Misconceptions about the South Ferry loop subway station

South Ferry loop subway station

South Ferry loop subway station

Now that the South Ferry subway station is back in the news due to the imminent opening of the new 2-track subway terminal, I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions.

South Ferry misconception #1: A new subway station was needed because the loop station can only platform 5 cars of the train.

  • Reality: The platform can actually hold 7 cars, but due to several reason (both good and bad), only 5 cars can be opened. So if instead of building a whole new station you just wanted to extended the length of the existing station, you’d only need to build 3 car lengths of platform, not 5 car lengths.

South Ferry misconception #2: A new subway station was needed because the loop station only has one exit/entry.

  • Reality: So build more! Why do you need a whole new station just to add some new exits to street level? In fact, there was a second entrance built – it was used while the new ferry terminal was being built and the original entrance had to be temporarily closed. But then they closed the second entrance when the ferry terminal was completed. So adding more staircases would not be that big of a deal.

South Ferry misconception #3: Being able to use all 10-cars on the way to the ferry is so awesome!

  • Reality: Subway riders position themselves on the train so that they are closest to their exit. The closest exit from the new subway terminal to the ferry terminal will be at the front of the train. So that’s where everyone is going to want to be. So, IMO, the vast majority of people will still only be using the front half of the train!

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8 Responses to “Misconceptions about the South Ferry loop subway station”

  1. Allan says:

    The station can hold 6 cars and maybe a bit less than 1/4 of the 7th (I was there today doing some visual measurements).

    One big problem on extending the platform is that they would have to relocate the gap fillers if they brought the first car forward.

  2. brian says:

    Looking at it myself, I still think that pretty much 7 complete cars could platform there.

  3. rl says:

    I haven’t really heard these misconceptions spread around. Regardless of the platform legnth it will be nice to have the whole train open. But they used to let people walk up from the back. After 9/11 that stopped for “security” – I’ve never figured out what the threat was…disable the conductor and make bad (or good) announcements?

    But it will be nice to be rid of the gap fillers. When they break (and it happens) no service.

    I don’t recall this project ever being discussed until the federal 9/11 money became availble. Then it was worth doing. Seven years from genesis top opening is pretty impressive, considering the complexity of the engineering to go under the other structures and not too badly impact the area.

  4. As a Brooklynite is in nice to be able to connect from the R to the 1.

    Only the tourists had a problem getting into one of the first 5 cars and I think being yelled at by a NYC Subway Conductor added to their experience.

  5. Allan says:

    “rl says:
    March 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    “I haven’t really heard these misconceptions spread around. Regardless of the platform legnth it will be nice to have the whole train open. But they used to let people walk up from the back. After 9/11 that stopped for “security” – I’ve never figured out what the threat was…”

    Prohibiting people from walking up thru the cars was not done after 9/11 for security reasons (I wonder where you heard that). It was done for safety reasons. There was an increasing number of accidents where people fell between the cars when walking form car to car. Also the new law/rule was put into effect only a few years ago.

    The new rule is only selectively enforced by the NYPD. It was created more to protect the MTA from lawsuits from people who get injured (or worse). By making it is illegal and a person does it anyway, it is harder to sue should they get hurt.

  6. AlexB says:

    The curve at the station slowed down the trains. The new station isn’t just nicer, more convenient, etc., it allows for more capacity. It improves service on the entire Broadway/7th Ave line.

  7. brian says:

    I disagree. I do not think the curve slowed down trains any more than the curve saved time with no having to change ends.

    I also disagree that the new station is nicer. I think the old station was very nice.

    I also disagree that the new station is more convenient. I think the old station was more convenient. The new station requires you to travel a long way to get from track level to street level. And then you have to walk outside to get to the ferry terminal. The old station was only a short distance below ground, and the entrance was indoors inside the ferry terminal.

    I disagree that it improves service on the Broadway/7th Ave line. I have seen no evidence that the new terminal will allow NYCT to run more trains per hour than the old terminal.

    In summary, the same or more improvements could have been made for a lot less money by simply modifying the old terminal instead of building a new one.

  8. Stosh says:

    The “new and improved service” to South Ferry is a bad joke! This terminal only serves the BMT & IRT Broadway Locals. Go back to the 1930″s and South Ferry served the 6th, 9th. 2nd, and 3rd Avenue Els as well the the Lexington Ave Subway, the latter until the 1970’s The 2nd Avenue subway will terminate a few miles to short of South Ferry, so in essence, East side transit riders are being short changed. How about having the #5 Lexington line use the old South Ferry Terminal and extending 2nd Ave subway to give both the East Side and West side of Manhattan equal access?

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