At a press conference on Monday morning, the MTA unveiled its summer service plans for Long Island Rail Road commuters who will be adversely affected by Amtrak’s “summer of hell” Penn Station repair program. The LIRR announced its plans a week after New Jersey Transit and Amtrak released their schedules.
The MTA’s solution relies on multiple alternative service options, including cross-honoring ferry tickets, more park and ride bus stations, and cross-honoring with the city subways. New ferry routes from Glen Cove and Long Island City will sail to 34th Street Pier. Additional park and ride services, with “full-service hospitality tents”, will be located across Long Island, and will run to midtown Manhattan. These options, per the MTA, can accommodate approximately five thousand people. The MTA will also be cutting tolls on its roadways during the night hours, in an effort to have trucks travel during off-peak times.
The railroad is also rolling out several internal optimizations, including adding more cars to trains, as well as diverting some Penn-bound trains to alternate terminals, including Atlantic Terminal and Hunterspoint Avenue. Certain New York City Transit subway stations will also be cross-honoring LIRR tickets during the morning rush hour, including Atlantic Terminal, Jamaica, and Hunterspoint Avenue. A few late night trains will be canceled, in order to provide additional equipment for rush hour trains.
However, the MTA’s plan encompasses more than just the LIRR. In conjunction with Governor Andrew Cuomo, MTA Bridges and Tunnels is preparing to speed up construction work on many different state roadways, including an earlier rollout of open-road tolling. However, it is unclear how this idea to reduce congestion will improve the lives of rail commuters, who are the group affected by Amtrak’s repair program.