MTA, go the extra mile for G riders

Straphangers wait for the G train at the Straphangers wait for the G train at the Smith and 9th Street station in Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Scout Tufankjian

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If you prefer to commute by subway between the city's two most populous boroughs -- Brooklyn and Queens -- without taking an annoying detour though Manhattan, you may be out of luck for awhile. The MTA is repairing Sandy-inflicted damage to the G-train tunnel beneath Newtown Creek on the Brooklyn-Queens border.

We feel your pain.

The tunnel shutdown -- which began Friday -- means there's no G service for the next five weeks between the Nassau Avenue station in Brooklyn and the Courthouse Square station in Queens.

This complicates life maddeningly for tens of thousands of straphangers who use the G line to move between the two boroughs without undue drama.

The G has always been notorious for its crowding, its shortness -- just four cars -- and its leisurely pace. But riders do like the one-seat ride it normally provides between Church and McDonald avenues in Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens.

Yet now and until Sept. 2, the G will only go as far as Nassau Avenue in Brooklyn. Shuttle buses will be ready for the rest of the hop over to Queens.

So is the MTA doing enough for inconvenienced riders?

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It's encouraging them to transfer to other lines if they can. Because the G is one of the least-used lines in the city -- providing 125,000 rides a day -- the MTA doesn't expect conditions to worsen throughout the system.

And the MTA is offering free transfers for riders on the G who change to the J and M lines at Lorimer Street. It ought to make that innovation permanent.

Meanwhile, the tunnel work is crucial.

Superstorm Sandy dumped more than 3 million gallons of saltwater into the tube in late 2012. It submerged tracks, and damaged pumps, fans, power cables and electrical and communications equipment. All of it must be fixed.

But let us make a proposal. For the next five weeks, lots of G riders will be going the extra mile -- or miles -- so the MTA can do its work. Which means the MTA should go the extra mile for G riders with less crowding and seamless transfers -- permanently. It's only fair.

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