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MTA Rebuffs Queens Councilman's Plan To Ease Burden For 7 Line Commuters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The MTA is facing some backlash for rejecting a plan that might have eased weekend disruptions on the 7 line.

Plenty of commuters have voiced their complaints regarding the fact that the 7 Train will be screeching to a halt every week through April.

"Most of my friends live in Manhattan, so it's making me spend more in cab fare to get in and out of the city. The next 11 weekends I have plans almost every weekend in Manhattan, so it's going to cost me a lot more money, or a lot more time to get in," Catherine Hart, of Long Island City, told CBS 2's Jessica Schneider.

Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer decided to take action and said he got approval to use $250,000 in city funds to pay for a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard Station to Grand Central.

"I said let's talk about alternatives. Let's think out of the box. The community has been asking for a shuttle bus service," he told Schneider.

However, the MTA said no thanks and came up with its own plan.

"I said to the MTA, 'please do not do this to my constituents. Let's come up with a solution, let's mitigate the damage.' We don't dispute that it's necessary work. We get it, it's necessary work -- no one's complaining about that. But MTA work with us to try and keep our residents moving," Van Bramer said.

For the next 10 weekends, the MTA will shuttle people from the Vernon Boulevard Station, which is well within view of Manhattan to the Queensboro Plaza Station, which is actually further west into Queens. From there, riders can take a different line into Manhattan.

CBS 2 spoke with an MTA spokesman who says the agency turned down Van Bramer's offer because the alternate subway route is more efficient and faster than a shuttle bus. Plus, he said, there isn't room to stage the buses in front of Grand Central. However, straphangers aren't buying it.

"I think that sucks - they should definitely take into account the inconveniences," Hannah Yang said.

"That's what we need. If we had that, it wouldn't be so bad," Karolyn Richter said.

Some people, however, do agree with the MTA. They wonder if it's worth it to spend $250,000 in tax payer dollars for a non-essential shuttle bus to Grand Central.

The re-route will be in effect the next 10 weekends while the MTA performs track signal work.

Has the planned work on the 7 line affected you?  Tell us about it in the comments section...

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