The V Sixth Avenue Local was a rapid transit service in the B Division of the New York City Subway. Its route emblem, or "bullet", was colored orange since it used the IND Sixth Avenue Line in Manhattan. The V 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, which was rerouted via this new connection, on the IND 53rd Street Line.
The V train was eliminated on June 25, 2010 as part of a series of service reductions to close a budget gap. It was replaced in its entirety by the M train, which was rerouted from Lower Manhattan and South Brooklyn via the Chrystie Street Connection. 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 a.m. to midnight between 71st Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens and Second Avenue, near the border of the East Village and the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
Service history Edit
Initial service plan and controversyEdit
The V was originally conceived as a Sixth Avenue extra since the early 1980s, running via 63rd Street. It appeared as an orange bullet on rollsigns. The V also appeared on the digital signs of the R44s and R46s with any route and designation combination that could be used for the Sixth Avenue Line. 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 rerouted via 63rd Street. In Manhattan, the F and V made identical stops between 47th–50th Streets and the V train's Lower East Side–Second Avenue terminal station.
To prepare for this service, rush hour service was simulated twice on Saturdays during the previous spring. The first time, the V ran via 63rd Street, the F ran via 53rd Street, and the G ran to 179th Street. It was particularly done to see if the G train could be kept at all times along Queens Boulevard. When this test became unsuccessful, the V's eventual service pattern (via 53rd Street) was tested on September 8, and was a success. Due to the September 11 attacks, implementation of this service was delayed for 3 days.
The new service plan was designed to redistribute Queens-bound passenger loads along the heavily used IND Sixth Avenue Line 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 Boulevard. The New York Times described the service plan as "complex and heavily criticized." New York Times columnist Randy Kennedy wrote 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, due to its becoming the only express train that runs along 53rd Street. The overcrowding on the E train was, in part, due to riders' propensity to board an express even in situations where it offers no real advantage in travel time over the local.
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?”
On January 23, 2005, a fire destroyed the signal room of Chambers Street on the IND Eighth Avenue Line. V service was temporarily extended to and from Euclid Avenue until C service was restored on February 2.
Merger of V and M trainsEdit
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 at 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 were not served by those routes before 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 representing a 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.
V service ended on June 25, 2010, with the last train leaving Lower East Side–Second Avenue at 11:33 p.m. towards Forest Hills–71st Avenue in Queens.