Today’s news:

Bloomberg hops the F express

The mayor this week called for express service to be reinstituted on the F train, an overcrowded line whose popularity has soared over the past decade.

The proposal calls for the V train, which currently terminates at 2nd Avenue in Manhattan, to extend into Brooklyn and make local stops along the F line, while a set of express tracks that currently sits fallow on the F line should be reactivated once the Metropolitan Transportation Authority completes repairs to the Culver Viaduct, along which the F rumbles.

“Now is the time to act,” the mayor said in a statement. “New Yorkers deserve better and more affordable transportation.Unfortunately, the lack of accountability and efficiency is crippling our service and, rightfully, eroding taxpayer confidence in the system.My plan puts government back on the side of the people and provides greater mass transit access virtually citywide.”

Express service on the F, the report states, “will have the combined benefits of shorter commute times and less crowded trains for Brooklyn commuters.”

The proposal was part of a larger transit reform plan, candidate Bloomberg’s first policy announcement of the 2009 campaign. Other items in the plan include free crosstown buses across Manhattan on certain routes, and notification of how long it will take for the next bus or train to arrive in a particular station.

On August 4, the mayor made a campaign stop to Enzo’s Pizzeria on Kings Highway, a restaurant that stands in the shadow of the Culver Viaduct, to chat with area residents and eat a slice of pizza.

In a prepared statement, the MTA said it welcomes the mayor’s input and “looks forward to working with him and other elected officials in finding ways to make the MTA more efficient and transparent while being certain the MTA has the funding it needs to continue providing critical services to all New Yorkers.”

Work on the Culver Viaduct, which is expected to extend into 2012, would preclude express train service, transit officials have said.

An MTA official who wished to remain anonymous told this paper that the mayor’s plan presented a lot of ideas “without much detail” on their implementation.

Jason Chin-Fatt, a field organizer for the Straphangers Campaign, a commuter advocacy group, said anything that would bring better service for F train riders is welcome. “It might decrease some of the inefficiencies within that line,” he said.

“But who knows if the MTA would actually do it. Who knows if they’ll listen to the plan,” Chin-Fatt added. Four of the 17 members on the MTA’s board are selected by the mayor.

According to a recent study by the Center for an Urban Future, popularity on the F has grown precipitously from 1998-2008. At the York Street station for example, ridership rose 131.5 percent, while Smith and Ninth Street has seen a jump of 64.7 percent, and the Bay Parkway station a steady climb of 57.9 percent.

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