Everyday more than 225,000 people in New York City ride the ‘L’ subway train from Brooklyn to Manhattan, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). But come next April, these commuters will be faced with getting back and forth to work from without this lifeline. And it’s going to last (gasp!) for about 15 months!

What’s a Brooklyn commuter to do? Most are considering alternate options like taking a combination of the J and M train lines, riding bikes or taking busses that will be put in service to shuttle subway riders. 

Others are considering moving in with friends who live closer to work, but as you’d imagine, those types of arrangements can get old rather quickly.  

Available Options for ‘L’ Train Commuters

So, what will the 250,000 L Train commuters do when the L Trains stop running? Pedal power is one option that is being enhanced during the year-plus shutdown. City Bike is adding 1,250 new bikes along with 2,400 docking stations in Williamsburg and Manhattan. 

Estimates show an additional 4% of commuters will be taking ferries to work. To make sure there are enough ferries running, the DoT will be adding more services along the East River during peak hours, between the North Williamsburg and Stuyvesant Cove stops. Weekday service will run between 5 a.m. to midnight, and 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends. The additional ferries will help, with a total of 1,190 riders per hour.

Approximately 70% of current commuters will be shifting to alternative subway routes, in particular the J/M/Z and G lines. Three additional trains per hour are planned to ease the congestion that is bound to occur.

Additional busses, 80 per hour accommodating 42,00 riders will provide an efficient bus shuttle service across the Williamsburg Bridge. That will play a significant role in mitigating the commuting nightmare.

Entrepreneurs to the Rescue!

Not leaving anything to chance, some wily entrepreneurs with marketing and technology backgrounds are coming up with cost-effective alternatives to meet the needs of those Brooklynites who were so dependent on the L Train for their commute.

One entrepreneur has come up with an app-based ride hailing service that will feature 12-passenger shuttle vans. It’s called “The New L” - and it’s one of many that are coming online to beat the April chaos. This particular service plans to pick riders up at their doorstep during the workweek of Monday-Friday, and take them to various drop-off points in the city.

Cost projections show that The New L will run around $155 a month, which is only $34 more than the current cost of a monthly MetroCard. To keep everyone happy, the shuttle vans will feature smartphone charging ports, Wi-Fi and food from local area businesses. These mobility vans are geared toward the Millennials, and will be driven by experienced chauffeurs.

The only problem with The New L is that it is a one-way concept; while it will take people to drop-off points in Manhattan, there is no service currently planned to get them back to Brooklyn. But, it will help to alleviate at least some of the inbound congestion.

One of the ideas that preceded this one was Dan Levy’s East River Gondola concept, a $100 million concept that would have taken people from the Williamsburg waterfront to Downtown Manhattan in only 3.5 minutes! This entrepreneur felt his concept was sustainable and would serve over 5,000 people per hour in both directions.

But the window on the initial phase has passed and it appears that this entrepreneurial concept is not viable.