Sunday, May 18, 2008

Good question

Dear Editor (Queens Chronicle):

Can somebody please explain to me why there are two different A trains? I live in Arverne, five stops away from the end of the line on the Far Rockaway branch of the A train and four stops after it splits off from the Ozone Park branch. Where is the logic in this?

Every day I ride this train on my way home and every day I run the risk of falling asleep on the train, due to the extremely long ride, and waking up at Lefferts Boulevard. Every day I ride this train on my way home and every day I see all of the very confused tourists who don’t know which A train they should be on. Many of them are visiting from foreign countries and cannot read or speak English. Then there are those who are afraid to ask the other passengers because of the reputation New Yorkers supposedly have.

Yesterday I was on an A train whose signs stated it was a Lefferts Boulevard/Ozone Park bound train. All of the Rockaway bound riders disembarked the train to wait for the next train. Most of us stood dumbfounded as we watched the train turn toward Rockaway. Neither the conductor nor the motorman made any announcement as to where the train was heading.The next two trains went to Lefferts Boulevard/Ozone Park. This was not the first time this has happened.

I realize that the A line is not the only line on the system that splits in this manner. However, it must also be understood that the A line has special circumstances attached to it. Those special circumstances are the aforementioned tourists. It’s not always tourists though. A not so small portion of them are actually fellow New Yorkers simply looking to get to the airport and not understanding this convoluted system.

There is of course a simple solution to this problem, but there is also a better one as well. Option one would be to just simply extend the C train, which now terminates at Euclid Avenue, to Lefferts Boulevard/Ozone Park and make the A train go exclusively to Mott Avenue/Far Rockaway. Option two would be to extend the V train from Second Avenue along the F line to JayStreet/Borough Hall where it would switch over to the Fulton Street line and run express out to Lefferts Boulevard/Ozone Park.

I believe that the second option is the better solution as the Ozone Park branch riders would still have an express train. Then there is the fact that, the Far Rockaway branch riders would have an earlier, and less crowded, transfer point to access the 6th Avenue line. This is of course just my opinion, please let me know what you think.

William Molloy

Photo from Brownstoner


Anonymous said...

I beleive there was a time when the two A branches were lettered differently (possibly A and E?) Only could answer that.

The shuttle from Howard Beach to Mott Avenue used to be the H.

I agree, there should be a better way of marking each branch.

Anonymous said...

Actually there are three A trains: to Leffers, to Far Rockaway, and the rush hour to Rockaway Park.

The easiest solution to this is to re-label the A to Lefferts. There are plenty of letters available. It could be H, or K for instance. And of course, conductors should announce the destination of the train.

Anonymous said...

The A has been a three-forked train for decades, and the MTA is resistant to change, even when it makes common sens.