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Push for better B-line service

Transferring trains shouldn’t be a hardship for already harried commuters, but on certain routes, it most certainly is, a city lawmaker charged last week.

City Councilmember Michael Nelson blasted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority-New York City Transit for its refusal to extend the hours of the Brighton-bound B line, and for the agency’s unwillingness to alter the route of the D line to include Dekalb Avenue.

And that institutional stubbornness comes at a real cost–especially for disabled or elderly riders, Nelson said.

During the week, the transfer is rather simple: Passengers can transfer from the B to the Q line on the same platform at DeKalb Avenue.

But during late night hours and at all times during the weekend, The B express line is not in service.

Sixth Avenue service in Manhattan is provided only by the D line which bypasses DeKalb Avenue and stops at Atlantic Avenue.

Passengers wanting to transfer from the D line to the Q line at Atlantic Avenue are required to complete an “arduous transfer,” Nelson said, by navigating from one platform to another–located on a different level at the labyrinthine station.

“Providing 24/7 Sixth Avenue line service is of absolute importance for disabled passengers and many seniors and is also of great importance to all other passengers who have concerns as to issues of safety and security in making the transfer at the desolate Atlantic Avenue station during off-peak hours,” Nelson said in a statement.

He noted that the elevator at Atlantic Avenue is often out of service, “making a transfer impossible for the physically challenged.

Nelson said he has taken up the issue with the MTA, which oversees NYC Transit, with little success.

“The reasons given by the MTA for refusing to make this route adjustment are not only totally without merit but are insulting and hurtful to those who despite the challenge of a disability utilize our public transportation system as they pursue a productive life.

He said he was told that the change would result “in no net customer benefit, while increasing operational complexity and adversely affecting reliability.”

The city lawmaker said the claim on increased complexity and decreased reliability was “illogical.”

Nelson said that at DeKalb Avenue, there is the option for service to the D line platform at Atlantic Avenue.

“Switching the D train to this track, which is also used by the R line at DeKalb Avenue, is an option, “without operational complexity,” he explained.

“Reliability of service will not be adversely affected by the use of the same track, between DeKalb Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, by both the R train and the D train. It is common practice for trains from 2 routes to share, at times, the same track,” the lawmaker said.

But NYC Transit sees things differently.

“The bottom line service on weekends at present is too frequent to have the D cross over and merge into the R and then cross over and merge with the Q and then go back to Sixth Avenue, which is what we’d have to do for it to make the stop at DeKalb,” NYC Transit spokesperson Charles Seaton said.

Moreover, he said, the agency already maintains 24-hour five day a week service between Sixth Avenue and DeKalb, and seven day a week overnight service, because the D stops at DeKalb when the B stops running on weekdays.

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