Minor Metro North Schedule Changes

On April 26th, the MTA Metro-North Railroad will undergo some minor schedule changes. Here are the official details:

Metro-North Railroad’s new train schedules effective Sunday, April 26, improve reliability and put more trains in service, making travel more convenient for customers. The schedules also will temporarily lengthen weekend travel times by up to five minutes to provide the appropriate track
outages necessary to perform critical track maintenance work and capital construction projects.

Harlem Line:

On weekends, Metro-North is adding a new train from Grand Central to Southeast, and is extending five trains that currently begin or end their runs at Mount Kisco, meaning more trains stopping at more stations.

The new train will depart Grand Central at 1:22 p.m. and make select stops between Scarsdale and Southeast. The 2:22 p.m. and 3:22 p.m. trains from Grand Central will be extended to Southeast, stopping at Bedford Hills, Katonah, Goldens Bridge, Purdy’s, Croton Falls and Brewster. The southbound trains that originate at Mount Kisco at 4:02 p.m., 5:02 p.m. and 6:02 p.m. will instead originate at Southeast, increasing service availability to those stations as well.

On weekdays, to reduce crowding on the 6:51 a.m. train from Southeast, the train will instead originate at Goldens Bridge. Approximately 220 customers who normally board at Southeast, Brewster, Croton Falls or Purdy’s will be able to take the 7:01 a.m. train from Southeast, which makes fewer stops and arrives at Grand Central Terminal just two minutes after the 6:51 a.m. train. To avoid the potential for overcrowding on the 7:01 a.m. train, it will no longer stop at White Plains. And to reduce the potential for congestion in this time period, the 6:00 a.m. from Wassaic will depart eleven minutes earlier, at 5:49 a.m.

New Haven Line:

To better serve more Danbury Branch customers, a direct train to Danbury will depart from Grand Central at 8:01 p.m. This train will replace a Danbury-bound shuttle train that had originated at South Norwalk at 9:18 p.m. To allow for equipment to be in place for this new train, the 4:29 p.m. Danbury-bound departure from Grand Central, will be replaced by a Danbury-bound train originating in Stamford at 5:18 p.m. (with connecting service from Grand Central). Ridership studies found that only 9% of the riders of the 4:29 p.m. train who boarded at Grand Central were using it for travel to Danbury Branch stations.

The new 8:01 p.m. train from Grand Central to Danbury will take the place of the current 8:03 p.m. train to New Haven. As a result, the existing 8:06 p.m. train to New Haven will make additional stops at Stamford, East Norwalk, Green’s Farms, and Southport, and will depart one minute later.

On the Waterbury Branch, two major construction projects will impact train service between April and October.

• From April 25 through May 3, track work will be performed on the single-track Waterbury Branch. Substitute bus service will be provided at all times during this nine day outage. Bus schedules will be communicated to customers via special seat notices and other customer communications methods.

• From May 4 through early October, a steel repair project on the Devon Movable Bridge will prevent Waterbury Branch trains from accessing the main line between the junction point and Bridgeport station, where connections are normally made between main line and Waterbury Branch trains. During this time a temporary platform will permit transfers between Waterbury Branch and main line trains at a temporary station known as “Devon Transfer,” located where the Waterbury Branch track connects with the main line west of Milford.

Hudson Line:

In response to customer requests, the weekday 7:39 a.m. train from Irvington will begin stopping at Greystone, at 7:50 a.m.

The weeknight 10:55 p.m. semi-express from Croton-Harmon will be combined with the 11:00 p.m. local from Croton-Harmon. Counter to a general ridership increase, ridership at this time of night in this direction has declined, and this change will allow the railroad to better position its
trains to improve reliability at busier times.

The train that currently departs Poughkeepsie at 8:59 a.m. on weekdays will now depart at 9:15 a.m. This train will also add stops at Ossining and Tarrytown, similar to other off-peak Poughkeepsie trains.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Subway Clerk Saves Stabbing Victim

Richard Singleton will be waking up to his new role as a hero today after the 18 year MTA veteran saved a 30 year old man who had been stabbed at the 28th Street 6 Train Station. Pete Donohue & Caitlin Nolan of the New York Daily News has more:

Clerk Richard Singleton rushed out of his booth and stopped a 27-year-old man from slashing a 30-year-old man Sunday morning in a Manhattan subway station, officials said.

“I grabbed his arm and held his wrist and the knife fell to the floor,” Singleton said of the 27-year-old suspect, Donald Cheatham. “I got on top of him and held him until the police showed up.”

The men were arguing in front of a token booth at the 6 train subway station at 28th St. and Park Ave. South about 8:15 a.m. when one of the men took out a knife and attacked the other, police said.

Singleton, a transit worker for 18 years, had just arrived to take over from another clerk who said two men were arguing on the platform. The dispute started when one man accused the other of stealing his phone, Singleton said.

The two exited through the turnstiles and continued arguing.

“They were arguing and it escalated into a physical altercation and one of them pulled out a knife and started stabbing in front of the booth,” said Singleton, of the Bronx.

The victim, whose name wasn’t released, was cut in the head and neck.

“The only thing I thought was, ‘Am I in a position to save this person’s life?’” Singleton recalled. “Everything else happened so fast but I knew I couldn’t let someone get stabbed to death in front of me.”

Transport Workers Union Local 100 Vice President of Stations Maurice Jenkins praised Singleton.

Jenkins said the attack proves that station clerks are necessary because cameras can’t stop crime.

“Technology can enhance the experience but never replace people in the system,” he said. “This man is a hero.”

Click here for the complete story.

A big round of applause to Richard Singleton for doing the right thing & stepping up to help someone in need. Many say New Yorkers are a rough bunch but when push comes to shove, I know we have a lot of good people who would do the right thing.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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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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