Tag Archives: Metro-North

MTA service changes for President’s Day holiday


| editorial@queenscourier.com

According to the MTA, the transit agency’s trains and buses will operate on special schedules in observance of Presidents’ Day on Monday.

Subways and Buses

On Monday, February 18, President’s Day, the MTA New York City subways and buses will operate on a Saturday schedule.

Planned Service changes for Monday, February 18:

The 5 train will operate only as a shuttle in the Bronx, between Dyre Avenue and East 180th Street

7 train weekend work is extended through Monday; 7 trains operate only between Flushing-Main Street and Queensboro Plaza.

Q service will be extended to Astoria due to the 7 shutdown. (From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, February 16, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, February 17, and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, February 18, Q trains are extended to Ditmars Blvd. in order to augment service between Manhattan and Queens.)

Other weekend track work diversions will extend through Monday. Details will be posted at www.mta.info.

As a reminder, on a Saturday schedule, these subway changes are in place:

There is no express service on the 6 or 7

The B train does not operate; use the A, C, D or Q instead.

M trains operate only between Myrtle Avenue (Broadway), Brooklyn, and Metropolitan Avenue, Queens.

The Z train does not operate; use the J, which runs between Jamaica Center and Chambers Street.

To stay informed, refer to the Weekday and Weekend Service Change Directories posted in all subway stations, or visit the MTA website at www.mta.info and click on “Planned Service Changes” and/or “Current Service Status.”

Long Island Rail Road

On Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 18, the LIRR will operate on a holiday schedule with three extra westbound trains and three extra eastbound trains on the Port Washington Branch and one extra westbound train on the Ronkonkoma Branch. In addition, selected trains will make additional stops. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day. There will be no train service on the West Hempstead Branch and East of Ronkonkoma.

Extra Westbound Trains

Ronkonkoma Branch

Departs Ronkonkoma at 7:10 AM, making stops all stops to Hicksville (except Pinelawn), then Jamaica, Woodside and arrives Penn Station at 8:28 AM.

Port Washington Branch

Departs Port Washington at 7:10 AM, making all stops to Flushing Main St. (except Mets-Willets Point), then Woodside and arrives Penn Station at 7:55 AM.

Departs Port Washington at 8:10 AM, making all stops to Flushing Main St. (except Mets-Willets Point), then Woodside and arrives Penn Station at 8:55 AM.

Departs Port Washington at 9:10 AM, making all stops to Flushing Main St. (except Mets-Willets Point), then Woodside and arrives Penn Station at 9:55 AM.

Extra Eastbound Trains

Port Washington Branch

Departs Penn Station at 3:48 PM, making stops at Woodside, Flushing Main St., then all stops to Port Washington.

Departs Penn Station at 4:48 PM, making stops at Woodside, Flushing Main St., then all stops to Port Washington.

Departs Penn Station at 5:48 PM, making stops at Woodside, Flushing Main St., then all stops to Port Washington.

Eastbound Trains Making Added Stops

Ronkonkoma Branch

Departs Penn Station at 4:35 PM, making stops at Woodside, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Westbury, Hicksville, Bethpage, then all stops to Ronkonkoma (except Pinelawn).

Departs Penn Station at 5:35 PM, making stops at Woodside, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Westbury, Hicksville, Bethpage, then all stops to Ronkonkoma (except Pinelawn).

Departs Penn Station at 6:35 PM, making stops at Woodside, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Westbury, Hicksville and Bethpage, then all stops to Ronkonkoma (except Pinelawn).

Metro-North Railroad

On Presidents Day, Monday, February 18, Metro-North Railroad will operate on a Saturday schedule. Hudson Rail Link, the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry and the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry, will not operate.

Staten Island Railway

On President’s Day, Monday, February 18, the Staten Island Railway will operate on a Sunday schedule. There will be no early Get Away schedule for the Friday before the holiday weekend.

Storm disrupts local transit, airport travel


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA's Flickr

In anticipation of Friday’s blizzard, the MTA has added extra trains to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North, and has cancelled weekend subway work. But as the weather conditions deteriorate, the MTA may need to cancel or make changes to service. Check the MTA website for any updates throughout the storm.

LIRR

The LIRR is providing 8 extra for customers heading home early Friday afternoon. The extra service is between 2:09 p.m. and 3:48 p.m., with extra trains on the Babylon, Port Jefferson, Port Washington and Far Rockaway Branches. Additionally, one Port Jefferson train will originate from Jamaica instead of Huntington. Please consult the LIRR service status branch listing for the specific added trains. For more information, click here.

