'Rush Hour' Non-Existent At Some Area Subway Stops
The trash bins and platforms are both practically empty. The lack of graffiti on the walls speaks volumes. Even at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, the Beach 105 Street train station is like a ghost town.
The New York Post recently ranked the station as the least used in the entire subway system, with the average daily ridership of only 256 compared to the busiest at Times Square, which sees close to 170,000 riders per day. "Those figures are accurate and official," said NYC Transit spokesperson Charles Seaton, who said the numbers are based on MetroCard swipes. The second least-used station is Broad Channel, a crucial intersection for those traveling between Rockaway Beach, Far Rockaway, Rockaway Park and mainland Queens. And yet another local stop, at Beach 44 Street, is third on the list.
"Six to 10 a.m. is the busiest time, when I see maybe 200 people; the slowest is between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. when, if I even see anyone at all, it's only about 10 to 20 people," a booth clerk who asked to be identified by his first name, Albert, told The Wave, who's been working at the Beach 105 Street station for the past four years.
Raymond Otton has been boarding the 7:39 a.m. train at Beach 105 Street every day for several years, he said. Upon learning his station made the top of the bottom, Otton wasn't shocked. "Even when boarding during the morning rush hour, I see only about 10 to 15 people waiting for the train, and it's to the point where the booth clerk knows you by name and is able to tell you how many minutes until the train arrives," Otton said. "I kind of like it like that, though," he added.
Others were quick to point out neglectful conditions at the city's slowest station. First, there's the rancid odor. While the trash bins appear to be emptied regularly, there's an unavoidable stench that comes from the Rockaway Water Pollution Control Plant just north of the train station.
The payphones are all in service, but other types of service need to be polished. The most common complaint was over the bird droppings scattered along the platform. Droppings have not only caused the corrosion of the ceilings and walls, but also anger and tardiness among riders. The booth clerk we spoke with said he hears at least one or two of these complaints every day, and recalled one man whose outfit was ruined by the droppings as he waited on the platform. He complained that he had to return home for a change of clothes and ended up being late for work that morning. Others are concerned the droppings pose a health risk, especially if the bird carries a disease. Thin, metal spikes have been added to the top of the various overhead hangings to prevent the birds from landing anywhere above passengers, but the problem continues.
The lack of handicap-accessible features, public restrooms and security are the other biggest concerns at the
Beach 105 Street station. Seaton was unable to confirm whether any changes or renovations are pending. The nearest station with a bathroom is Beach 116 Street, which, Albert pointed out "is quite a distance in an emergency. What if a woman is pregnant?"
The elderly and disabled must climb two flights of stairs to reach the platform, another major issue. Regarding security, Janet St. Clair says there is none. St. Clair, a Rockaway resident for over 30 years, has not felt safe ever since a man followed her to the Beach 105 Street station late one night in February. "I've never seen any cops around here," she said. "Well, maybe once," she conceded.
Even with the complaints and poor maintenance surrounding the city's loneliest train station, some passengers like James Mayo focus on the positive. Mayo said he doesn't mind waiting at Beach 105 Street because of the beautiful view that awaits him. For Mayo, the tradeoff for lackluster conditions seems to be the moment when the train crosses over Jamaica Bay. As he put it, "You can't beat that."