LIRR To Restore Service To Belmont Park

Most of the media coverage about the potential “doomsday scenario” service cuts focused on bus routes & the NYC Subway itself. However for horse racing fans, their attention was on the loss of LIRR service to Belmont Park. I am a member at a horse racing forum which featured a big thread about this issue. Most were upset at what seemed to be the permanent loss of service. However with Albany passing a funding package, the MTA has now announced that they will restore the service to Belmont Park. Here are the complete details from the press release they sent me earlier today:

MTA Long Island Rail Road service to Belmont Park for the spring racing season is expected to be restored starting May 28, pending MTA Board approval on May 27. Current fares to Belmont will remain in effect through June 16. On June 17, new fares will go into effect. The LIRR’s “Belmont Special” package ticket includes rail transportation, and a $1 discount off the regular $2 grandstand admission to the track. The track is closed for racing on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exception of Monday, May 25, Memorial Day.

The LIRR will provide extra train service for the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 6. On the day of the big race the LIRR will operate 18 trains to Belmont, most direct from Penn Station beginning at 9:59 AM. There will also be frequent westbound service back to Jamaica and Penn Station starting at 4:06 PM and continuing until 9:00 PM. Further details will be provided in a future news release.

“We’re delighted to be able to restore this service,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “The LIRR has provided train service to Belmont since 1905. On Stakes Day and during the season, the LIRR is the best way to get to this beautiful park to enjoy thoroughbred horse racing.”

“The anticipated restoration of Belmont Park service is tremendous news for all racing fans,” said New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini. “Governor David Paterson delivered on behalf of all transit riders by driving more funding to the MTA when it really mattered. Having the LIRR service restored will be a boost for the Belmont meet at a time when enthusiasm is perking up across the nation
for what I expect will be a very exciting Belmont Stakes.”

“This is great news for the many people who rely on the LIRR to get to Belmont Park,” said Hal Handel, executive vice president and chief operating officer for The New York Racing Association, Inc. “We would like to thank the MTA for recognizing the historical significance of the ‘Belmont Special’ and its importance to New York racing fans.”

Fares from New York, Brooklyn and Woodside:

NY, Brooklyn,Woodside: Purchased at Station – One Way – $6.00 (through June 16)/ $7.00 (starting June 17) Round-trip- $11.00 (through June 16)/ $12.00 (starting June 17)

Purchased On-Board Train – One Way – $10 (through June 16)/ $13 (starting June 17) Round-trip – Not available

Jamaica: Purchased at Station – One Way – $5.00 (through June 16)/ $6.00 (starting June 17) Round-trip- $8.00 (through June 16)/ $9.00 (starting June 17)

Purchased On-Board Train – One Way – $9.00 (through June 16)/ $11 (starting June 17) Round-trip- Not available

Round-trip fares from Long Island with transfer at Jamaica:

Zone 3 (Rosedale, St. Albans, Queens Village, Hollis) – $8.00 (through June 16th) – $9.00 (starting June 17th)

Zone 4 (Far Rockaway, Lynbrook, Hempstead, Mineola) – $9.75 (through June 16th) – $11 (starting June 17th)

Zone 7 (Long Beach, Massapequa, Hicksville, Oyster Bay) – $11.50 (through June 16th) – $13 (starting June 17th)

Zone 9 (Babylon, Deer Park, Huntington, Northport) – $14.50 (through June 16th) – $16 (starting June 17th)

Zone 10 (Bay Shore, Sayville, Ronkonkoma, Patchogue, Port Jefferson) – $17.75 (through June 16th) – $20 (starting June 17th)

Tickets for the “Belmont Special” can be purchased at LIRR stations in advance or on the day of the trip — this ticket will not be sold on the train. The special package ticket to Belmont is not available for travel from stations on the Port Washington Branch.

Weekly and monthly ticket holders can use their tickets for travel to Jamaica and need only purchase a $8.00 round-trip package ticket (through June 16), $9.00 as of June 17 at an LIRR station prior to boarding the Belmont Special to cover the fare between Belmont Park and Jamaica. Round-trip tickets are not sold on-board trains. One-way tickets for travel between Jamaica and Belmont, sold on trains to use in conjunction with a monthly or weekly ticket, are $9.00 (through June 16), $11 as of June 17. A one-way ticket from Jamaica to Belmont, purchased at an LIRR station to use in conjunction with a monthly or weekly ticket, is $5.00 (through June 16), $6.00 as of June 17.

Belmont Package tickets are also available at LIRR Touch Screen ticket machines at stations – just press the “Getaways/Packages” button on the first screen; then select “Belmont Park.” Payment can be made with cash, ATM/Debit or Credit Cards. The ticket office at Belmont is closed and there are no ticket machines at Belmont.

To avoid higher on-board fares and save time, customers should purchase round-trip tickets in advance. (Please note: CityTicket is not valid for travel to or from Belmont Park.)

xoxo Transit Blogger

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The Belmont Park trains are “special trains” like charter trains. The MTA could set any fare it wanted to set. Why didn’t MTA merely charge a fare that paid for the cost of running the trains? Maybe the question is too easy.

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