Express Service Returning to Brooklyn F Train

express F train
(Matt Csenge)

Brooklynites who suffer through a long commute to Manhattan on the F train will soon have some relief, as the MTA announced that it will begin to offer limited F express service starting in September.

The F line currently has only local service on a 26-station segment from Bway-Lafayette St to Coney Island-Stillwell Av, the longest local portion of any subway line. The MTA says a trip on the line from southern Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan can take 50 minutes or more.

On Wednesday, the MTA announced that two Manhattan-bound trains between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m., and two Coney Island-bound trains between 5:00 and 5:40 p.m., will operate express between Church Av and Jay St-MetroTech, stopping only at 7 Av., skipping a total of six stops.

The express trains will be signified by an F inside a diamond shape, instead of the usual circle.

This is not the first time an express train has operated the line. A previous iteration of express service was suspended in 1987 due to track work, but after the work was completed, the express service was not restored.

Express service on the line was restored in the summer of 2016 on a limited basis. At the time, it was expected that more regular express service would be implemented the following summer, but in fact, it never returned.

Elected officials representing neighborhoods serviced by the F train generally hailed the news, while expressing hope that express service will be expanded.

“We know that these new time slots for express service will only bring small relief, but this is an important first step to finally bringing back the service our neighborhood had in the past,” Councilman Kalman Yeger told Hamodia. “I’m grateful to MTA for beginning to bring back this service, and I’m very hopeful that this express option expands to more hours. There are enormous numbers of commuters in our neighborhoods who travel outside these very brief time slots.”

Twelve elected officials issued quotes of approval in the MTA’s press release announcing implementation of the express service. One elected official who did not was Councilman Brad Lander, who represents neighborhoods such as Park Slope, whose stops will be skipped over.

In comments to amNewYork, Lander said the MTA is not actually adding any service, “just cutting service for thousands of riders and trying to dress it up as something to please other riders. It’s a sad form of F train polarization.”

Yeger tweeted that Lander’s comments “make clear which part of his district he cares about.”

Yeger told Hamodia that he believes it is worthwhile to have commuters whose stops are skipped wait a few extra minutes for another train, so that other commuters, traveling to and from neighborhoods deeper into Brooklyn, can shave what he believes will amount to around 20 minutes off each commute.

“I’m disappointed that Councilman Lander doesn’t believe his Borough Park and Kensington constituents deserve a faster commute,” said Yeger. “I do.”

In response to Yeger’s comments, Lander told Hamodia, “We would be delighted to see a real F express train – one actually adds train service to all of our neighborhoods and really meets the stated goal of accelerated service for southern Brooklyn. Instead, the MTA is proposing cutting service to already over-crowded local stations, in order to add sporadic, unreliable express service to Borough Park and Kensington that will do little to shorten most commutes.”

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