Service Diversions 10-26-17

I have just updated the Service Diversions for the weekend through the end of the next week.

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MTA To Introduce New Fare Payment System

Yesterday afternoon, the MTA Board voted to introduce a new fare payment system to replace the Metrocard which they hope to start implementing in someway by mid 2019. Here is more via the press release I received:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) board voted today to approve a contract to phase in a new fare payment system that will incorporate the latest digital technologies and ease travel across all MTA transit and commuter rail systems. The moves help officially mark the formal transition away from the MetroCard, which was first introduced in 1994.  The design-build contract, which improves efficiency and quality by letting a single world-class, private sector vendor both design and build the new system, was awarded to Cubic  Transportation Systems, Inc., which has delivered similar technology for London’s public transit system.

The shift away from the MetroCard and other existing ticketing systems will take place in a series of phases over a period of more than five years, with customers first being able to use contactless open payment options as soon as midway through 2019.

Rather than swiping a MetroCard, MTA users will instead be able to use a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or tap a contactless bank card at turnstiles and on buses across the city. The new system will test payment options for all-door boarding on SBS buses, a critical measure for reducing the time it takes for customers to board and travel.  Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers will also be able to merge their subway, bus and rail tickets into one integrated form of payment as well.

The new account-based system will allow customers a variety of convenient self-service options to manage their account, including via the web and on mobile devices.

An additional critical component of the program will provide benefits to customers who do not have, or want to use, smartphones or contactless bank cards by enabling them to purchase and reload contactless transit cards from new vending machines and through an out-of-system retail network. The new system is expected to have lower maintenance costs than the current systems, and the vendor will be able to adapt to new technologies as they emerge during the course of the contract.

“The move to a truly 21st century method of payment represents a critical step in our overall efforts at modernizing the subway system and improving service for all our customers,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota. “The subway, bus and commuter rail network is the lifeblood of our regional economy and major upgrades like this help make the system more convenient and efficient for the millions of New Yorkers who use it every day.”

By 2019, a total of 500 subway turnstiles and 600 buses are set to receive the necessary technology upgrades. At the same time, customers will still be able to use MetroCard until 2023.  MetroCard will not be retired until the new system is fully tested and operational.

Mike Brown, Commissioner for Transport for London (TfL): “It’s great to hear that New York will be introducing contactless payments, similar to that introduced on the Tube and buses in London, to help its customers travel more conveniently. This system has completely transformed the way people pay for travel for public transport in London, with over a billion journeys already made since it was first introduced in 2012.”

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at Transport for London: “As cities become smarter and more reliant on public transport, technology like this provides customers with a simple and convenient way of paying the right fare at the right time, without the need to purchase a ticket. This contactless ticketing system is helping commuters all around the world and it’s great that New Yorkers will benefit from the technology.”

Matthew Cole, President of Cubic Transportations System: “Today’s vote is a tremendous win for New Yorkers, paving the way for flexible payment options, a streamlined trip through the region’s public transit, and updated equipment that will help save money in operating costs. Together with the MTA, we look forward to building a transportation system of tomorrow.”

Let me congratulate the MTA for being on the cutting edge of fare payment technology (sarcasm exits stage left…..). What can I say, it is about time the agency finally addresses a better way to pay for fares. The Metrocard is not only outdated, it poses too many issues compared to its previous token predecessor.

What I look forward to the most is hopefully the elimination of people selling swipes at turnstiles. I was speaking to one of my best friends the other day & she was telling me how rampant the sales are at her home station. The same culprits tamper with the machines & force one to have to buy a swipe or find another station to board at. How the cops have not been called on them is a mystery to me.

Hopefully when these new payment options become available, these lowlife individuals will have to go out & find a real job instead of trying to earn illegal money off of riders.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North To Perform Rail Testing

Starting on Halloween & ending the next day, the MTA Metro-North Railroad will be performing ultrasonic rail testing between Southeast & Wassaic. Here is more via the press release I received:

MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced that it will perform ultrasonic rail testing on the Upper Harlem Line on Tuesday, October 31, and Wednesday, November 1. Metro-North will put the specialized Sperry Rail car into action on the section of track between Southeast and Wassaic. The railroad uses this high-tech piece of equipment to detect defects and metal fatigue inside the steel rails, inspecting them with ultrasonic and induction test equipment. The Sperry Rail car identifies issues before they become major problems, resulting in a safer, smoother ride and more reliable service.

Elsewhere along the tracks, Metro-North crews will make improvements to the Muddy Brook under-grade bridge north of the Patterson station, as well as cut brush and weld rail joints.

To accommodate Upper Harlem Line maintenance and improvements, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31 and Wednesday, November 1, buses will substitute for trains between Southeast and Wassaic on the Harlem Line.  Buses will operate 20-40 minutes earlier than scheduled trains.

Service details are below:

Southbound

From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., buses will substitute for trains from Wassaic to Southeast, making all scheduled stops at the following stations: Tenmile River, Dover Plains, Harlem Valley-Wingdale, Pawling and Patterson. Bus service will operate 20 – 40 minutes earlier than normally scheduled train times. Buses will connect with regularly scheduled trains at Southeast for continuing service to Grand Central Terminal.

