Last week, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney penned a letter to MTA CEO and Chairman Patrick Foye about the agency’s lackluster efforts to notify straphangers about service changes for late nights and many weekends.
Since late April, the MTA has been repairing the Canarsie Tunnel, which was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Since the project began, L trains have been running with 20-minute headways on nights and weekends.
On July 8, the MTA announced that as the L Project progresses, the agency is scheduling “planned electrical and track work” at select stations in Brooklyn.
That means during overnights, from midnight to 5 a.m., the L won’t run between Lorimer Street and Broadway Junction. The MTA will run a free shuttle instead.
To help riders, the MTA has added extra service on the M, G and 7 trains, as well as connecting bus routes. It also added a Williamsburg Link bus that connects riders to the subways.
While the closure will be an inconvenience for riders, according to Maloney, there was “very little information” about the changes available to the public.
“I sent my staff on July 11 to check the three impacted stations which are in or adjacent to my district: Lorimer Street, Graham Avenue and Grand Street,” Maloney wrote. “They found no notices whatsoever regarding the days on which there will be no service.”
The congresswoman noted that the MTA put a notice in the L train newsletter and sent emails to elected officials’ offices, but she felt that wasn’t enough to alert riders.
She also noted that the MTA’s website doesn’t include information about the shutdown dates and times.
“Riders who do not subscribe to the newsletter would have no way or knowing about the changes,” she wrote.
Maloney asked the MTA to put up notices at every L train stop so straphangers can plan ahead.
“There should be prominent signs, handouts and an explanation of alternatives,” she wrote. “They need advance warning that they will have to disembark and take a bus for part of their trip.”
MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek said in a statement that the station improvement, accessibility and power upgrade work will “benefit L riders for decades to come.”
He also noted that notifications for the work began going out on the MTA’s digital channels in early July. Customers can also sign up for the project’s weekly email newsletter online.
“We’re grateful to Congresswoman Maloney for her engagement on this project and we share her commitment to keeping subway customers well informed of improvement work and related service changes,” Tarek said in a statement. “The L Project outreach team has been lauded for its clear and helpful communications to customers, and is committed to constantly improving on that success.”