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Answers Won't Come Overnight in MTA's Review of A, C Lines

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pledging to examine every aspect of service on the long and busy A and C subway lines, but the answers won't come overnight. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

What's ailing the A and C trains? Every rider seems to have an answer.

"You can't get on the train because it's like a can of sardines," said one rider. "You have to force yourself on it."

"Sometimes, we're down here for 20, 30 minutes and nothing comes," said another rider at the Hoyt-Schemerhorn station. "But if they had those, like, electronic boards, at least then, we would know what our fate is."

It will be a few years before the popular countdown clocks expand beyond the L and the numbered lines, but other upgrades may eventually be on the way to the A and C. That's thanks to a full-line review the MTA is conducting of both lines at the request of the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group and state Senator Daniel Squadron.

"Riders on the A and C line complain about badly spaced trains, delays, sometimes cleanliness in the stations and on the train," Squadron said. "Full-line reviews identify which of these problems are solvable within the budget to get quick relief for riders."

The in-depth analysis won't be completed until next year. In a letter to Squadron, MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said its findings could lead to simple scheduling changes or pricier, long-term capital investments.

Combined, the A and C lines serve more than 750,000 riders every day. Members of the Riders Alliance said they'd welcome an emphasis on easing overcrowding on platforms and trains.

"I usually have on some kind of shoe that I know is comfortable because I'm prepared to stand the entire line," said Dupe Ajayi of Riders Alliance. "I don't have a long way to travel, but I never expect that I'm going to sit down."

"The number one thing for me would be some more predictability in terms of the frequency of the trains, especially during peak hours," said Andrew Sloat of Riders Alliance. "It would be amazing if there were a better PA system so we knew what was going on."

The MTA says it constantly monitors service on all of its subway lines, but the Riders Alliance says that previous full-line reviews of the F, the G and the L have led to big improvements on those lines.

"We're optimistic that that will happen on the A and C trains also," said John Raskin of Riders Alliance.

It will take some time, though. The MTA describes the project as a "massive, long-term undertaking."

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