The lone bagpiper’s tune echoed through the Jay Street—Metrotech mezzanine on Tuesday, and as subway cars rumbled underneath, the Straphangers Campaign held a premature “funeral” for the high-tech cars they fear will be slashed if the MTA’s Capital Plan is not funded by Albany.
The 940 new cars would cost $2.775 billion and replace the A, F and R cars built from 1975-1978.
Straphangers Campaign Staff Attorney Gene Russianoff said the much-needed cars might not bring relief to commuters, who often face broken down trains, because of the $14 billion gap in the MTA’s $32 billion Capital Program.
Transit advocates and MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast are hoping the MTA funding gap is addressed before the legislative session ends next week.
“The subway riders in the city… are getting shafted by the lack of leadership in City Hall and Albany,” Russianoff said. "People are getting a terrible ride, the trains are breaking down... riders are late for work and school. And they're much more crowded."
The average subway car breaks down every 142,179 miles, according to Straphangers Campaign. But the generations-old cars are 62 percent more likely to break down, the advocacy group says, every 88,347 miles.
“When you’re riding an old train, youve got that one door that doesn’t open all the way,” said Tassia Rosa, with Straphangers Campaign staffer who commutes from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the A train. "The A train is by far the most crowded. Rush hour on the A train extends to 11:30 a.m.," Rosa said.
The advocacy group rates the A train as 14th best out of 19 lines. The F train and R train are tied in the seventh slot.
“You can just tell the cars are old,” said Yakairy Capellan, who was waiting for a Brooklyn and Queens bound A train at Fulton Center. “They’re peeling, and the seats are different colors.”
Neither the MTA nor Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office responded for a request to comment before deadline.