*By Carlo Versano* New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in the middle of a massive coordinated effort to help the hundreds of thousands of commuters who will be derailed by the shutdown of the L train this April ー and the agency will rely largely on other subway lines in the nation's largest public transit system to do it. Residents don't realize "how complex and how redundant the New York City subway system is," MTA Managing Director Veronique "Ronnie" Hakim said. In an exclusive interview as part of the debut of Cheddar Rides, Hakim outlined the plan to keep the 225,000 commuters who shuttle between North Brooklyn and Manhattan via the L train moving. The strategy is largely based on an assumption that most of those riders will be able to transfer ー however inconveniently ー to other subway lines, such as the G, J, M, and Z trains. The MTA will offer shuttle buses, free transfers, expanded station infrastructure, and extra train cars to handle the crowds that the displacement will cause. "We've put together an alternative service plan that will connect about 80 percent of those people to other subway lines," she said. Additionally, the MTA has said it will run a frequent express bus service over the Williamsburg Bridge in dedicated lanes and will add a ferry service ー the first time the transit authority has dabbled in water transport. All this headache stems from 2012's Hurricane Sandy, when flooding severely damaged the Canarsie Tunnel, the only way for the L line to get between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The MTA is shutting down the line for 15 months to repair that damage. While the L shutdown provides an immediate concern for the MTA, which moves 5 million people a day underground, the overall state of the New York City subway has been deteriorating for years. Crumbling facilities and a lack of investment has caused even some surprising New Yorkers to break. "We've criticized it outselves," Hakim said. She referenced the Subway Action Plan that the MTA has introduced as a blueprint for the future, though it remains to be seen how the plan ー which could cost at least $20 billion over a decade ー will be financed. As a small part of that project, the MTA is putting customer service representatives armed with iPads into the system to help straphangers find their way. It will also spend millions to clean the notoriously dirty stations. "We're looking forward to really working on this subway system and getting it back up to the state-of-the-art system that this state-of-the-art city deserves," Hakim said. *(Editor's note: The author's father is a former executive at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.)* For full interview [click here](https://cheddar.com/videos/how-commuters-should-prepare-for-the-l-train-shutdown).

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