After a decades-long absence, F Express service will be returning to Brooklyn next year.
Regular F express service should be in place by Fall 2017, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz confirmed today, and will run during rush hours between Church Avenue and Jay Street-MetroTech.
The restoration of express service will “benefit hundreds of thousands of commuters every day who have up until now struggled with delayed and overcrowded trains,” said Council Member David Greenfield, one of several local elected officials who has vociferously pushed the MTA on this issue.
Brooklyn City Councilmembers Mark Treyger, Brad Lander, Chaim Deutsch and Stephen Levin have also been active proponents of restoring F express service; along with State Senators Simcha Felder, Kevin Parker, Martin Golden and Diane Savino; and Assembly members William Colton, Dov Hikind, Jo Anne Simon, Steven Cymbrowitz and Pamela Harris.
“Southern Brooklyn residents never ask for high-in-the-sky streetcar ideas. They only ask for things they used to have,” said Council Member Treyger, who has long pushed for the return of F express service, along with other terminated southern Brooklyn transit options. “We used to have the F train express and they took it away from us. We are just asking for our fair share.”
The MTA has made the decision not to use additional F trains as part of the service upgrade, Ortiz confirmed. Some trains will remain local, and others will switch to express.
Ortiz said that the MTA will be meeting with all of the communities impacted by the restoration of express service in order to solicit their input. “We are at the start of the process,” he said. The MTA’s board will also be reviewing the plans, he added.
Express service could save F train commuters, who reportedly experience some of the longest waits in the city’s transit system, as much as 15 minutes per trip, Greenfield’s office said. Restoration of express service will also reduce operational conflicts between the F and G trains, reducing congestion and delays, he stated.
F express service was suspended in 1987 due to track work, with the assumption that service would be restored. Restoration of express service was discussed in the early 1990s, but plans were abandoned due to budget constraints at the time. Over the years, F service has steadily deteriorated even as the population served by the line has grown, Greenfield’s office asserted.
Questions remain about the plan, for instance, its impact on areas like Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, which will be skipped over by express trains. Stations between Jay Street and Church Avenue will see an increase in waiting time of roughly one minute per F train, Ortiz said.