July 20, 2012

N.Y. MTA, LIRR enhance services

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is adding and extending service on almost 40 bus, subway and commuter rail lines to better serve its customers. These service investments will connect customers across the MTA’s service area, enhance access to mass transit, accommodate ridership growth and attract new transit customers.

The service investments come at a time when MTA ridership is steadily increasing. Subway ridership has reached levels not seen since the 1950s, while commuter train ridership is approaching all-time records. Ridership growth is especially pronounced outside of the traditional rush hours, prompting increased investment in night, weekend and off-peak weekday service.

The service investments will be phased in over several months and will cost an additional $29 million per year to operate when fully implemented. They are paid for with increased revenue generated by additional ridership on the MTA system, as well as savings from the MTA’s continued rigorous efforts to contain costs. MTA planners analyzed ridership data in conjunction with residential and business growth patterns and accessibility to transit to determine which routes, days and times would benefit the most from enhanced bus, subway and commuter rail service.

The investments will be implemented across all elements of the MTA’s transit system, with the common goal of solidifying ridership gains and improving the customer experience. Some of the investments will restore service that was curtailed during the severe budget crisis of 2010, when the MTA was forced to cut $93 million worth of operations to keep its budget in balance. Others will enhance service to neighborhoods and regions that have seen demand for transit grow in recent years.

New York City Transit will add five new bus routes, restore one route, extend 13 existing bus routes and add midday, night or weekend service on 11 bus routes in all five boroughs. The temporary extension of the G subway line to Church Avenue during reconstruction of the Smith/9th Street station will be made permanent.

Metro-North Railroad will enhance service on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines to reduce crowding and better serve growing off-peak and weekend ridership with increased half-hourly frequency. West of the Hudson, a new round-trip peak train will be added on the Pascack Line.

The Long Island Rail Road will provide increased service from Ronkonkoma every 30 minutes on weekdays after the morning rush and during some weekend periods. Extra trains will accommodate increased rider demand on the Long Beach, Port Jefferson and Montauk branches. Trains from Atlantic Terminal will also be extended until 2:00 a.m.

The investments will be formally presented to the MTA board during its regular monthly meeting. They will be included in the MTA’s 2013 Budget and Four-Year Financial Plan, which relies on additional efficiencies, three years of net-zero wage increases and a previously scheduled fare and toll increase next year to generate an additional $450 million in annualized revenue.

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