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The G Brooklyn-Queens Crosstown Local is a service of the New York City Subway. It is the only full-time non-shuttle service that does not enter and does not give service to Manhattan. It is colored light green on the route sign (either on the front and/or side - depending on equipment used) and on station signs and the NYC Subway map, as it represents a service provided on the IND Crosstown Line. The G operates at all times. During rush hours and middays, it operates between Long Island City–Court Square south to Smith–Ninth Streets. At other times, it is extended north along the IND Queens Boulevard Line local tracks to 71st–Continental Avenue–Forest Hills.
- On July 1, 1937, the IND Crosstown Line was completed to Bergen Street and was connected to the BMT Culver Line. The G train's southern terminal was Smith–Ninth Streets, and it operated as a local along Queens Boulevard to 71st-Continental Avenue–Forest Hills.
- In July 1968, service was extended to Church Avenue, and the F train operated as an express service on the IND Culver Line. This service pattern ended in August 1976 because many customers at local stations on the Culver Line wanted direct access to Manhattan.
- On May 24, 1987, the N and R lines switched terminals in Queens. As part of the reroute plan, Queens Plaza became the northern terminal for the G train on evenings, nights, and weekends.
- On September 30, 1990, G service was extended to Jamaica–179th Street during late nights to replace the F, which terminated at 21st Street–Queensbridge.
- In May 1997, due to construction on the connector between the IND 63rd Street Line and the Queens Boulevard Line, G trains terminated at Long Island City–Court Square on evenings, nights, and weekends.
- On December 16, 2001, the 63rd Street Connector opened, and Court Square became the permanent northern terminal during midday and rush hours (replaced along Queens Boulevard by the V train). Service was extended to 71st Avenue other times, although due to construction, the line often terminates at Court Square.
The introduction of the V service in 2001 added nine additional peak-hour trains coming into Manhattan on the IND Queens Boulevard Line. However, to make room for the V train on Queens Boulevard, the G train was given a new weekday terminal at Long Island City–Court Square. In the original plan, Court Square was to have been G train's full-time northern terimal.
The New York Times described the service plan as "complex and heavily criticized." In response to complaints from G riders, who lost their transfer to Manhattan-bound trains at Queens Plaza, the MTA agreed to install an underground moving walkway between Court Square and the 23rd Street–Ely Avenue station, where E and V trains are available. A free out-of-system Metrocard transfer was created at those two stations—one of only two such transfers in the system.
The MTA also agreed to extend the G to 71st Avenue during evenings and weekends, and to operate the service more frequently. The authority "had spent several hundred thousand dollars on tests, trying to figure out a way to keep the G train running past the Court Square Station and farther into Queens on weekdays. But because of the addition of the V train, which will share space along the Queens Boulevard lines with the trains already there — the E, F and R — G trains could not fit during the daytime, when service is heaviest."
To allow more frequent G service, train lengths were cut down to four cars. Some passengers missed trains because they were standing at the wrong part of the platform:
- To run more frequently, the G needed more trains, but there were not enough on hand. So the solution was to cut the trains from six cars to four, sticking all the leftover cars together to make extra trains. While on paper this means more trains, it sometimes seems to riders that it means only more of them packed into smaller trains.
- And, more importantly for explaining the G-train sprint, it means that on a platform designed to be filled by an eight-car, 600-foot train, the ones that show up now are only 300 feet long. Back in December, when the change was first made, paper signs were posted on platform columns to let riders know where these truncated trains would stop. But the signs are gone now and for people unfamiliar with the line, the wind sprints have begun.
G train riders made the restoration of service an issue in the 2002 New York gubernatorial race, but the transit authority said, "Unfortunately, putting the G back to full service is just not an option, given our track capacity — and that's not likely to change."
G train riders have also lobbied for the creation of a second free out-of-system transfer between the Broadway station and Hewes Street on the BMT Jamaica Line, which is only two blocks away. However, the MTA said, "We have no intention of making that a permanent free transfer."
Most of the stations along the G train's route were built with multiple exits to the street. Over the years, many of the lower-use exits were closed (as they were in other parts of the subway system), as the city was concerned that they were a magnet for criminals, and there was insufficient traffic to justify staffing them full-time. But in July 2005, in response to community pressure, the MTA agreed to re-open the South Portland Avenue exit of the Fulton Street station. The New York Times described it as a "minor victory" for "a maligned line."
During construction on the Queens Boulevard Line, the G train frequently terminates at Court Square, even at times when the published timetable says that it runs to 71st Avenue. Some riders "are suspicious that the service disruptions are simply a de facto way to implement the original plan of halving G train service." However, an MTA spokesman says that "It's not personal.... If you want to keep the system up to date, you need to make sure the track and switching are all in good repair."
The following table shows the lines used by Route G:
|IND Crosstown Line||Court Square||Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets||all|
|IND Culver Line||Bergen Street||Church Avenue||local|
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops weekdays in the peak direction only|
- ↑ Sarah Kershaw, "Proposed Line Would Lighten Subway Crush," The New York Times, December 2, 2000
- ↑ Randy Kennedy, "Panel Approves New V Train but Shortens G Line to Make Room," The New York Times, May 25, 2001
- ↑ Randy Kennedy, "Next to This Event, the Turnstile High Jump Is Easy," The New York Times, April 9, 2002
- ↑ Elizabeth Hays, "Riders Rail at G Switch," The New York Daily News, October 22, 2002 
- ↑ Shane Miller, "Let Us Take a Free Swipe," Greenpoint Star, July 1, 2004
- ↑ Jake Mooney, "For a Maligned Line, a Minor Victory," The New York Times, July 3, 2005 
- ↑ Neille Ilel, "'G' is For Gone — G Train Loses Nearly Half its Weekend Stops," Queens Chronicle, July 21, 2005