Fans can zip home on the No. 7 line starting Thursday after the Amazins take on the Cincinnati Reds. New York City Transit is beginning long lusted-after express service weeknights from Willets Point/Shea Stadium to Midtown."For years the MTA somehow found it impossible, but people are very happy the new leadership has worked its miracle," said City Council transit chair John Liu, who represents Queens. "It's a good thing for Mets fans, and for everyone in this city."
amNewYork first looked at the train woes of Mets fans in May, and transit officials then said additional service would be too difficult to add.
And after much complaining from the oft-downtrodden Mets fans, MTA and New York City Transit listened. Express trains will arrive on the middle track every six minutes shortly after the game ends and will continue to run for about an hour.
Transit is also ramping up local service. More local and eight express trains will arrive every six minutes.
Transit officials expect that the increased service will shave off six minutes of both trains' service. A trip from Shea to Times Square will now take 25 minutes instead of 31, and riders heading to Queensboro Plaza will get there in 13 minutes, not 19.
"While six minutes may not seem like a lot of time, it's an eternity for frustrated passengers," Liu said.
With construction of the new Citi Field taking up several parking spots in the stadium lot, more people have flocked to mass transit and packed into 7 trains. MTA and Mets have offered promotions like free MetroCards and discounts on tickets to get people to the train.
Ridership overall this year increased by 18 percent, compared to the same time last year, transit official said. The boost and "minimal cost" due to extra game trains already on the track all pointed at making the change.
"This is clearly a time to look at it, test it and do it," said transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges. "You can't argue with the numbers."
The additional service will not be added for weekend games. Express service is never offered in either direction then, making it a more drastic change to add additional trains and manpower, Fleuranges said.
With Wednesday's good news, fans were doing the wave and dreaming of one day getting faster service on the weekend.
Ron Dresner , the creator of the Very Unofficial New York Mets Fan Web Site, , said that while he usually drives to games, he may now take the 7 instead.
"You have to be creative with parking there," he said. "This will encourage me" to use mass transit.
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