Almost 10 days ago, I posted an entry with plans by the MTA Metro-North Railroad to provide expanded bus service for Port Jervis line customers who lost service due to the catastrophic damage from Hurricane Irene.
Late Friday afternoon, the agency announced it will now be providing bus service from all stations along the Port Jervis line. Here are complete details courtesy of the press release I received:
MTA Metro-North Railroad will provide bus service instead of train service for the entire Port Jervis Line with the introduction of bus service at the Otisville and Campbell Hall stations on Monday, September 12.
The bus program will remain in effect, seven days a week, for several months until the line, damaged by flooding during Hurricane Irene, can be repaired.
Otisville and Campbell Hall customers will be taken to the Beacon Station for Hudson Line train service to Grand Central Terminal. For all available service alternatives and Port Jervis Line updates, see mta.info.
“In the two weeks since flooding crippled 14 miles of the Port Jervis Line, Metro-North has worked to provide buses to transport the 2,300 people who depend on the railroad each weekday. They will be taken to nearby stations in New Jersey and across the Hudson River in a complex and evolving plan to provide alternative public transportation,” said Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut. “It is the most extensive and complex busing program ever implemented by the railroad.”
“The full resources of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have been harnessed to help the Port Jervis Line recover. We are grateful to the MTA Bus Company, which has sent 40 buses from New York City to Orange County for this effort,” Permut added.
“Our service partner, NJTRANSIT, has been very helpful in accommodating the influx of our customers at its Ramsey/Route17 Station, including bus staging there,” Permut said. “Similarly, Leprechaun Lines of New Windsor pitched in and provided the first buses from Harriman just two days after the storm and continues to supply 15 buses each day.”
The effort has been extensive and complicated. Many local roads also were damaged by flooding and have just been reopened. Bus routes had to be mapped and test runs made from each station to either Ramsey/Route 17 or Beacon so that travel times could be compared. MTA Bus drivers had to familiarize themselves with Orange County roads. Metro-North planners had to develop bus schedules that take into account local traffic so that buses will meet train departures. Signs had to be posted at stations and Customer Service personnel mobilized in the field.
Some West of Hudson customers are being bused to the Hudson Line primarily to avoid confusion at the Ramsey/Route 17 Station in the afternoon when so many buses are lined up, each with a different Orange County destination. Also, there is better road access at Beacon. And ultimately the travel time is essentially the same via Beacon or Ramsey/Route17 to either midtown or downtown.
Otisville and Campbell Hall customers who wish to go to Hoboken or Penn Station can drive to the Salisbury Mills station, where there is ample parking and buses are going to the Ramsey/Route 17 station.
In addition, Metro-North has added about 80 parking spaces at Harriman by striping an unused, but paved area at the north end of the existing facility. All West-of-Hudson parking permits will be good at the Harriman Station, where buses will take customer to and from the Ramsey/Route17 Station.
Previously, Metro-North has provided shuttle buses during off-peak track or during temporary service disruptions. The current bus operation from all eight Port Jervis Line stations will be in operation seven days a week. Each scheduled train has a corresponding bus departure.
In addition, customers can use Port Jervis Line commutation tickets on the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry or the Newburgh-Beacon Shuttle Bus and on the Hudson Line.
Customers from stations from Port Jervis through Salisbury Mills with a valid LAZ parking permit can park at any West of Hudson station as well as at Beacon or Cortlandt stations on the Hudson Line. A permit does not guarantee a space.
To receive updates on the Port Jervis Line, customers should sign up for email alerts and call the Customer Information Center at 212-532-4900.
Meanwhile, AECOM of New York City is in the process of a conditions analysis of track and structures along 14 of the hardest hit miles of the right-of-way. A hydrology study also is being conducted. A sub-consultant, Systra of New York City, is assessing all railroad communications and signal systems, and M.G. McLaren of West Nyack, another sub-consultant, is assessing damage to the 16 rail bridges in the affected area. AECOM was granted an emergency contract not-to exceed $500,000.
xoxo Transit Blogger