Reviving F express too costly, transit expert sez

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Reviving express F train service is a pipe dream, because the resurrected orange bullet would negatively impact other riders’ commutes or just plain cost too much, according to a former Transit Authority bookkeeper and regular F train rider.

The cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority doesn’t have the dough to run more trains on the line, so local riders would see fewer trains pulling up to their platforms, the transit wonk said.

“The problem with the F express is there’s a limited number of trains,” said Lawrence Littlefield of Windsor Terrace. “If some go express, then there are fewer trains and less service on local lines — unless you can increase the service. But the broader problem is the Metropolitan Transit Authority is broke.”

The F train used to run express to stops at Bergen Street, Church Avenue, Ditmars Avenue, Kings Highway, W. Eighth Street, and Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue, but the authority cut those services in the late 1970s to save itself money. The express tracks already exist, so restoring the service would not require significant construction, according to transit advocates and politicians pushing for the restoration.

Littlefield agrees that the effort to bring the service back would be minimal considering the infrastructure is already there — but there is just not enough funding in the authority’s budget to provide service for local and express F trains, he said.

The publicly-funded agency’s head has said the authority is dangerously close to running out of money if the state doesn’t hurry up and pass a budget that funds the agency’s $29 billion, five-year capital plan, Capital New York reported.

The transit authority is considering reviving the express F service. It finished a study on the matter last year, but is refusing to release it until its president signs off on the paper.

The authority declined to comment for this article until the sandbagged study eventually goes public.

“We will have more to say once the report is finalized,” spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
Let's be realistic and serious - The MTA 2015-2019 Capital Plan was not approved by the Capital Program Review Board for the following reasons, in which the MTA still needs $7.3B for their program that was unfunded: 1) The MOVE NY Fair Tolling Plan and other forms of congestion pricing in NYC are out of the question because many elected officials and their constituents in the outer boroughs are firmly opposed these, due to the fact that some people have no other transportation options except driving a motorized vehicle point a to point b and they are the part of the working class; 2) The need for increased taxes in the MTA region are out of the question because both Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Republican Led State Senate are firmly opposed these; 3) The need for kicking the can down the road or playing political football by putting is now out of the question because remember, by June 30 of this year, the MTA are running out of their own money for not only this capital plan, but for billions upon billions of dollars in deferred maintenance via the state of good repair; 4) Borrow the $7.3B via bonds, which could lead to 7.3% fare and toll hikes on the top of the biennial 4% fare and toll hikes for bridges, tunnels, subways, buses and commuter rail; 5) A major dispute between Upstate New York, where they needed $22B for road and bridge maintenance, and Downstate New York, where they need $7.3B for mass transit maintenance; and 6) It is not only either a local, city, or state issue, but also a national issue - look at what's going on in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. (with the Metro once was shutting down for a day), Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco (with BART was suffering major delays), and Los Angeles, where dozens upon billions of dollars in deferred maintenance are needed to be funded. Disclaimer: I am a Riders Alliance Member who is with many of my brethren during the MTA Board Meeting on that day. Note: Before you criticize me, take yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Is NYC will have a next fiscal crisis because of this? And don't mention about fare evasion by the riders or the taxpayers who are footed the bill for this: That is the least of our problems.
March 24, 2016, 11:48 am
Dick from Ditmas Park says:
Ditmas Avenue, not "Ditmars" Avenue. Ditmars Boulevard is in Queens, Brooklyn Paper.
March 24, 2016, 4:43 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
In reality, the F express would only work if a local line can be provided at the same time especially for those whose stops won't be off the ones the express line serves.
March 24, 2016, 5 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
By the end of the day Tal, the MTA don't focus on service enhancements like this. Instead, they are focusing on trying receive the remaining $7.3B in overall funding for the 2015-2019 Capital Plan. Billions upon billions of deferred maintenance must be improved as quickly. However, Father Time is ticking because the MTA will be running out their own money for inproving these critical projects after June 30 of this year. So, Larry Littlefield, if you are reading this, the looming fiscal crisis will be the ultimate possibility thanks to this situation. BTW, the F express is more like a major pipe dream at this point of time. Who is going to pay for all of the outstanding debt service, my millennial generation, assuming that the remaining funds is fully funded by borrowing bonds.
March 24, 2016, 10:46 pm
Vooch from Astoria says:
March 25, 2016, 10:05 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Vooch, I hate to break this to you, but the Move NY Plan won't ever get through no matter how far it can get. Many see this as nothing more than a punishment to those who can only get around by driving for the most part. The idea isn't even something new as it goes as far back to the 1970's and it was defeated even them after being met by so much as it opposition as that will continue happen even now and in the future. Maybe if the MTA cut down on excessive spending, there wouldn't even be a need for this idea. Don't use that claim it can be easily stopped if failed, because I know that politicians and advocates will always try to fudge data or claim in good faith that it should continue. Then again, if the idea fails to pass, they can always try again and even rename it in attempt to promote it again.
March 25, 2016, 4:35 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
Tal, the deadline for finding a reasonable, source of general funding for the MTA 2015-2019 Capital Plan is due on April 1, where the state budget is due; 2) The MTA Chairman and CEO had warned that the MTA will be running out of money for capital projects after June 30 of this year, so kicking the can down the road is out of the question realistically; 3) If this happens, then the subway, bus and commuter rail systems in the MTA region will be deteriorating to the gory days of the 1970s and the 1980s; 4) The fiscal crisis will be starting to loom, which could result in the decline in the NYC economy; 5) Although the most recent U.S. Census had said that there are over 8.6 million people living in NYC, I will assume that some people will be moving out to the suburbs or in another state; 6) Who is the blame for all of this? Governor Andrew Cuomo because he make all the final decisions towards the MTA; 7) Who will pay for all of this despite that there is tens of billions of dollars in deferred maintenance? My millennial generation as well future generations, since I am a 24 year old recent college graduate. This is the dire reality we are facing right now and realistically: The MOVE NY plan will have a chance to go through at the most perfect timing possible. BTW, you can check out the video made by the same transit advocacy group that I am a member of, the Riders Alliance: Or go to Twitter using #CuomosMTA. To the commenters of this blog, after watching this video, then look at the mirror and ask yourself: Is this the time that we fighting for all citizens?
March 25, 2016, 5:45 pm
Charlie from Choo-Choo says:
" broader problem is the Metropolitan Transit Authority is broke"Oh, please. The tracks are there, the trains are there; the question is would this benefit a significant number of riders?

Plus shouldn't it be Jay to 7th Avenue to Church and then the hinterlands?
March 28, 2016, 5:25 pm
Phil from Ditmas Park says:
Ditmas Ave. not Ditmars. And there is no express stop there. It's at 18th Ave., the next stop south.
March 29, 2016, 6:49 am

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