No Plan To Help MTA $15B Gap

Fare hikes went into effect less then 24 hours ago & riders are once again bemoaning the agency. However the big elephant in the room is how no plan seems to be in the cards to help solve the $15 billion gap in the MTA’s Capital Program.

Sadly it comes to no surprise that help from Albany seems as likely as Jets fans becoming best friends with Bill Belichick. Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News has more:

Subway riders right now should be feeling like diehard Mets fans in July. The best you can say is “wait till next year.”

Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature are deep into budget negotiations for the state’s fiscal year starting April 1. But no one in Albany is advancing a specific plan to close the $15 billion gap in the MTA’s capital program.

“I don’t think I’ve heard anyone bring it up, either publicly or privately,” one veteran reporter who covers state government said Friday.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Tom Prendergast has testified before some Senate and Assembly budget committees. But the focus shifts elsewhere before Prendergast is even back on the Thruway driving south.

“I haven’t heard of it as a front-burner issue,” another scribe stationed in Albany said.

Click here for the complete report.

The last line in the above article snippet says it all when it comes to how important the MTA & its riding public is to officials. While riders are somewhat right in bemoaning yet another fare hike (the 5th within the last 8 years), the real enemy in our elected officials continue to get a free pass on their role in the problem.

Now this is not to say that the MTA is 100% free of blame here as they are not. The much maligned agency does deserve to be knocked for their faults such as overpaying for projects that cost nowhere near as much anywhere in the world, the barrage of project delays & more.

However some of the blame as to go to the riders as well who go out of their way to bash the agency yet are nowhere to be found when it comes to holding our elected officials feet to the fire. It sure does not help when a lot of our local media routinely points at the MTA as the only one responsible when a small minority of us know otherwise.

When all is said & done, we the riders need to get our voices heard through officials who not only care but truly understand how proper transit funding is one of the 3 most important things for our region’s economy. Until this happens, we will continue to see fares rise with nowhere near enough to show for it.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Service Diversions 03-20-15

Get an early 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!

Have a great weekend!

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MTA Unveils New MetroCard Calculator

Yesterday afternoon, the MTA unveiled a new MetroCard Calculator. Here are the details:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today launched a new MetroCard Calculator, a handy tool that will assist customers with planning a new card purchase or refilling a full fare Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard. The MetroCard Calculator is available at www.mta.info or by going directly to www.mta.info/nyct/MetroCardCalculator.

When a customer enters a dollar amount for the purchase of a new MetroCard, or the dollar amount of a planned refill, the calculator determines:

• Value added with the 11% bonus on purchases of $5.50 or more (beginning March 22);

• The number of rides the customer gets for the money and;.

• Any remaining balance on the MetroCard.

For refills, the customer can also enter the remaining balance on the card which they can get from swiping their MetroCard at a MetroCard reader located in subway stations.

The calculator will also offer suggestions for new card purchases and refill amounts that will end in zero balances. In addition, the calculator will offer suggestions on the type of MetroCard that offers the best value based on the dollar amount entered. For example, for a new card purchase of $32 ($31 value less $1 new card fee), the calculator will suggest the customer consider a 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard if the customer rides the subway or local bus 13 or more times in a 7-day period.

Customers will also have the option of applying for the EasyPayXpress MetroCard in order to enjoy the benefits of a MetroCard that never runs out of rides. The EasyPayXpress MetroCard is linked to the customer’s credit or debit card, and refills automatically. With EasyPay there’s no more waiting in line to buy or refill a MetroCard.

New Fares and Tolls are in effect Sunday, March 22, 2015 for MTA New York City Transit buses and subways, MTA Bus, the MTA Staten Island Railway, MTA Long Island Rail Road, MTA Metro-North Railroad, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels. For the purchase of new, full fare Pay-Per-Ride MetroCards, MetroCard Vending Machines will be reprogrammed with common denominations of $10 ($9 card value + $1 new card fee), $20 ($19 card value+ $1 new card fee), $40 ($39 card value+ $1 new card fee), as well as $28.25 ($27.25 card value+ $1 new card fee) that provides 11 rides and a zero balance.

