LIRR To Streamline Ticket Procedures

The MTA Long Island Railroad has announced that it is streamlining its ticket procedures. Here are the complete details via press release:

The Long Island Rail Road wants customers to know that a number of changes to little-used ticketing procedures that have faded in popularity are taking effect at the beginning of October. Most of the changes were previously announced when they were approved by the MTA Board in July.

WebTicket, which allowed LIRR customers to order tickets online and have them delivered by mail within 7 business days, will no longer be available beginning Thursday, October 1. The popularity of WebTicket has declined significantly, representing only 0.1% of the LIRR’s ticket sales. Monthly ticket buyers are encouraged to sign up for Mail&Ride, the LIRR’s convenient ticket-by-mail subscription service. Other customers are advised to allow time to buy tickets at easy-to-use LIRR ticket machines and staffed ticket windows, where available.

Monthly Tickets: Validity will now start at 12 midnight on the first day of the month, rather than at 8 p.m. on the last day of the prior month. (This does not affect the first business day of the month courtesy, which allows monthly ticket holders to surrender the previous month’s ticket on a morning rush hour train, then buy their new monthly ticket at their destination before the commute home. This practice will remain in effect.)

Weekly Tickets: Validity will now start at 12 midnight on Saturday mornings, rather than at 8 p.m., on Fridays.

One-Way Tickets, which are valid for 60 days from date of purchase, will now expire at 11:59 p.m. on the 60th day. (Previously, they expired at 4 a.m. on the 61st day.)

Stop-Overs at intermediate stations are no longer permitted with one-way or round-trip tickets starting October 1, 2015. This seldom-used option had allowed customers who purchased one-way or round-trip tickets to exit the train at an intermediate stop, and re-board later in the day using a single ticket.

Going forward, customers should purchase separate tickets for each leg of their trip. To save money, buy before boarding at a ticket machine or staffed LIRR Ticket Window, since tickets bought onboard the train cost up to $6.50 more than the station price. Monthly and weekly ticketholders are not affected by this change.

What this should be called in most instances is the LIRR finding ways to give less for more to its customers which comes as no surprise to myself or any LIRR regulars who know how they operate.

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Bus Time To Launch Arrival Times Citywide

Earlier today, MTA NYC Transit announced that starting October 4th, its Bus Time feature will introduce the feature of arrival time estimates citywide. Here is more via the official press release:

Starting Sunday, October 4, MTA New York City Transit’s popular MTA Bus Time™ service will offer a new feature that provides time-based bus arrival estimates in addition to distance-based information at any given stop citywide, allowing customers to see when their bus will arrive and to help them plan their trips more efficiently.

MTA Bus Time™, New York City Transit’s live bus tracking service, is available as a desktop service on the MTA website and as a free downloadable app for iOS and Android smartphones that was launched in June. As part of that launch, the MTA significantly improved the service by offering user-friendly features such as a map-based street grid view that shows buses moving in real time, automatic displays of nearby bus routes, and time-based arrival estimates that were available to Bronx bus routes only.

The citywide rollout of the time-based bus arrival estimates feature comes after four months of positive feedback from customers who had been using it for Bronx routes. The MTA had designed the time-based estimates feature in house, with the goal of offering the data to bus routes system-wide. The real-time data also will be made available to third-party developers.

“It’s like having a countdown clock for your bus in your pocket. We’re excited to expand the time-based predictions on MTA Bus Time to all the remaining boroughs of the city,” said Darryl Irick, President of MTA Bus and Senior Vice President, NYC Transit Department of Buses. “This feature was available to Bronx-based customers for the last four months and we received lots of positive feedback and requests for expansion, and we are happy to oblige.”

The new feature allows customers to make better informed decisions about their travel times and itineraries by giving them a time-based estimate of a bus’s arrival at a queried stop. Previously, MTA Bus Time™ users tracked buses based on distance between a queried bus and the customer’s current location, either as a number of stops away or a distance in miles. Time-based estimates take into consideration multiple factors that can affect the arrival time of a bus, such as its schedule, historical travel times over the same distance in the month prior, and current traffic conditions. If those conditions change, MTA Bus Time™ automatically updates the prediction.

The MTA Bus Time™ service uses location data provided by an enhanced global positioning device mounted inside each bus. That information is transmitted wirelessly to a MTA Bus Time™ server using onboard cellular equipment. The server integrates bus location data with bus route info, schedules and map files to output the information received by bus customers.

This should be a very nice addition to an app that serves its customers pretty well from all accounts I have received.

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Rail Conditions Impact A, B, C & D Lines

MTA NYC Transit has just announced that service on the A Train, B Train, C Train & D Train will be impacted for the evening rush due to rail conditions at 72nd & 125th Streets. Here are the complete details:

As a result of broken rails south of 125 St and at 72 St on the southbound express track, the following service changes will be in effect until repairs are completed:

• B trains are only running between Brighton Beach and Whitehall St-South Ferry. B trains will run on the R Line between DeKalb Av and Whitehall St-South Ferry in both directions.

• Queens-bound A trains are running local from 145 St to 59 St-Columbus Circle.

• D trains are running local between Norwood-205 St and 59 St-Columbus Circle in both directions.

• ACBD trains are running with delays in both directions. Customers should allow for extra travel time.

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Service Diversions 09-18-15

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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LIRR Anticipates Cancellations & Delays 09-15-15

The Long Island Railroad anticipates cancellations & delays during the upcoming PM rush due to the freight train derailment earlier this afternoon near Hicksville. Here is what they just had to say:

Because of a freight train that derailed west of Hicksville Station this afternoon, the Long Island Rail Road is advising customers to anticipate delays and cancelations during today’s P.M. rush hour.

The derailed train cars are blocking one of the two tracks that are shared by trains of the Ronkonkoma Branch and Port Jefferson Branch. As a result, the LIRR will be able to operate trains over only one of its usual two tracks between Westbury and Hicksville. Other branches will be impacted as well, as the railroad works systemwide to readjust its equipment and available train slots within the new operating constraints.

All westbound service from Port Jefferson, Huntington and Ronkonkoma to Jamaica will be canceled between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and the railroad is canceling about one third of normal eastbound rush hour service. Some eastbound trains will bypass Carle Place and Westbury. Customers for those two stations who are on a train that bypasses them will be able to catch a bus at Hicksville for service to the stations.

After 8 p.m., the LIRR will continue to operate with reduced service throughout the evening and overnight hours as crews work to re-rail the derailed train and repair hundreds of feet of damaged rails.

Customers traveling during the rush hour and overnight tonight should pay attention to the news media for the latest updates, monitor Service Status on the MTA’s website, subscribe to email and text alerts, follow @LIRR on Twitter, and listen for announcements at stations.

At approximately 1:10 p.m., two cars of a westbound 16-car freight train carrying construction debris and operated by New York & Atlantic Railway derailed west of the LIRR’s Hicksville Station. There were no injuries as a result of the derailment, and no hazardous materials were being transported. Crews are working to re-rail the derailed cars, a process that involves a crane and could take several hours. They will then inspect the rails and repair any damage.

The LIRR had suspended train service on those two branches for about 40 minutes after the incident, but was able to restore limited service after inspecting the tracks to ensure that one of the two tracks remains usable.

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