Metro-North

There will be extra trains during the early afternoon to help customers return home. This schedule will result in reduced service during the PM peak. Train combinations and cancellations are possible at any time, but increase in likelihood as the evening progresses to prevent trains from becoming stranded during the storm. For more information, click here

Subways and Buses 

The snow may require NYC Transit to shift the storage locations to subway cars indoors along underground express tracks. Some lines that normally run express will operate on local tracks, others will end service earlier than normal this evening. Bus service will operate on a regular schedule.

Rockaway Ferry

The last departures from Manhattan to Rockaway Friday will be the 5:10pm from East 34th Street and the 5:35pm from Pier 11. The last departure from Rockaway to Manhattan will be the 4:30pm. Find out more at Seastreak.com.

Bridges and Tunnels

The MTA’s nine crossings are open and operating normally at this time. Motorists are asked to allow extra travel time and operate at reduced speeds due to wet roadways. All scheduled lane closures and weekend work at the Queens-Midtown Tunnel has been canceled due to the weather.

Amtrak

At 12:30 p.m. Friday, Amtrak is suspending northbound service out of Penn Station. For more information and updates, click here.

Airports

The storm is also affecting airline travel. As of noon, there were 3,147 Friday cancellations at U.S. airports, according to FlightStats.com, with 722 at LaGuardia and 573 at JFK Airport. JetBlue said that it is canceling all of its flights in and out of area airports.

If are are traveling by air today or over the weekend, make sure to check with your airline before going to the airport.

 

A video of the MTA’s storm preparations. 

 

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LIRR tickets to go digital


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Flickr/MTA

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

There’s an app for everything, even taking the train.

The MTA recently announced that it’s seeking a company to help develop digital tickets for passengers to use when boarding the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains.

According to the transit agency, the issue for proposals was sent out on January 22 and responses will be due by March 15. A contract is expected be awarded by July of this year with the winning company beginning the pilot program by the spring of 2014 and a full initiative in the early fall of 2014.

LIRR President Helena Williams hopes the initiative will make travelling easier for those taking the train.

Mobile ticketing will offer customers the convenience of print-at-home ticketing as well as onboard payment using credit and debit cards,” she said. “It also will provide many efficiencies for our operation, including reducing onboard cash sales and fare disputes.”

The MTA had tested out the program during the Barclays PGA Tour last year in Bethpage, in which close to 6,000 fans using public transportation bought tickets. Riders bought their tickets with an free app on their smartphone and either printed out the ticket or downloaded it to their smartphone. The app allowed conductors to simply look at the ticket in order to validate it, or scanned the special bar code.

“The LIRR’s successful mobile ticketing pilot last summer for the PGA TOUR at Bethpage showed customers are eager for mobile ticketing,” said Williams. A survey of more than 350 of the participants showed a 99 percent satisfaction rating with the e-tickets.

 

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MTA head Joe Lhota resigns to explore mayoral run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr

Following the MTA board’s approval of his fare hike proposal, CEO and Chairman Joe Lhota announced that he will resign, effective December 31, to consider running for New York City mayor in 2013.

At the announcement, Lhota said that he would make “no further comment” on his mayoral candidacy until early January, when he will announce his decision.

The approved fare and toll changes, which raise the MetroCard base and unlimited fares, reduce the discount, as well as increases ticket prices on the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, and raise tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels, are Lhota’s last hoorah as the agency’s head, and could conceivably hurt his chances among voters.

Post-Sandy polls showed that the majority of New Yorkers were pleased with how the MTA responded to the superstorm and its aftermath, but voters are fed up with the frequent fare hikes.

His party could also be an obstacle.

After two decades, the city will likely have a Democratic mayor again.

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that if Lhota ran for mayor as a Republican he would lose to an unnamed Democratic candidate 60 to nine percent. Forty-five percent of those surveyed also disapproved of how Lhota is handling his job as the head of the MTA.

Current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran for his first two terms as a Republican before switching to an Independent before his third run, is expected to endorse City Council Speaker and Democrat Christine Quinn, and reportedly even asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run.

Another former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, however, is expected to endorse Lhota, who served as his deputy mayor for operations. Giuliani also reportedly encouraged him to run.

The MTA chair also worked in investment banking, was an executive vice president for the Madison Square Garden Company, and served as the city’s budget director and commissioner of finance, before Governor

Andrew Cuomo appointed him as head of the transit agency in November 2011.

Before facing a Democrat, Lhota needs to win the Republican primary, where he could run against newspaper publisher Tom Allon, billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión Jr. and Doe Fund founder and president George McDonald.

