Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) subway, bus and commuter rail services will be free for Thursday and Friday to encourage the use of public transit as the region slowly recovers from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.
The free service will last until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, and will allow for free rides on the NYC Subway and Bus network, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. Free travel will also be available on Access-a-Ride.
“The gridlock we experienced yesterday shows that the New York metropolitan region is in a transportation emergency,” Gov. Cuomo said. “To get people out of their cars and onto mass transit, I immediately authorized the MTA to suspend transit fares through the end of the work week.”
The fare-free days coincide with the restoration of limited subway service today along segments of roughly half of the system's 23 lines. With no electricity to power the third rail or to operate signals south of 36th Street, there will be no service between 34th St in Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. Service will operate from the Bronx, Queens and Upper Manhattan to Midtown and from Queens and parts of Brooklyn to Downtown Brooklyn. Shuttle Buses will operate from Jay St-MetroTech, Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn and Hewes St in Williamsburg to 57th St & Lexington Ave via 3rd Ave.
Limited service on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad was restored on Wednesday, with the Long Island Rail Road providing service between Jamaica and Penn Station while Metro-North offered hourly service on the Harlem Line between North White Plains and Grand Central Terminal.
Both commuter rails are offering additional service today. Metro-North is operating close to regular service between Mount Kisco and Grand Central Terminal on the Harlem Line and on the New Haven Line between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal. The Long Island Rail Road is offering limited hourly service on the Ronkonkoma Branch and on the Port Washington Branch from Great Neck for the morning rush.
The MTA began restoring service Tuesday night, when limited bus service began to roll across the five boroughs, followed by a near normal schedule Thursday. Bus service will be at near normal levels on Thursday on all local, limited and express bus routes.
With limited service in operation, customers are advised to give themselves extra time for their commute, and if possible change their routine by traveling later in the morning or in the evening.