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Press Release
February 20, 2004
IMMEDIATE
Expanded Subway Service Starts Sunday

[[Four-Track Manhattan Bridge Service Returns Bringing Route Changes, Increased Service]]

MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg and elected officials Friday morning for an inaugural run of MTA New York City Transit's expanded Manhattan Bridge subway service. Beginning Sunday, for the first time in nearly 20 years, almost 600,000 daily subway customers will be able to take advantage of four-track train service across the Manhattan Bridge.

Governor George E. Pataki said, "This new service will save time for riders, ease commutes by making trains less crowded, and make travel easier between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Transportation is critical to rebuilding Lower Manhattan and this service will help make travel to and from downtown communities like Chinatown easier for residents and visitors. I want to commend the MTA New York City Transit and the New York City Department of Transportation for making this enhanced service possible."

Mayor Bloomberg said, "This is great news for subway riders: more routes, less crowding, fewer transfers, shorter rides. I remember an endless trip from Sunset Park to Chinatown during my campaign: waiting, switching subway lines, transferring to buses. As of Sunday, that inconvenience is no more. This is particularly good news in Chinatown, where residents have had to endure many services restrictions and no direct service to the Grand Street Subway Station."

In total, seven subway lines (B, D, M, N, Q, R and W), carrying about 600,000 daily riders, will benefit by the completion of rehabilitation work on the bridge by the NYC Department of Transportation. During the bridge restoration the MTA took the opportunity to perform upgrade work on the temporarily dormant routes, investing $14.8 million in the installation of new tracks, signals and power delivery system on the bridge. At the same time, at a cost of $18.5 million, a brighter and more efficient tunnel lighting system was installed on temporarily out of service lines adjacent to the bridge.

"These changes are a part of the MTA's $19 billion capital program that has allowed us to maintain and modernize the region's transportation system," said MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow. "This particular investment means more service, less crowding, fewer transfers, and a simpler service plan for hundreds of thousands of our customers."

The new routes going into effect on Sunday were the result of years of planning aimed at matching demand with fleet availability and track capacity. "We conducted extensive customer research on where people begin their trip and where they want to end up," said NYC Transit President Lawrence G. Reuter. "This plan provides our customers from southern Brooklyn with the travel options that make the most sense for them."

The Manhattan Bridge carries two pairs of subway tracks and until reconstruction of the bridge began in 1986, trains ran on both sides. With either one side or the other closed to train traffic, riders have faced 18 years of temporary reroutes, fewer trains, and even more overcrowded conditions as improved service throughout the entire system attracted more riders.

To alert customers of the significant service changes MTA New York City Transit has printed three million multi-lingual brochures that have been distributed throughout the system since December. Two million new pocket maps are available and 20,000 new subway car maps, featuring the changes, have been printed. Information on the service changes is also available on the MTA's website (www.mta.info). In addition, NYC Transit staff will be on hand at affected subway stations to provide maps and service information.

Here is a snapshot the changes shown on the attached brochure:

B Replaces Q Diamond in Brooklyn
D Replaces W in Brooklyn
M No change to rush hour service
Mid-day service does not travel to Ninth Avenue,
Brooklyn
N Runs over the Manhattan Bridge to all Broadway express stations, weekdays. Runs
local via the bridge on weekends
Q No change to existing service
R Increased rush hour service
S Grand Street shuttle ceases operation
W Operates between Astoria and Lower Manhattan weekdays only, making all local
stops between Ditmars Blvd. and Whitehall Street.