F and C Subway Lines Will Operate at Reduced Service

The Bedford Ave and Fulton St entrance of the Nostrand Ave station on the Fulton St A/C lines. By Marc A. Hermann / MTA

The F and C subway lines, which have undergone several service cuts through the past year, will continue to operate at reduced service despite increased headways.

Service cuts began in January 2020 when the MTA removed 300 new train cars after being alerted to a door malfunction by the manufacturer. The afflicted train cars, called R179s, were predominantly used for the A and C lines, but their absence required the removal of F trains to make up for the loss.

Service cuts continued through the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic created worker shortages and decreased ridership. Last June, more cars were pulled from service when two train cars from the same manufacturer became unhitched while carrying passengers. While the incident occurred on the A line, it led to cuts from the F and C lines.

According to MTA officials, reduced service will continue due to a lack of ridership.

“C and F service was reduced nearly a year ago during the time we were running essential service and we never brought them back to full service due to very low ridership,” MTA spokesman Ken Lovett told Daily News. “Overall subway ridership is still down 70% from pre-pandemic levels.”

According to a report by the Daily News, rush-hour headways increased by more than 50% on the F line and by more than 25% on the C line since service cuts have been implemented.

“They [the MTA] don’t have enough manpower to run the full schedules and they don’t want to pay the overtime,” Zach Arcidiacono, a Transport Workers Union Local 100 official, told Daily News.

Last December, the MTA received $4.5 billion in federal emergency funding relief for the 2021 budget. Without this funding, subway service reductions of up to 40% would have been implemented.

While the MTA has suffered financially due to the pandemic, decisions to make service cuts were made without public comment, which is against Federal Transit Administration regulations.

“If you’re going to talk about reducing service there should be public scrutiny,” said Arcidiacono. “Do it in a way that takes into account the whole subway system.”

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