The same November Quinnipiac poll also found that Lhota would lose to Carrión 62 to 11 percent.

 

Fare, toll hikes approved by MTA


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

New Yorkers will once again be paying more to ride public transportation beginning next year.

The MTA board passed all of Chair Joe Lhota’s recommendations at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 19 bumping fares and tolls across all MTA services.

The base fare on Metrocards will rise a quarter to $2.50, seven-day passes will go up $1 to $30 and 30-day passes will increase $8 to $112.  The new fares go into effect March 1 and is the fourth increase in five years.

The new fares also include a $1 green fee for each new Metrocard bought from the machine.

Long Island Railroad and Metro-North tickets will also increase an average of nine percent.

On bridges, E-ZPass drivers will be paying 50 cents more per trip, while those who pay cash will be forking over an additional dollar every time they use an MTA crossing.

Charts courtesy of MTA

MTA Thanksgiving weekend service


| editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Starting Wednesday, New York City buses and subways, and area regional trains will operate on special schedules for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Subways and Buses

On Thanksgiving Day (November 22), subways and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule, with additional service on the 42nd Street Shuttle for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Also, some bus routes will be impacted by the parade.

On Friday, subways and buses will run on a weekday schedule with some exceptions.

LIRR

There will be additional LIRR trains on Wednesday, November 21 and Thanksgiving.

On Friday, it will operate on a near-normal weekday schedule, but off-peak fares will be in effect from Thursday through Sunday.

During the four-day weekend, riders can also use the Family Fare discount, where children aged five to 11 are just 75 cents, and parking will be free at many stations.

The LIRR will continue to run extra weekend trains for six holiday weekends, through December 30.

Metro-North

Metro-North will operate extra trains departing from Grand Central on Wednesday, beginning at 1 p.m.

On Thanksgiving, it will run on a holiday schedule with extra morning service into the city and extra late morning and early afternoon trains out of NYC for those attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day.

On Friday, Metro-North will operate on a Saturday schedule with extra service during a.m. and p.m. peak times. Thursday through Sunday, off-peak fares will be in effect, and parking will be free at many stations.

There will also be extra weekend trains on the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson Lines through December 30.

Staten Island Railway

There will be extra SIR trains added on Wednesday, beginning at 2:31 p.m. from the St. George Ferry Terminal. There will be one express train and one local train awaiting every boat until 7:50 p.m.

Bridges and Tunnels

Routine maintenance and temporary construction work at all MTA bridges and tunnels will be suspended starting at noon on Wednesday, November 21, until early Monday morning, November 26.

 

MTA announces fare and toll hike proposals


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Today the Metropolitan Transit Authority officially announced its proposals for the fare and toll hikes that are planned for March.

The agency said that the increases will bring in “vitally needed revenue to support the New York region’s transportation system.”

The MTA is considering four options that would increase bus and subway rides.

On October 10, the New York Daily News published those options ahead of time. Though the MTA would not confirm whether those were its actual proposals, the ones it revealed today did reflect the ones the paper released.

Two options keep the base fare at $2.25; the other two raise it to $2.50.

If the base fare stays the same, the cost of a weekly unlimited MetroCard would go up from $29 to $34 and the monthly from $104 to $125. The seven percent discount for every $10 put on a MetroCard would be lowered to five percent.

The second option would raise unlimited rides to $32 and $119, but eliminate the discount.

If the MTA raises the base fare to $2.50, then straphangers would keep the seven percent discount, but pay more for an unlimited MetroCard ($30 and $112).

The final option would keep weekly unlimited MetroCards at $29, and only increase the monthly by $5, but the base fare would be $2.50, and there would be no discounts.

There are also four proposals for express buses. Again, two would keep the base fare, which is currently $5.50, and the two others would raise it 50 cents. The options would also have similar trade-offs for MetroCard discounts and unlimited rides.

Most of Long Island Railroad and Metro-North tickets would go up by 8.19 to 9.31 percent, said the MTA.

These hikes would be the fourth increase in five years for subway, bus and commuter rail fares and that is one too many said public transportation advocacy group, the Straphangers Campaign, following the MTA’s fare proposals announcement.

“Blocking or reducing the fare increase is possible, if we get more help from Albany,” said Straphangers spokesperson Gene Russianoff. “One promising plan is to generate new revenue by both raising and lowering tolls on city bridges and tunnels in line with where there is the most and least congestion.”

The proposals that the MTA announced Monday would raise the tolls for many area bridges and tunnels. Though E-ZPass customers would still pay less than other drivers, everyone will be paying more.

