All northbound Brighton line trains came to a halt yesterday afternoon at approximately 12:00 p.m. The delays started with a B train held at Church Avenue, and the official reason given was that, “We are being held because of a work train ahead of us.”
At first, no one seemed to mind because it was thought the problem would clear up momentarily. At about 12:05 p.m., a Q arrived and many transferred to the waiting B to save a minute. Unknowingly, that move cost them nearly a half hour. The Q pulled out but the B remained at the station with the doors open. At about 12:15, another Q arrived. This time, 75 percent of the B passengers changed for the Q that also pulled out with the B remaining at the station. By now many passengers were grumbling, wondering why the Q trains were leaving but the B was not. The conductor kept asking the motorman over the loud speaker what was going on since he was receiving the flack from the passengers demanding to know why we weren’t moving. The response repeatedly from the motorman was that we will be moving just as soon as the work train gets out of the way.
By 12:20, another B arrived on the local track. Virtually all of the remaining B passengers from our train transferred to the B just arriving, fearing there was a problem with the train itself despite the announcements stating otherwise, but neither train closed its doors. Finally, at 12:25, there was another announcement that we would be moving now and nearly everyone changed B trains again, assuming the first arriving B will be first to leave first, which it does, passing the second Q stuck north of Parkside Avenue for 20 minutes.
Approaching Prospect Park, I was curious to see this so-called “work train.” It was a trash collection train on the southbound local track. Apparently, the MTA decided to do track trash removal at noon on a weekday. At least four trains were delayed — two Bs and two Qs — by as much as 25 minutes each, inconveniencing several thousand passengers. There may have also been delays southbound since the work train had to crossover tracks.
Who made this decision to clean the tracks at noon rather than between midnight and 6:00 a.m., and is this routine practice because the MTA has no regard for its passengers, or just a one-time screw-up? Either way, the passengers deserve answers. Luckily, I happened to allow 90 minutes for a 60-minute trip and arrived on time for my luncheon appointment.
Given rush hour congestion delays and weekend and nighttime delays due to construction closures, the last thing we need are unnecessary midday subway delays also. We ask people to leave their cars at home and take mass transit instead. Any wonder why many refuse to heed the call?
What happened yesterday was totally inexcusable. The MTA should know better. They are supposed to be professionals, aren’t they? Sometimes you just wonder.
I hope heads roll over this one. Are you reading this, Tom Prendergast?