Long Island City has hit the boiling point over outages on the No. 7, and the rage will likely return next year when there’s more weekend shutdowns.
For the past month, the MTA has closed three Long Island City stations for repairs, forcing thousands of straphangers to take shuttle buses to continue to Manhattan on the E or N trains. NYC Transit hopes to finish the work in the next two weekends, but it could last until the end of March, officials said.
“It’s just torture,” said Richard Mazda, a Queens theater owner, during an angry public hearing Wednesday night. “You’ve got to deal with LIC, or we’ll deal with you.”
Shuttle service has been slow, residents said, and elected officials are demanding that buses run directly to Grand Central. The MTA has said the service would be too expensive and cause congestion in midtown.
“You have to do more than just hear us. You have to change the way you are operating,” said Councilman James Van Bramer, (D-Queens).
The pain will continue next January, when the MTA will likely shut the Court Square station for nine weeks on weekends to install elevators. But transit officials pledged to:
- Do a better job informing the community about upcoming work
- Increase the frequency of shuttle buses to five minutes from seven minutes.
- Try spreading out some of the weekend work next year and keep some No. 7 service into Manhattan
“I can’t make all the pain go away, but I’d like to believe we can make it better,” said Lois Tendler, transit’s director of government and community relations.