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NYC Transit St. Patrick’s Day Service Info

Here is the NYC Transit service plan info for St. Patrick’s Day 2015:

New York City subways and buses will operate on a normal weekday schedule, with parade-related service changes as noted below.

New York City Subway:

The 77th Street station on the 6 line, near the parade’s end point at 79th Street and Fifth Avenue, will be the most affected station. The NYPD may designate some staircases at the station as entry/exit only on both the uptown and downtown platforms for crowd control.

New York City Buses:

The following New York City Transit and MTA Bus Company routes will be subject to detour in the area along the parade route: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M31, M50, M57, M66, M72, M79, X1, X10, X17, BxM2, BxM3, BxM4, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, BxM10, BxM11 and Q32.

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LIRR St. Patrick’s Day Service Info

The Long Island Rail Road will be providing special service for St. Patrick’s Day 2015. Here are the details:

MTA Long Island Rail Road has scheduled 16 extra trains – six westbound morning trains and 10 eastbound afternoon trains to accommodate thousands of LIRR customers who will be traveling to and from the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan on Monday, March 17. The additional trains will supplement the LIRR’s regular weekday schedule.

No Alcoholic Beverages Allowed:

In an effort to maintain orderly travel for customers, alcoholic beverages will not be permitted on trains, platforms or at stations from 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 17 through 5:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 18. Any alcoholic beverages found by MTA Police on trains, stations and platforms will be confiscated by MTA Police.

Buy Your Tickets Before Boarding the Train:

LIRR customers can buy round trip tickets including MetroCards for connecting subway and bus service in advance in order to save time and avoid lines at LIRR ticket windows and ticket machines and New York City Transit MetroCard windows and ticket machines. Customers purchasing tickets onboard the train will be charged the higher step-up price.

The following trains are being added to the regular weekday schedule:

6 Extra AM Westbound Trains to Penn Station

Babylon Branch:

8:41 a.m. Freeport train, making all stops through Lynbrook, Jamaica and New York.

9:23 a.m. train from Wantagh making all stops through Rockville Centre, then stopping at Jamaica and New York

9:48 a.m. train from Wantagh making all stops through Rockville Centre, then stopping at Jamaica and New York.

Port Jefferson Branch:

9 a.m. train from Hicksville, stopping at Westbury, Mineola, Merillon Ave, New Hyde Park, Jamaica, and New York.

10:15 a.m. from Huntington, stopping at Hicksville, Jamaica, and Penn Station

Ronkonkoma Branch:

9:27 a.m. from Farmingdale, stopping at Bethpage, Hicksville, Mineola, Jamaica, and Penn Station

10 Extra PM Eastbound Trains from Penn Station

Ronkonkoma Brach:

1:46 p.m. stopping at Woodside, Jamaica, Mineola, Hicksville and all stops to Ronkonkoma.

Babylon Branch:

2:22 running express to Rockville Centre, the making all stops to Babylon

2:32 p.m. running express to Lynbrook, then making all stops to Babylon.

3:00 p.m. train to Babylon making stops at Jamaica, Rockville Centre and all local stops to Babylon.

3:31 p.m. running express to Rockville Centre, then making all local stops to Babylon.

Port Jefferson Branch:

2:08 p.m. train to Huntington stopping at Jamaica, Mineola, Carle Place and making all stops to Huntington.

2:29 p.m. train to Huntington, stopping at Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, and making all stop to Huntington.

3:24 p.m. train to Hicksville stopping at Jamaica, Mineola, Westbury and Hicksville.

Port Washington Branch:

3:40 p.m. train to Great Neck, stopping at Woodside, Flushing Main Street and making all stops to Great Neck.

Far Rockaway Branch:

3:48 p.m. train to Far Rockaway stopping at Locust Manor and making all stops to Far Rockaway

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