G (New York City Subway service)
|Brooklyn–Queens Crosstown Local|
|Northern end||Court Square|
|Southern end||Church Avenue|
|Depot||Coney Island Yard|
The G Brooklyn–Queens Crosstown Local is a rapid transit service in the B Division of the New York City Subway. It is colored lime green on route signs, station signs, and the official subway map, since it runs on the IND Crosstown Line.
The G operates between Court Square in Long Island City, Queens and Church Avenue in Kensington, Brooklyn via the IND Crosstown and Culver lines. In Queens, it only serves two stations – Court Square and 21st Street – but previously it served all stations to/from 71st Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens on the IND Queens Boulevard Line. It is the only non-shuttle service in the system that does not serve Manhattan and suffers from frequent disruptions and poor service, leading to criticism from politicians and residents of the neighborhoods to which it travels.
The original Brooklyn–Queens Crosstown Local service began on August 19, 1933 as a shuttle between Queens Plaza on the IND Queens Boulevard Line and Nassau Avenue using the designation GG. The entire IND Crosstown Line was completed on July 1, 1937, including the connection to the IND Culver Line. GG service ran at all times between Forest Hills – 71st Avenue and Church Avenue. Soon after, it was cut back to Smith–Ninth Streets.
The 1939 World's Fair specials were served by G (single) trains marked as S Special. G trains were extended to the World's Fair Station at all times during the fair, supplementing evening E trains. The fair closed October 28, 1940, and G service was shortened to Forest Hills – 71st Avenue,
In July 1968, service was again extended to Church Avenue and the F train operated as an express on the IND Culver Line. This service pattern ended in August 1976 because many customers at local stations on the IND Culver Line wanted direct access to Manhattan and the GG was cut back to Smith–Ninth Streets.
In 1985, use of double letters to indicate local service was discontinued, so the GG was relabeled G.
On December 16, 2001, the 63rd Street Connector opened and Court Square became the northern terminal for the G train during midday and rush hours. Service along the IND Queens Boulevard Line was replaced by the new V train. G service was extended to Forest Hills – 71st Avenue other times. The G was to be cut back to Court Square at all times to make room for the new V train when the connection opened, but due to rider opposition, it was cut back only weekdays until 8:30 pm, and extended to Forest Hills – 71st Avenue all other times (the reverse of the previous pattern).
On July 5, 2009, the G was once again extended south at all times to Church Avenue. This was required for overhaul of the Culver Viaduct. On July 19, 2012, the MTA announced that this extension will be permanent.
Due to the MTA financial crisis, the G was to be cut back from Forest Hills – 71st Avenue to Court Square at all times beginning June 27, 2010. However, due to planned track repairs during the times the G normally ran on the IND Queens Boulevard Line, it ceased running north of Court Square on April 19. In addition, train headways were reduced, causing inconvenience to about 201,000 weekly commuters
Flood waters from Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage to the Greenpoint Tubes under the Newtown Creek. To allow for repairs, G service was suspended north of Nassau Avenue for twelve weekends between July and December 2013 and around-the-clock between July 25 and September 2, 2014.
On June 9, 2014, a budget surplus in the MTA caused a few service improvements for the G to be implemented, such as an increase in the number of trains per hour (from six trains per hour to 7.5 trains per hour during evening rush hour), uniform stopping locations for trains (previously, trains stopped at random places along the platform), as well as public service announcement systems on platforms along the IND Crosstown Line. Train lengths did not change, despite an influx of ridership.
63rd Street Connector
When the connector to the IND 63rd Street Line from the IND Queens Boulevard Line was completed in December 2001, it not only introduced the new V service, but allowed up to nine additional trains to and from Manhattan on the Queens Boulevard Line during peak hours. However, to make room for the V train on Queens Boulevard, the G had to terminate at Court Square on weekdays.
The service plan was designed to redistribute Queens-bound passenger loads on the heavily-used IND Queens Boulevard Line (under 53rd Street in Manhattan) and better service and transfer opportunities as the V train allowed direct access to 53rd Street and the IND Sixth Avenue Line for Queens Boulevard local customers. The New York Times described the service plan as "complex and heavily criticized;" several years experience with the service running, however, has shown its value. V trains, while by no means consistently full, had taken some load off the F train, which was rerouted via 63rd Street, though many riders complained that the passenger load on the E has worsened as it is now the only express train that runs along 53rd Street. This is, in part, due to riders' propensity to board an express even in situations where it offers no real advantage in travel time over the local. In response to complaints from G riders at public hearings about losing a major transfer point to Manhattan-bound trains at Queens Plaza, the MTA agreed to a number of compromises, including installing a moving sidewalk in the passageway between Court Square and 23rd Street – Ely Avenue (E M trains) on the Queens Boulevard Line. In addition, a free out-of-system MetroCard transfer to 45th Road – Court House Square on the IRT Flushing Line was created at those two stations—one of only two such transfers in the system. This special transfer was discontinued when construction of an in-system transfer at the corner of 23rd Street and 45th Road that opened on June 5, 2011, and made both stations ADA-accessible.
