Nearly 40,000 straphangers are going to need to find a new way to get around town this week.
The MTA says shutting down swaths of service for maintenance on consecutive weeknights is worth the inconvenience because it will speed up work and save money.
Under the pilot program, dubbed "Fastrack," service at 15 No. 4/5/6 stations will be canceled for the next four nights between Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn as "a small army" of workers perform more than 300 repair jobs. The shutdown will last from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m, starting Monday night.
The cash-strapped agency says the plan will save between $10 and $15 million and be safer and quicker for workers. Straphangers should expect to add 20 minutes to their normal travel time, MTA officials said.
"All of this is work that must be done to maintain the safe, smooth and efficient operation of a subway system that runs around the clock," New York City Transit president Tom Prendergast said in a statement. "By suspending service along line segments, workers can work on and near the tracks without having to interrupt that work every few minutes while a train moves through the area."
Transit workers will be doing mechanical work, including inspecting and replacing track and signals, in addition to cosmetic fixes like spot painting and repairing platform edges.
Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign says he supports the maintenance pilot as long as the agency can prove it actually saves enough time and money to warrant the inconvenience to as many as 37,500 straphangers.
"There's a balance here between the safety of the workers along with efficiency and savings versus the inconvenience to riders," he said, adding that if the pilot is not a success, he would rather construction be done on weekends, when most of it is traditionally done.
Several No. 1/2/3 stations will be shut down next month as part of the program, which will extend to the A/C/E and B/D/F/M lines later this year.
How to get around without the Lexington Avenue line:
To/from lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn:
• Take the R before 11:30 p.m. and the N after 11:30 p.m.
• When possible, take the No. 2 or 3 trains.
• Take D, N, Q or R to Atlantic Ave - Pacific St., then transfer to the No. 2 or 3 train.
To/from Upper East Side and the Bronx:
• Take N/Q/R to Lexington Ave./59 St and transfer to the No. 4 or 6 lines.
• Take the No. 2 train between E. 180 St. and 149 St-Grand Concourse, and transfer between the No. 2 and 4 line at 149 St.-Grand Concourse.