Riders rally for 7 train improvements as MTA promises to finish technology upgrades

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SUNNYSIDE, Queens – A record number of repair and improvement projects are happening along subway lines.

That means riders have to be ready for service delays and changes.

Along the 7 line, MTA New York City Transit has been installing signal technology called "Communication-Based Train Control." The project, which allows more trains to run, started about a decade ago.

Riders rallied at the 40th Street Station in Sunnyside, Queens  Thursday morning to call for better service and communication. Access Queens  organized the event with local elected leaders.

“MTA Chairman Lhota toured the 7 line with local elected officials including the Council member a few weeks ago, ahead of this week’s announcement that tens of millions of dollars are going to be spent to repair and paint the 7 line structure," said the MTA in a statement.

"Also this past month, Transit President Byford told MTA Board members that he’s very unhappy about delays and is aggressively pushing the contractor installing the brand-new signal system on the 7 line to work harder and complete the job sooner than the contractor’s new projection.  We appreciate our customers’ patience while these projects are underway; when they’re complete, the 7 line will have some of the newest infrastructure in the entire subway system.”

The $45 million contract will repair structural steel and paint the 101-year-old elevated 7 train line from 72nd to 104th Streets in Queens. Stations in Sunnyside will be done when the first phase is complete. The MTA says it will take two years.

"Service has been generally poor over the last several weeks with peak times being particularly awful with long waits and overcrowded platforms and trains," said a statement from the office of NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

"This comes after years of ongoing work to the 7-Line with constant shutdowns, service changes, delayed service, and disruption to riders, community members and local businesses."

Councilmember Van Bramer has invited MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford to a town hall meeting to discuss transportation.

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