, 9:36 pm
Tony from Queens says:
I'm a 22 year conductor, 17 of those years were on the R line. I just recently left the R for the C, but I'm still qualified to comment.

As stated, run times have not been adjusted for the run from Forest Hills to Bay Ridge. But something that is not mentioned is that R train performance is affected by other trains as well. The M in Queens, and the N and Q in Manhattan. If these trains slow down, so does the R. Especially at the 11th St. cut in Queens, 34th Street and Prince Street.
Jan. 13, 2015, 8:46 am
Jon from Bay Ridge says:
They should have an R shuttle between 95th street and 59th street during evening rush hours in addition to the regular R trains since the R gets delayed EVERY day due to other lines in Queens and Manhattan. Those of us who live in Bay Ridge shouldn't be neglected like this.
Maybe if they start building more condos in the area the MTA can be "paid off" to fix things like they did the L line.
The MTA has and is still spending millions renovating the 9th St. station which was neglected until condos started going up in the area.
Anyone else see a pattern here?
Jan. 13, 2015, 11:05 am
Gary from Bay Ridge says:
R train is not consistent. Sometimes it takes a long time and sometimes they would run one after each other. Waiting on 59th st around 7-8pm can take a good 20-25min when switching from the N.
Jan. 15, 2015, 1:07 am
Bob from Borough Park says:
"Maybe if they start building more condos in the area the MTA can be "paid off" to fix things like they did the L line.
The MTA has and is still spending millions renovating the 9th St. station which was neglected until condos started going up in the area.
Anyone else see a pattern here?"

Yup, and the same thing with the Ferry, the East River ferry keeps on being funded (because it services the "fancy condos" area), yet the Bay Ridge - Rockaway ferry, which serves a much greater transportation need for its riders, they decide to abandon.

Even if they don't bring back the Brooklyn Army Terminal - Rockaway ferry, it would be nice if they at least extended the East river ferry to make a few additional stops, like in red hook, then Brooklyn Army Terminal and/or 69th St Pier, etc.
Jan. 15, 2015, 1:49 am
Raeann Annarumma from Bay Ridge says:
R train by far the worst. Slow moving, crowded and comes every 30 minutes. I rarely take the trains. Presently driving in and I am in work in 20 minutes vs the hour via the awful R train.
Feb. 2, 2015, 10:10 am
daniil o. says:
R train became terrible. It does not follow the schedule. I always take it on 9st-4th avenue station and wait for it around 30-40 minutes. according to what I saw previously, it should arrive around 3:10 p.m., but you never know.
May 12, 2015, 11:23 am
Annie from Bronx says:
R train is the worst ever it's better to close the dam line waiting for train 1 hour is deserter... The worst train......ever...
June 29, 2015, 6:49 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: