V (New York City Subway service)
|Sixth Avenue Local|
|Northern end||Forest Hills – 71st Avenue|
|Southern end||Lower East Side – Second Avenue|
The V Sixth Avenue Local was a rapid transit service in the B Division of the New York City Subway. It was colored orange on route and station signs as well as the NYC Subway map, as it represented a service provided on the IND Sixth Avenue Line through Midtown Manhattan.
The V service debuted on December 17, 2001 when the connection from the IND 63rd Street Line to the IND Queens Boulevard Line opened as a replacement for the F train, which was rerouted via this new connection, on the IND 53rd Street Line. It was eliminated on June 25, 2010 as part of a series of service reductions to close a budget gap. The M train was rerouted from Lower Manhattan and South Brooklyn via the Chrystie Street Connection to replace the V, making identical stops except for Second Avenue.
Except for a brief period in early 2005, the V had the same service pattern during its eight-and-a-half-year history. It operated weekdays only from approximately 6:30 a.m. to midnight on an entirely underground route between 71st Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens and Second Avenue in Lower East Side, Manhattan, making all stops.
Initial service plan and controversy
The V made its debut on December 17, 2001. It was introduced to provide riders at local stations along the IND Queens Boulevard Line with direct service to Manhattan via the IND Sixth Avenue Line, and to resolve overcrowding issues at 23rd Street – Ely Avenue.
The V service added nine additional peak-hour trains coming into Manhattan from Queens Boulevard. However, to make room for V trains on Queens Boulevard, the G train was given a new weekday terminal at Long Island City – Court Square and the F train was re-routed through the 63rd Street Tunnel. In Manhattan, the V and F made identical stops between 47th–50th Streets and the V train's Lower East Side – Second Avenue terminal station.
The new service plan was designed to redistribute Queens-bound passenger loads in the heavily used IND Sixth Avenue corridor, by encouraging use of the additional local trains provided for shorter trips, and to improve service and transfer opportunities for passengers using local stations along Queens Blvd. The New York Times described the service plan as "complex and heavily criticized." New York Times columnist Randy Kennedy noted, however, that four months after it opened, the service was operating at only 49% of capacity. However, ridership had "increased 30 percent since it began, and every new V rider, as lonely as he or she might be, relieves crowding on the E." Several years experience with the service running, has shown its value and seen further gains. V trains, while by no means consistently full, have taken some load off the F train; however, some riders have complained that the passenger load on the E train has worsened, while others said it has gotten better. In response to complaints from G riders who aired them at public hearings, (they were about to lose their transfer to Manhattan-bound trains at Queens Plaza), the MTA agreed to a number of concessions. MTA agreed to install an underground moving walkway between Court Square and 23rd Street – Ely Avenue (E M) on the Queens Boulevard Line. In addition, a free out-of-system MetroCard transfer to 45th Road – Court House Square (7 <7>) on the IRT Flushing Line was created at those two stations—one of only two such transfers in the system; the free transfer between the IRT and IND was eventually superseded by a physical transfer in June 2011.
The MTA also agreed to extend the G to 71st Avenue during evenings and weekends, and to operate the service more frequently. The authority "had spent several hundred thousand dollars on tests, trying to figure out a way to keep the G train running past the Court Square Station and farther into Queens on weekdays. But because of the addition of the V train, which will share space along the Queens Boulevard lines with the trains already there—the E, F and R—G trains could not fit during the daytime, when service is heaviest."
Not all F riders were happy. Columnist Kennedy sought out and interviewed some who were not happy with the V's debut:
- Last week, there were two express trains (the E and the F) running along Queens Boulevard to 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue, the station where many people catch the Lexington line. Now, there is only one express (the E) and a local (the V) going to that popular station. And the other express (the F) detours to a less popular station, 63rd and Lexington, where you cannot transfer to the Lexington Avenue Line without walking outside for a few blocks.
- So the questions being asked privately, and sometimes very publicly, in Queens stations yesterday were: Do I take a train not going where I'm going and — God forbid — transfer? Do I take a relatively uncrowded train that goes where I'm going but that gives me the scenic tour of subterranean Queens?
Merger of V and M trains
In late 2009, the MTA confronted a financial crisis, and many of the same service cuts threatened just months earlier during a previous budget crisis were revisited. One of the proposals included completely phasing out M service and using the V as its replacement. Under this proposal, the V would no longer serve its southern terminus of Lower East Side – Second Avenue. Instead, after leaving Broadway – Lafayette Street, it would use the Chrystie Street Connection, a then-unused track connection between the BMT Nassau Street Line and the IND Sixth Avenue Line, and stop at Essex Street in Manhattan before serving all M stations to Metropolitan Avenue in Queens.
The MTA determined that this move, while still a service cut, would actually benefit M riders, as approximately 17,000 of them traveled to its stations in Lower Manhattan, whereas 22,000 transferred to other lines to reach destinations in Midtown Manhattan. Additionally, this merger would open up new travel options for northern Brooklyn and Queens J/Z riders, in that it would allow direct and more convenient access to areas that are not currently served by those routes such as Midtown Manhattan.
On March 19, 2010, it was decided that the new service pattern would retain the M designation instead, which would now be designated with an orange symbol as an IND Sixth Avenue Line train, while the V designation will be discontinued. Many MTA board members opposed the elimination of the M designation, saying that riders would be more comfortable with an M designation rather than a V designation, and because the M has been around longer than the V.
The following lines were used by the V service:
|IND Queens Boulevard Line||71st Avenue||Queens Plaza||local|
|Queens Plaza||Fifth Avenue / 53rd Street||all|
|IND Sixth Avenue Line||47th–50th Streets – Rockefeller Center||Lower East Side – Second 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 weekdays only|
|Stops weekdays in the peak direction only|
|Time period details|
- Kershaw, Sarah (December 2, 2000). "Proposed Line Would Lighten Subway Crush". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Kennedy, Randy (July 9, 2002). "When One New Train Equals One Less Express". 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.
- Kennedy, Randy (December 18, 2001). "Lonesome Newcomer, Taking It Slowly, Seeks Riders". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- "2010 NYC Transit Service Reductions" (PDF). MTA New York City Transit. January 27, 2010. p. 9. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Grynbaum, Michael M. (March 19, 2010). "On the Subway, V Is for Vanished". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- DeJesus, Juan (June 25, 2010). "Last Stop: New Yorkers Bid Adieu to V and W". WNBC. Retrieved 2010-06-25.