The new Second Ave. subway is having its ups and downs — and the MTA wants to make sure things don’t go sideways when the Q train service debuts at noon on Jan. 1.
For the first week of operation, the MTA will run trains during the day, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and test escalators and elevators at night. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will expand to 24 hour-service on Jan. 9. Officials on Monday said the equipment needs to be tweaked before going into full-time service.
Even with the partial rollout, Gov. Cuomo is hailing the MTA for getting the long-awaited line to its Dec. 31 deadline after decades of fits and starts, and stops. On Sunday, the governor called his belief that the subway will be ready for the public on Jan. 1 a “leap of faith.” His leap was backed up by MTA officials hopping to compress their testing schedule after Cuomo’s insisted they get the job done.
“The on-time completion of this major, transformative project reaffirms confidence in government competence, increasing capacity on the nation’s busiest subway system, and delivering a new, vital transportation artery to millions of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said Monday in a statement.
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MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast told the Daily News on Monday the soft opening will ensure the agency avoids the sort of problems that spoiled the openings of the Fulton Center and new West Side 7 station at Hudson Yards.
Prendergast said the manufacturers of the escalators and elevators at the four Second Ave. subway stations recommend testing them each night for fine tuning after a day of crowds.
“It’s a preventative action to make sure that you get the highest reliability out of them once they go into service 24/7,” Prendergast said. “Once we go 24/7, they stay in operation unless there’s a failure of some type.”
It’s estimated 200,000 daily riders will pour into the Q train stop at Lexington Ave.-63rd St. and new stations between 72nd and 96th Sts.
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After the first day of service for the riding public — beginning at noon on New Year’s Day, when the Q heads north from the 57th-Seventh Ave. station — trains will run through the new stations from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
During peak hours, the Q train will run every six minutes. It will still run local on the rest of the line overnight.
MTA board member Andrew Albert agreed it’s worth taking extra time to avoid the embarrassing escalator and elevator problems that accompanied the MTA’s previous two grand openings.
“Let’s work the kinks out, in case they have to be worked out,” Albert said. “Let’s make sure we don’t have any of those this time. I think it’s a cautious but good move.”Send a Letter to the Editor