Those increases include raising the tolls for the Queens Midtown Tunnel, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel from $4.80 to $5.30 for E-ZPass holders and from $6.50 to $7.50 for other drivers.

Tolls for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge would go up between 12 and 33 cents, depending on whether the driver has an EZ-Pass or is a Rockaway resident.

In November, a month before the MTA votes on how it’s going to raise tolls and fares, the agency is letting the public weigh in on the options in a series of public and video forums. It is also accepting public statements via email and regular mail.

“The public will have significant input into our decision-making process. In the spirit of transparency, the public will assist in shaping our fare policy,” said MTA chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “These proposals have been designed to balance our need for revenue with public involvement. We need to hear from the public. Feedback evaluating the specific alternatives we’ve put forward is particularly useful, but we value all our customers’ input, and we’ll consider changes to our proposals based on what we hear and read.”

Fare hikes may raise monthly MetroCard to $125, cut discounts


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Ahead of public hearings on fare hikes next month, the MTA has proposed four options for when it raises MetroCard prices in March, the New York Daily News reported.

These changes would garner $232 million in additional revenue, said the paper.

“We have cut discretionary spending to the tune of $700 million and will see a reduction of more than $1 billion by 2014,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. “Unfortunately, we still need to raise fares and tolls to cover our growing non-discretionary costs like retiree benefits, pension and rising fuel costs.”

The MTA would not confirm the proposed options that the Daily News reported, and will publically release them on Monday, October 15, said Ortiz.

The first option would raise the costs of the weekly unlimited MetroCard from $29 to $34 and the monthly from $104 to $125. A straphanger would need to take 16 rides in seven days for the weekly or 56 rides in 30 days for the monthly, before saving money.

Also under this first proposal, MetroCard bonuses would be lowered to five percent. Currently, riders receive a seven percent discount each time they pay $10.

The second option only raises weekly and monthly MetroCards to $32 and $119, but gets rid of all Pay-Per-Ride bonuses.

In September, MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota publically said that even if the transit agency cuts MetroCard discounts it may still need to hike fares in order to raise the agency’s revenues.

The other two options would increase the base fare to $2.50, but would still lower MetroCard bonuses.

According to the MTA’s 2012 to 2016 financial plan, if it raises fares and tolls again in 2015, as is expected, those increases would be three times the estimated rate of inflation.

Riders will get a chance to sound off about the proposed hikes, which could also affect commuter train prices and bridge and tunnels tolls, when the MTA holds public hearings next month.

In Queens, the hearing will be held on November 15 at 5 p.m. in the ballroom of the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing. That month there will also be video conference hearings at the Hicksville and Ronkonkoma LIRR stations, in Lower Manhattan and at the Poughkeepsie Metro-North station.

Public hearings: 

Wednesday, November 7

Long Island – 5 p.m.
Roosevelt Hall
Little Theater
Farmingdale State College
2350 Broadhollow Road
Farmingdale, New York

Brooklyn– 5 p.m.
NY Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
333 Adams Street
Brooklyn, New York

Manhattan – 5 p.m.
Baruch Performing Arts Center, Mason Hall
Baruch College
17 Lexington Avenue (at 23rd St.)
New York, New York

Bronx – 5 p.m.
Main Theater
Hostos Community College
Center for the Arts & Culture
450 Grand Concourse
Bronx, New York

Newburgh– 5 p.m.
Vanderbilt/Astor Rooms
Hilton Garden Inn, Newburgh/Stewart Airport
15 Crossroads Court
Newburgh, New York

Staten Island– 5 p.m
Center for the Arts, Springer Concert Hall
College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, New York

Thursday, November 15

Westchester– 5 p.m.
Auditorium
Yonkers Public Library – Riverfront Library
One Larkin Center
Yonkers, New York

Queens– 5 p.m.
Ballroom
Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel
135-20 39th Avenue
Flushing, New York

Video conference hearings:

Thursday, November 8

9 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
2 Broadway (3 Stone St. entrance), bid room suite, Manhattan

Tuesday, November 13

6 a.m.-10 a.m.
Hicksville Long Island Rail Road Station Building

4:00 -8 p.m.
Poughkeepsie Metro-North Station, pedestrian overpass

Wednesday, November 14

6-10 a.m.
Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road Station Building

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then rain in the afternoon. High of 73. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Tuesday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Fog overnight. Low of 64. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT of the DAY: An Evening with Don Francisco, Celebrating 50 Years of Sábado Gigante

