Service Diversions 07-24-15

Get a start on your weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

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FASTRACK Returns To The R In Brooklyn

MTA NYC Transit’s FASTRACK program will be returning to the R Train in Brooklyn next week. Here are the details:

For the first time this year, MTA New York City Transit’s FASTRACK program returns to stations along the R Fourth Avenue line in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, Brooklyn for two consecutive weeks. Beginning Monday, July 27, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., for four consecutive weeknights, and from Monday, August 3, to early morning Friday, August 7, R trains will not stop at stations between Bay Ridge-95 St and 36 St. DN trains and shuttle buses provide alternate service.

Travel alternatives:

• R service operates between Forest Hills-71 Av, in Queens, and 36 St in Brooklyn, in both directions.

• R trains skip Union St, 4 Av-9 St, Prospect Av, and 25 St, in both directions.

• Late night R shuttle service is suspended.

• Free shuttle buses operate between Bay Ridge-95 St and 59 St, stopping at 86 St, 77 St, and Bay Ridge Av.

• D trains run local between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and 36 St.

• N trains run local between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and 59 St, in Brooklyn.

• Transfer between free shuttle buses and N trains at 59 St.

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LIRR & The Lack Of Communication

Lack of communication is the common theme that was shared by thousands of LIRR riders on Friday after two trains side swiped each other outside of Jamaica which caused massive delays.

The story first came to my attention by my sister who texted me before it hit the media. She was stuck on an express from Penn heading out east. She was frustrated as her train was stuck in Jamaica for nearly an hour & during that time, the conductor only came on to inform the passengers once! The only thing they were told is “something about a side swipe”.

I did reach out to the LIRR but did not receive a reply. The first mention of it in the media actually came via the Twitter feed of Channel 7 Eyewitness News. Quite a bit later the LIRR tweeted about it but did not even mention the real reason & instead used the “equipment problem” canned response.

What was really frustrating for passengers is the lack of announcements & the inability to possibly transfer to another line to get on their way. My sister’s train which was not involved in the accident held their doors closed the entire time even with other trains on the same line entering & leaving the station.

I am sorry but the lack of communication & inability to alter plans was completely unacceptable in my opinion. This sentiment was shared by many including LIRR Commuter Council chairman Mark Epstein who said “the complete lack of information provided to those riders on the affected trains” and on the railroad’s website “was not only appalling but a clear violation of the LIRR’s Pledge to Riders”.

MTA Spokesman Aaron Donovan did make mention of how the agency issued 85 email and text message alerts, 91 tweets, 96 website posts and updates, nine posts to message boards at Penn Station, Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal and eight Facebook notes.

Some might say this was a good amount of communication. However I disagree as many passengers I spoke with who happened to be on the LIRR during that time in the area seemed clueless as to what was going on as the train crews were not forthcoming about the situation. So all the alerts, tweets, etc… in the world don’t mean a thing if the actual riders are not told over the P.A. especially those sitting on trains.

Hopefully the agency will review their policy & learn that complete honesty & transparency is the way to go in such situations as anything less is completely unacceptable!

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Service Diversions 07-16-15

Get a start on your weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

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MTA Announces 86th St Select Bus Service

Earlier this week, the MTA & NYCDOT announced the beginning of Select Bus Service along 86th Street. Here are the details:

New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), together with MTA NYC Transit, unveiled a new Select Bus Service route along 86th Street in Manhattan today. This corridor currently serves 24,000 commuters daily and is the busiest route citywide per mile. This marks the 8th SBS in the city and provides direct connections to twelve different bus routes, including the M15 SBS, as well as six different subway lines including the 1, 4, 5, 6, B and C trains.

“This new 86th Street select bus service will improve travel times and reduce the long lines for the 24,000 daily riders along Manhattan’s second busiest crosstown route,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “This new SBS service is a win for regular bus riders, tourists, local businesses and major cultural institutions alike along this important corridor.”

“Bringing Select Bus Service to this vital crosstown corridor will dramatically improve service as it has for our previous seven SBS routes,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “By combining SBS features for the M86, our customers will see time savings of 10 percent or more.”

“On an average weekday, the M86 carries more than 24,000 riders making it the second busiest crosstown route in NYC. Before SBS, the M86 spent almost half of its travel time stopped in traffic, at a red light, or at a bus stop waiting for customers to board and pay their fare,” said Darryl Irick, MTA New York City Transit Senior Vice President of Buses and President, MTA Bus Company. “Now, customers can pay their fare before they board the bus, greatly reducing the time spent waiting at bus stops. Short segments of bus lanes along with improved signal timing for buses will also improve bus speeds and reliability.

