The Latest L Hell:
The MTA announced that the last day of L train service between Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn and 8th Avenue in Manhattan will be Friday, April 26th, 2019. The tunnel will close for 15 months of reconstruction the following day. Commuters will have plenty of time to practice: weekend service will be suspended from February 2nd all the way through the official shutdown date.
Right in the midst of a month of L-train free weekends, the MTA suspended weeknight service, too. Service between Broadway Junction in Brooklyn and and 8th Avenue in Manhattan will end at 8:45pm and resume at 5am through the end of November. Travel alternatives include free shuttle service, the M14 bus, and whatever convoluted combination of transfers and walking might get you close to home.
Another private company has thrown its hat in the L-ternative ring. Rideshare app Via is pushing a $19 weekend pass good for four daily rides from late Friday night through early Monday morning. The “L-Train ViaPass Zone” only includes areas otherwise served by the L, so it marries the inconvenience of the subway with the expense of an Uber.
In a particularly bitter case of art imitating life, a haunted house pop-up fashioned after the beleaguered L aims to recreate the horrors of commuting via the gray line. The L Train Shutdown Nightmare imagines apocalyptic environs in a Bushwick unrecognizable from the halcyon days of passably reliable public transportation.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg almost went ahead and said what we’re all thinking when she remarked “If you’re hale and hearty, I would like to say probably the fastest way to travel is going to be by bike,” at a forum in Manhattan. In other words: don’t rely too much on those buses they’ve been promising.
Straphangers love to criticize the MTA -- even on the internet, sometimes! -- but ya gotta give credit where credit is due. Together with the Department of Transportation, the MTA plans to launch Select Bus Service on 14th Street between 1st and 10th Avenue in January of next year -- a full three months before April’s L train shutdown. Along with existing 14th Street bus routes, the SBS will accommodate 84,000 daily riders, decrease commute times, and purportedly arrive every two minutes during peak hours.