Hallelujah! The MTA is finally making the obvious, smart move that fans have long clamored for:
All aboard the Mets express!
Fans can zip home on the No. 7 line starting Thursday after the Amazins take on the Cincinnati Reds. New York City Transit is beginning long lusted-after express service weeknights from Willets Point/Shea Stadium to Midtown.
And after much complaining from the oft-downtrodden Mets fans, MTA and New York City Transit listened. Express trains will arrive on the middle track every six minutes shortly after the game ends and will continue to run for about an hour.
Transit is also ramping up local service. More local and eight express trains will arrive every six minutes.
Transit officials expect that the increased service will shave off six minutes of both trains' service. A trip from Shea to Times Square will now take 25 minutes instead of 31, and riders heading to Queensboro Plaza will get there in 13 minutes, not 19.
Six minutes might not seem like a lot, but check this observation out:
Research has shown that consumers routinely perceive the wait to be far longer than it actually is.
"We have good clocks in our heads for roughly three minutes," said Paco Underhill, founder of Envirosell, a retail consulting firm.
"Once we get beyond that, time expands wildly," he said. "If somebody is there for 4.5 minutes and you ask them how long they waited, they will say 15 minutes."
The article in question was talking about supermarket checkout aisles, but I'm sure the findings apply to waits of all kinds. So six minutes is going to make a big difference. Just think about how much faster it feels to take the express out to the games rather than the local. I know I'm always happy to let a local or two pass by at Grand Central in order to get on an express.
Anyhow, with parking more difficult at Shea due to the construction of CitiField, the new service comes at a great time. And with the city focusing heavily on sustainability, getting more people to ride the subways is clearly a good move. Unfortunately, express service won't be added for weekend games (right now it doesn't exist in either direction), but I won't look a gift horse in the mouth. Though who knows - maybe one day it will!