For a detailed bus service schedule, customers may visit:

http://web.mta.info/mnr/pdf/Wassaic_bus_10_20_2017.pdf

Northbound

From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., buses will substitute for trains from Southeast to Wassaic, making all scheduled stops at the following stations: Patterson, Pawling, Harlem Valley-Wingdale, Dover Plains, Tenmile River and Wassaic. Customers should allow for later arrival times.

For a detailed bus service schedule, customers may visit:

http://web.mta.info/mnr/pdf/Wassaic_bus_10_20_2017.pdf

xoxo Transit Blogger

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NYC Transit To Add 180 New Buses

MTA NYC Transit has announced that will be adding 180 new state of the art buses to its current fleet. Here is more via the press release I received:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board voted today to purchase 180 state-of-the-art articulated buses equipped with pedestrian safety technology and modern customer amenities to increase the capacity of New York City Transit’s bus fleet as the agency works to improve bus service citywide and prepares for enhancing service during the Canarsie  Tunnel repairs.

The MTA Board voted to award two contracts totaling $150 million to New Flyer and Nova Bus for the wheelchair-accessible, low-floor, 60-foot articulated buses that will feature visibility improvements for bus operators and safety technology such as pedestrian turn warning systems. These buses will also be equipped with technology to allow NYC Transit’s in-house crews to quickly install traffic signal priority (TSP) equipment once the buses are delivered, as part of NYC Transit’s goal to equip the entire bus fleet with the speed-enhancing technology.

“The MTA is moving aggressively to update our fleet with reliable new buses that have the latest state-of-the-art technology,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said.  “Whether it’s traffic signal priority, contactless payments, or conveniences like digital information screens and USB charging, these fully accessible buses are ready for the future.”

Customer amenities include digital information screens, Wi-Fi capability and USB charging ports, which are consistent with other new MTA buses. The buses are expected to be delivered from September 2018 to September 2019, replacing older 40- and 60-foot buses that have reached the end of their 12-year life-cycles.

Articulated buses, which are longer than regular 40-foot buses, have an accordion feature and can increase capacity on high-volume routes, helping to meet peak-service demand and reduce overcrowding without adding more buses on high-traffic city streets. Articulated buses also help reduce overall fleet operational costs by reducing the total number of miles driven by regular 40-foot buses and related maintenance costs for fewer buses.

New Flyer will provide 108 buses for a total of $90.1 million, and Nova Bus will provide 72 buses at a cost of $60 million. The split contract allowed MTA New York City Transit to negotiate more competitive pricing for the buses and allowed both companies to deliver the buses at a faster rate rather than a single firm providing all 180 buses.

The expedited delivery schedule is vital to NYC Transit’s alternative service plans during the Canarsie Tunnel repairs, which are scheduled for 15 months beginning April 2019. Transit’s mitigation plans, which are in development with local communities and NYC DOT which is responsible for the building of dedicated bus lanes and other street enhancements necessary for faster bus service, will include robust bus service for  line customers traveling between Manhattan and Brooklyn with options for customers traveling to the Lower East Side or 14th Street.

New buses are part of the MTA’s initiative to revitalize bus operations, with plans for adding a total of 2,042 state-of-the-art new buses over five years. The new buses replace nearly 40 percent of the MTA’s current fleet and represent a $1.5 billion investment of Capital Program resources. The new buses included in the plan are already in service in all five boroughs, with new vehicles delivered continuously since 2016.

I am always excited to hear when new equipment is being added. Hopefully they are quality products that will provide many years of quality service for the agency & its riders.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North Port Jervis Line Work Scheduled

Just a short time ago, the MTA Metro-North Railroad announced the scheduling of track work on the Port Jervis line this weekend which includes switch installation & repaving. Due to the work, the agency will be providing substitute bus service between Harriman & Port Jervis. Here is more via the press release I received:

MTA Metro-North Railroad track maintenance crews will install a new switch between Campbell Hall and Middletown this coming weekend, Oct. 27-29, and will resurface track on the Port Jervis Line to provide a safer, smoother ride. As a result of the work, buses will substitute for trains between Harriman and Port Jervis from late Friday evening, October 27, until Sunday evening, October 29.

Buses will follow train schedules, substituting for the following trains:

Westbound from Harriman to Port Jervis:

Friday, October 27:   

  • Buses will substitute for the 11:30 p.m. and 2:09 a.m. trains from Harriman, making all scheduled stops to Port Jervis.

Saturday, October 28:  

  • Buses will substitute for all trains between Harriman and Port Jervis. Buses will follow train schedules.

Sunday, October 29:  

  • Buses will substitute for the 10:28 a.m., 12:28 p.m., 2:44 p.m., 5:11 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. trains from Harriman. Train service resumes with the 10:55 p.m. train from Harriman to Port Jervis.

Eastbound from Port Jervis to Harriman:

Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29:

Buses will substitute for the 4:45 a.m., 7:24 a.m., 8:44 a.m., 10:44 a.m., 3:05 p.m. and 5:27 p.m. trains from Port Jervis, making all scheduled stops to Harriman. Customers will connect at Harriman with train service to Hoboken. Customers traveling from Salisbury Mills will board buses to Ramsey-Rt. 17, where they can connect with train service to Hoboken. Regular service will resume with the first scheduled train on Monday, October 30.

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