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Don Francisco —a.k.a. Mario Kreutzberger. In a rare New York appearance, the variety show host will participate in an intimate discussion with a special guest moderator and show a selection of unforgettable clips from his Saturday night show’s 50-year history presented by Univisión. Sábado Gigante is the longest-running variety show in television history, and Don Francisco has been there from the beginning, hosting more than 2,600 episodes. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Girl struck by stray bullet while doing homework returns home for rally

A Queens community is saying enough is enough to gun violence after a teenager was shot while doing homework. Read more: CBS New  York

College student starts petition for Metro-North stop in Queens

A college student from Queens has launched a petition urging the MTA to open a Metro-North station in Queens. Quinnipiac University sophomore Ali Fadil, 18, of Whitestone, began collecting signatures about two weeks ago after he learned the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was looking at running trains on Metro-North’s New Haven line through western Queens. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens men get 6 1/2 years for role in fatal 2010 stabbing

Two Queens men were thrown in prison today for their role in the death of a good Samaritan who came to the aid of a transgender man the pair were bothering. Read more: New York Post

Second American Airlines flight returns to JFK after row of seats comes loose

Planes have been grounded and the feds are now investigating American Airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration is probing two separate instances of rows of airplane seats dislodging in mid-air. Read more: CBS New York

New Brooklyn arena serves as a test: Will fans accept smaller sodas?

At the amenity-laden Barclays Center in Brooklyn, hungry concertgoers can dine on fresh-from-Maine lobster rolls, gourmet barbecue brisket and slices of cheesecake from Junior’s on nearby Flatbush Avenue. Read more: New York Times

Candidates prep for debates; No. 2s campaign

The presidential candidates are leaving the heavy lifting of campaigning to their running mates Tuesday as they spend one more day preparing for their first debate, scheduled for Wednesday night. Read more: ABC New York/AP

 

MTA customers still satisfied, says annual survey


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

The results of the MTA 2012 Customer Satisfaction Survey are in, and riders remain pleased with all New York City transit options.

Surveying 18,000 people, the agency found that the biggest jump in satisfaction was with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and Metro-North.

The increase comes after last year’s drop that was likely due to “winter storms and service disruptions from Amtrak repairs/derailment,” said the MTA.

In 2010 the LIRR had an overall satisfaction rate of 89 percent, but was 78 percent in 2011. This year it went back up to 86 percent.

Among the individual lines, Port Washington, Port Jefferson and Port Washington tied for first with a 90 percent rating. The worst line, Oyster Bay, still rated high at 79 percent.

Overall, riders were just as happy with the subways and buses as much as they were last year.

As in the past two years, only about 45 percent of straphangers were satisfied with how well the MTA kept subway trains from getting too crowded during rush hours. It was the only category in the 2012 survey that received a rating below 67 percent.

Bus riders were least happy with how long they had to wait for a bus to arrive and frequency of service. They were most satisfied with convenience of bus routes.

Satisfaction with tunnels and bridges was up from both 2011 and 2010, at 85 percent, and drivers were most pleased with the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

See more results from the MTA 2012 Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Thanksgiving Weekend Mass Transit Schedules


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, mass transit will be running special schedules between Wednesday, November 23 and Sunday, November 27 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

MTA

Trains and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving.  On Black Friday, service will operate on a weekday schedule with some exceptions.  There will be less service, especially during rush hour and no Limited Stop service on the Q6, Q25 and Q65.  For more information visit www.mta.info

Long Island Rail Road

Additional trains will operate today, Wednesday, November 23, and on Thanksgiving.  There will be nine extra trains today departing Penn Station between 2:10 and 3:48 p.m.

Twenty-two extra trains have been added on Thanksgiving for those attending the Parade or visiting their families – including nine extra westbound and 13 extra eastbound trains. The extra east bound trains will depart Penn Station between 11:33 a.m. and 2:03 p.m.  Cars will also be added to select trains to accommodate holiday travelers.  Off-peak fares will be in effect for the entire weekend.  For more information visit www.mta.info/lirr

Metro-North Railroad

Extra trains on will begin departing Grand Central at 1 p.m. today.  During the evening peak several trains will be combined or eliminated due to decreased ridership.  On Thanksgiving Day, Metro-North will operate a holiday schedule with extra morning inbound service for those going to see the Macy’s Parade.  There will also be extra late morning and early afternoon outbound service.

On Black Friday, Metro-North will operate a Saturday schedule with extra service during the morning and evening peaks. Off-peak fares will be in effect for the entire four-day holiday weekend.  For more information visit http://www.mta.info/mnr/