“The M86 is the second busiest crosstown bus route in the city, and also one of the slowest – so Select Bus Service will be a welcome improvement for the more than 25,000 passengers on this line,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank the Department of Transportation and the MTA for their efforts to speed up and improve service on this vital crosstown route.”

“The first Select Bus Service (SBS) line was in my district, and I have been supportive of the project ever since. It lowers commute times for people that don’t have direct access to subway lines and have endured painstaking long commutes,” said State Senator Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan/Bronx). “The new M86 will mean faster crosstown bus service for thousands of straphangers and I applaud the DOT for quickly completing this project.”

“I am happy to see that the heavily utilized and often overcrowded 86th street crosstown bus route will be alleviated by the addition of select bus service,” said Senator Jose M. Serrano “The residents of my Senate district who live and work on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side will have a quicker and much easier commute crosstown. Many thanks to the Department of Transportation for implementing this crucial service.”

New Yorkers always seem to be in a rush to get somewhere, and with the introduction of Select Bus Service on the M86 Street route, they will be able to get there more quickly,” said Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal. “This crosstown route, which is one of the city’s busiest per mile, will now provide faster and more efficient service, operating in a dedicated bus lane and using off-board fare collection. Both bus riders and pedestrians should be pleased with these changes.

“The M15 Select Bus Service has sped up travel times on the East Side immensely. I’m pleased that Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation are expanding this program to other areas that are in need of new transportation infrastructure,” said Assembly Member Dan Quart. “I’m certain that the 86th Street Select Bus Service will quickly become an integral part of cross-town transit for East Siders.”
“We must create effective ways to alleviate unacceptable congestion on the overcrowded buses and subways servicing the Upper East Side,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. “Thank you to the DOT for their perseverance in launching much needed Select Service for the 86th Street cross town bus.”

“Thousands of Upper West Siders take the M86 every day to get to work, school, and doctor’s appointments,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “Select Bus Service allows people to get on the bus much more quickly and I’m grateful to the Department of Transportation for bringing SBS to this critical route.”

“Waiting in block-long lines for crosstown buses in Yorkville and spending countless minutes boarding will hopefully become just another bad memory with off-board payment that will allow people to board the M86 bus using all doors at once,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “East Siders and West Siders can agree that crosstown bus service needed an improvement. Following our calls to improve crosstown service, the MTA and DOT have taken a big step to improving commutes by bringing SBS off-board payment to our neighborhoods.”

“With the introduction of SBS along the M86, tickets purchased beforehand will expedite the boarding process, and allow for evenness of service for mass transit (from west to east and vice versa) -and even more important, it will allow for safer and more accessible linkages to the city for subway and bus commuters all across our city,” said Elizabeth Caputo, Chair of Community Board 7.

“I look forward to riding this line, it will have a subway feel of quick and easy on and off boarding. I applaud our DOT for their fast forward approach to bus service in our community,” said Jim Clynes, Chair of Community Board 8.

With input from the local community, DOT and MTA NYC Transit developed the 86th Street SBS service to provide faster and more reliable bus service, create safer streets for pedestrians and motorists, and maintain traffic flow. Design elements along this route include off-board fare collection, real-time passenger information signs, and the future construction of bus bulbs and pedestrian neckdowns, which will make the street safer, supporting the City’s Vision Zero goal. Similar to other SBS routes, the 86th Street route will feature three-door articulated buses branded with the blue SBS logo, and will feature new destination signs with flashing blue lights.

SBS has increased ridership and improved bus service, speed and reliability along the seven existing corridors, including along 34th Street, 125th First and Second avenues in Manhattan, 125th Street to LaGuardia Airport connecting Manhattan and Queens, Fordham Road and Webster Avenue in the Bronx, Nostrand/Rogers avenues in Brooklyn and Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island. SBS enhancements along the 86th Street line are similarly expected to reduce travel times by up to 20 percent.

In preparation for the M86 SBS, the DOT and the MTA installed three queue jump lanes with red bus lane markings, improved signage and also installed off-board fare payment machines. The approximately $5 million project is being funded through a combination of Federal, State and City funds.

The launch of the City’s latest SBS route is latest step toward Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to reach 20 routes citywide, providing reliable and sustainable transit options as well as better connections to retail and job centers. For more information about DOT and Select Bus Service, please visit nyc.gov/dot.

This should definitely help the busy 86th Street corridor which is always a good thing for everyone involved.

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