The MTA also agreed to extend the G to Forest Hills – 71st Avenue during evenings and weekends (when the V was not running), and run more trains on that route. There was a three hour period where the G, R, and V, as well as the Queens Boulevard line's express services, the E and the F, were all supposedly running at once since the V stopped running at 11:00 p.m. and the G was extended to 71st Avenue at 8:00 p.m. The authority "had spent several hundred thousand dollars on tests, trying to figure out a way to keep the G train running past Court Square and farther into Queens on weekdays, but because of the addition of the V train, which shared space along the Queens Boulevard Line with the trains already there, the E, F, G and R trains could not fit during the daytime, when service is heaviest."
To increase service and reduce waiting time, the G would need more trains, but there were not enough cars, so the solution was to reduce the length of trains from six cars to four, sticking all the leftover cars together to make the extra trains. This, however, meant there would be more riders packed into smaller trains. Some passengers also missed trains because they were standing at the wrong part of the platform as the trains are only about half their length, although there are signs indicated where the train stops at some stations such as the "4" and "6" markers on the tracks.
A community group, Save the G!, regularly lobbied the MTA for more G train service since the original cutbacks when the V was introduced in 2001. They made the restoration of service to the Queens Boulevard Line at all times an issue in the 2002 New York gubernatorial race, but the transit authority said, "Unfortunately, putting the G back to full service is just not an option, given our track capacity—and that's not likely to change."
Due to construction on the Queens Boulevard Line, the G train frequently terminated at Court Square even at times when the published timetable said it ran to 71st Avenue. Some riders were suspicious that the service disruptions were "simply a de facto way to implement the original plan of halving G train service." The original plans called for the G terminate at Court Square at all times. The plan was shelved in 2001 in face of community opposition, but implemented in 2010. An MTA spokesman says that "It's not personal…. If you want to keep the system up to date, you need to make sure the track and switching are all in good repair."
Exits and transfer controversies
Save the G! have also lobbied for the creation of a free out-of-system transfer between Broadway and Hewes Street on the BMT Jamaica Line, which is only two blocks away. However, the MTA said, "We have no intention of making that a permanent free transfer" even though a temporary free transfer was provided to Lorimer Street during the Summer 2014 G service suspension north of Nassau Avenue. 
Most stations along the IND Crosstown Line were built with multiple exits to the street. Over the years, many lower-use exits were closed (as they were in other parts of the subway), as the city was concerned that they were a magnet for criminals and there was insufficient traffic to justify staffing them full-time, but in July 2005, in response to community pressure, the MTA agreed to re-open the South Portland Avenue exit of Fulton Street. The New York Times described it as a "minor victory" for "a maligned line."
The following table shows the lines used by the G service:
|IND Crosstown Line||Court Square||Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets||all|
|IND Culver Line||Bergen Street||Church Avenue||local|
For a more detailed station listing, see the articles on the lines listed above.
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops weekdays in the peak direction only|
|Time period details|
- "Lawmakers: G Train Riders Deserve Better Service « CBS New York". Newyork.cbslocal.com. 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- O'Neill, Natalie (July 19, 2012). "G wiz! MTA plans to save the G train extension!". The Brooklyn Paper. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
- "Service Change Details". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 18, 2008. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
- Service changes
- Haddon, Heather (April 13, 2010). "G train taking a hit before service cuts roll out". AM New York. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
- Rivoli, Dan (June 8, 2014). "G train service to become more frequent". AM NY. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- "MTA to Increase G Train Service - Greenpoint - DNAinfo.com New York". DNA Info. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2014-06-09.
- Kershaw, Sarah (December 2, 2000). "Proposed Line Would Lighten Subway Crush". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Kennedy, Randy (May 25, 2001). "Panel Approves New V Train but Shortens G Line to Make Room". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Hays, Elizabeth (October 24, 2002). "Riders Rail at G Switch". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- Kadushin, Peter (January 15, 2008). "G Train May Give Brooklyn Riders Faster Service, Queens Riders More Legwork". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Ilel, Neille (July 21, 2005). "'G' is For Gone–G Train Loses Nearly Half its Weekend Stops". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- Miller, Shane (July 1, 2004). "Let Us Take a Free Swipe". Greenpoint Star. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- Mooney, Jake (July 3, 2005). "For a Maligned Line, a Minor Victory". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- MTA NYC Transit – G Brooklyn-Queens Crosstown Local
- "G Train Timetable, Effective June 8, 2014". New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2014-09-15.