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.
Six weeks of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station begins July 10 and will last until September 1, as Amtrak plans on closing 21 of its tracks for renovations. The MTA said they will move three nighttime trains to rush hour and add 36 cars, while offering alternative transportation options like bus and ferry service. For riders with monthly commuter passes only, ferries from Glen Cove and Hunters Point will be available. Also, 200 coach buses will be added to pick up riders from eight different locations along the Long Island Expressway on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The shutdown will cancel or divert 15-weekday trains between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., affecting nearly 9,600 LIRR morning commuters.
Like LIRR commuters, those using NJ Transit on the Morris and Essex Midtown Direct line will get a discount between roughly 56 to 63 percent during the six-week-long repairs. However, the fares of subway riders will not be discounted, despite riders facing daily delays and disruptions. Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams urged Cuomo to offer subway riders a similar discount. In a statement, Adams said, “We cannot have two different ways of treating commuters amid this ongoing transit crisis.”
Last month, the MTA unveiled a six-point plan to reduce poor service and train delays and the governor began a “genius” competition to find innovative ways to upgrade the signal system more quickly. On Tuesday, the MTA said a piece of signal equipment from the 1930s, known as an interlocking, had failed at 34th Street, which caused major delays. Despite the subway reaching a near crisis, the MTA has not had a permanent boss since January. As the New York Times reported, it’s unclear whether or not Cuomo will appoint a new chairman and chief executive to head the authority before Albany’s legislative session ends on Wednesday.
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