G Train Shuttle Bus Runs Better Than the Train Did, Riders Say

By Serena Dai on August 25, 2014 7:11am 

 Many G train riders said they think the free shuttles provided during the G train shutdown are better than the train itself.
Many G train riders said they think the free shuttles provided during the G train shutdown are better than the train itself.
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

GREENPOINT — The G train is scheduled to be back in action next week, but some riders are actually bemoaning its return.

The free shuttle bus that runs between Lorimer Street and Court Square has been faster, more consistent and more reliable than the much-maligned G, which has been down between Greenpoint and Long Island City for post-Hurricane Sandy repairs, many riders say.

"It's faster," said George Huarotte, 22, who works in Greenpoint. "I prefer the shuttle."

"The shuttle is always there," said Tiffany Elisca, 25, who also works in Greenpoint. "And it's free."

The G train has been shut down between the Nassau Avenue and Court Square stops since July 25 to allow workers to make "extended repairs" after 3 million gallons of salt water flooded the line during Sandy, according to the MTA.

The five-week closure is set to end on Tuesday, Sept. 2, which will also mean the end of frequent shuttle buses along Manhattan Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard.

The G train has long been derided as one of the city's worst train lines, even though a recent analysis suggests other lines are slower and dirtier.

Shanelly Taveras, 20, commutes from Court Square to the McDonald's near the Greenpoint Avenue stop and called the G "the slowest train" she rides.

Taveras once waited 20 minutes for the train to leave the Court Square station, making her total commute about 30 minutes, she said. But with the shuttle, she said she zips to work in just 10 to 15 minutes.

"I actually get to work on time now," she said. "It is convenient."

For nighttime commuters, the shuttle has been particularly beneficial, said John Monte, 47, who commutes from work in Long Island City to his Greenpoint home at night.

Monte doesn't mind the G train during the day, but after 10 p.m., "it's awful," he said.

"The shuttle comes more often," he said.

Providing the shuttles, according to the MTA, has been "extremely expensive" — and the buses can't accommodate as many riders as the train. An MTA spokesman declined to specify the cost of the shuttles.

 The MTA has been running a free shuttle between Lorimer Street and Court Square during a five-week G train shutdown.
The MTA has been running a free shuttle between Lorimer Street and Court Square during a five-week G train shutdown.
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

The shuttles, which each fit about 50 people, are scheduled to run every two to three minutes on the McGuinness Boulevard route and every four minutes on the Manhattan Avenue route until 8 p.m., according to a spokesman.

At night, the buses run about every five minutes, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the G train is scheduled to run every 8 to 20 minutes, depending on the time of day, with each four-car train fitting about 580 people.

Once the train returns from the shutdown, the schedule will remain the same, the MTA spokesman said.

Though riders said they love the free buses, many people held out hope that repairs would bring a brand-new, better G that's just as consistent as the shuttles.

And even if it's not, having a "crappy" train is better than no train at all, said Renzo Gallardo, 31, who moved to New York from Miami earlier this year, where the lack of public transit means most people drive.

"The trains are pretty good," Gallardo said. "Everything is good to me right now."

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