This week, Governor Cuomo called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide Long Island Rail Road riders a discounted fare for “enduring the inconvenience of a disrupted commute.” In response, the MTA said on Tuesday that the LIRR will offer fare discounts to commuters during Penn Station’s major repairs set to begin this July. The discount will average roughly 25 percent for those traveling to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Hunters Point Avenue in Queens. Plus, according to Crain’s, commuters will receive free morning rush hour subway transfers from those two stations. Starting this week, discounted monthly tickets can be purchased at station vending machines.
Republican mayoral candidate, Paul Massey, unveiled a transit infrastructure plan Monday, that included an idea to create a G train loop that would travel to Manhattan to help commuters during the 15 month-L train shutdown next year. Although little details have been revealed, his plan would presumably travel through Midtown on the F train route, loop back into Queens on routes used by the M and R train and then reconnect with the G at the Court Square stop in Long Island City. While a notable idea, according to Crain’s the MTA looked over Massey’s plan and said its implementation would be impossible.
As 6sqft covered last month, the city’s ferry service, which launched May 1, has been so popular that frustrated passengers often face delays, long lines and overcrowding when trying to board. While officials had anticipated demand on the weekends for the NYC Ferry to be high, they did not expect how much this demand would “outstrip supply,” as the New York Times reported. To meet demand, the city will charter two extra boats that will carry 400 people to serve the summer weekend crowds.
With six weeks of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station beginning in July, the “summer of hell” for commuters is quickly approaching. In response, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has finally announced its plan to deal with Amtrak’s plan to close some of the station’s 21 tracks for renovations. As Crain’s reported, the MTA will shift three nighttime trains to rush hour and add about 36 cars, while also offering transit alternatives like ferry and bus services. The shutdown will force the MTA to cancel or divert 15-weekday trains between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., affecting nearly 9,600 LIRR morning commuters, set to begin July 10.
When a leaked memo about the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) surfaced a couple months ago, it painted a less-than-optimistic picture of the proposed $2.5 billion streetcar due to major construction challenges and doubts that Mayor de Blasio’s plan to self-fund the project through taxes from higher real estate values would pan out. Despite these concerns, however, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 endorsed the 16-mile streetcar project today, according to a press release from Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector.
Despite months of lobbying efforts by transit advocates and public officials, Mayor de Blasio declined to fund a $50 million program for half-price MetroCards for low-income riders. The mayor has previously said the city could not afford the pilot program, and also shifted the responsibility for funding the program to the state, since Governor Cuomo oversees the MTA. As the Gothamist reported, a study released by the Community Service Society of New York and the Riders Alliance, the NYPD arrested 5,137 New Yorkers for fare evasion between January and mid-March of this year, 90 percent of whom were black or Latino.
To mitigate the nightmare commuters will face during the 15-month L-train shutdown, the MTA and the Department of Transportation presented four possible alternatives that would make a portion of 14th Street a car-free busway. Streetsblog NYC reported that during a Manhattan Community Board 6 meeting on Monday, the agencies laid out the following options: a standard Select Bus Service (SBS) along 14th Street, enhanced SBS that includes turn and curb restrictions, a car-free busway in the middle lanes along 14th and a river-to-river car-free busway. Agency officials predict between 75 and 85 percent of the daily 275,000 daily L riders will use other subway lines, with bus service possibly absorbing between 5-15 percent of displaced trips.
Starting today, 7,000 yellow cabs will begin offering pooled rides in Manhattan through a collaboration with the mobile ridesharing app Via. Despite the fact that the app is technically a competitor, the taxi industry hopes it will increase drivers’ earnings, as they’ll spend less time searching for fares and will keep the tips from all riders, as well as increase ridership since passengers will receive discounts of up to 40 percent.
There’s plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the chronic failures of the NYC subway system, from the lack of funds to the lack of leadership. But now the latest piece of the MTA to get finger wag is not a person or a line in the budget, but the system’s C line. As the Times reports, C trains, the oldest and most break down-prone cars in the system, can many times be traced back to as the cause of system-wide failures. Breaking down roughly every 33,527 miles—as opposed to 400,000 miles for the average car, or 700,000 miles for new cars—when C line cars see delays, pangs can be felt throughout the entire network, making everyone’s commute increasingly miserable.
Advocacy group Move NY has suggested that the city impose a congestion charge on motorists driving on Manhattan’s most crowded streets. Similar proposals haven’t fared well in the state legislature–but the group cites a 1957 state law that says cities with a population of over a million can toll their own roadways and bridges. The Wall Street Journal reports that Move NY will offer the City Council’s transportation committee a new proposal today under which the city would impose a $2.75 charge on automobiles entering Manhattan’s central business district below 60th Street. The fee for trucks would be higher; for-hire vehicles including taxis would pay a congestion surcharge based on trips within the zone.
Governor Cuomo continues his push to improve and modernize transit across the state, announcing today that the first application for an autonomous vehicle demonstration on New York public roads has been approved. As shared in a press release, Audi of America Inc. was given the green light and will begin demonstrations this summer. The upcoming tests will be the first ever made in New York history and will be conducted on roads near the state capital, Albany.
Mayor de Blasio’s citywide ferry service initiative, which launched May 1, was meant to provide commuters with an alternative to the problem-plagued subway. However, just under a month after the city launched the NYC Ferry service, passengers have faced delays, long lines, and overcrowding. As the New York Times reports, the ferry service transported roughly 26,000 passengers in total this past holiday weekend, with the East River Route carrying more than 9,600 people each day. In response to high demand, an extra three boats were put into service.
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In response to the looming 15th-month L train shutdown, which will affect its nearly 225,000 daily riders beginning April 2019, real estate developers have started looking at Williamsburg’s hip and slightly cheaper neighbors, Greenpoint and South Williamsburg. Both areas sit nearby the G, J, M and Z trains, and in the past have offered a variety of housing options at cheaper prices. According to the New York Times, as developers begin their plunge into Greenpoint, sites along these train lines have become pricier and more difficult to lock down.
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While just a few days ago Governor Cuomo announced his “aggressive” action plan to combat the chronic problems of the city’s subway service, the MTA’s new version of its capital plan released Wednesday shows barely any increase in spending for system improvements. As the New York Times reported, the agency increased its current five-year capital plan from $29.5 billion to $32.5 billion, adding $1.6 billion in debt. However, instead of allocating funds for subway service improvements, spending instead will go towards projects seen as priorities for Cuomo, like electronic tolling at bridges and the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway.
Seeking innovative solutions to fix the mess that is the New York City transit system, Governor Cuomo on Tuesday launched a competition called the “MTA Genius Transit Challenge.” Just one of the governor’s recently proposed ideas to fix the subway, the international competition challenges participants to develop ideas for better signaling, new car designs, and WiFi throughout the system, including in tunnels. The winner of each category will receive $1 million and a possible contract deal with the state. In addition to the challenge, Cuomo announced he has created a Penn Station Task Force to devise alternative transportation solutions during Amtrak’s track work at the station this summer.
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