LIRR Extends Ticket Refund Period

In the midst of the 4th Nor’easter in 3 weeks for local residents, a little known transit story did not get much attention. The full MTA board voted to approve a plan that the LIRR Committee had greenlighted on Monday which would extend the refund period for unused tickets. Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday has more:

The Long Island Rail Road on Wednesday extended its ticket-refund policy by two years, allowing customers a lot more time to get back money for never-taken trips.

LIRR tickets previously had been refundable only up to six months after their purchase, depending on the type of ticket.

The full Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted to approve the refund plan Wednesday at its Manhattan meeting. On Monday, the MTA’s LIRR Committee had greenlit the proposal.

The change reflects an amendment made in December to the state’s Public Authorities Law, giving “any person who purchases a fare the ability to transfer any remaining balance for two years after such fare is deemed expired.”

Because the LIRR lacks the ability to transfer value from one ticket to another — unlike with a MetroCard — the railroad is seeking to comply with the law in extending the period in which customers can obtain refunds for unused tickets.

Click here for the complete report.

I am glad the agency voted to extend the period as it should have never been changed in the first place. However I wish they would do away with the bogus $10 processing fee for refunds even if the ticket costs under $10. They rip us off enough already as it is!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Man Hit By Train In Lower East Side

The subway tunnels continue to be a place of misfortune as a man was hit by a Queens-bound F Train in the Lower East Side. Aliza Chasan of Pix 11 has more:

A 31-year-old man was struck by a northbound F train on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

He was hit in a tunnel near East Broadway and Canal Street around noon, an NYPD spokeswoman said. It was not immediately clear what he was doing there.

The man suffered a laceration to the head and is not likely to die, police officials said.

F train service ran along the A line for about an hour while emergency officials transported the man to the hospital and investigated the scene. Service resumed around 1 p.m.

No additional identifying information is available for the victim.

First & foremost I am glad that the injury suffered was not fatal. However with that, I do question what was the man doing inside the tunnel. Was he a homeless man? I am assuming not as no mention was made of it. Perhaps it was someone doing urban exploration which is quite popular in the NYC Subway in places passengers should not be.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Gov. Candidate Cynthia Nixon Slams Cuomo

Sex & The City star Cynthia Nixon just announced she was running for (aka wasting her time) Governor of New York. One of her biggest platforms versus incumbent Andrew Cuomo is his lack of success in getting the MTA up to the standard that they should be.

So one can only begin to laugh that on her first day as an official candidate, the MTA was the reason why she was late to her first campaign event. Here is more via Jillian Jorgensen & Kenneth Lovett of the New York Daily News:

On her first full day as a candidate for governor, the subway system made Cynthia Nixon’s point for her.

The “Sex & the City” star was held up on her way to her very first event in Brownsville due to subway delays — a problem she lay at the feet of Gov. Cuomo.

“I got here just in the nick of time. I allowed an hour and a half for what should have been a 30 minute ride,” Nixon told the crowd. “Cuomo’s MTA.”

Nixon’s delayed commute had been well-documented by her team on Twitter — including in a post that showed her shrugging her arms in the universal gesture of straphanger frustration.

“That thing when you’re headed to talk about fixing the subways and your train goes out of service. #CuomosMTA,” tweeted Rebecca Katz, a consultant working on Nixon’s bid.

Click here for the complete report.

I have to laugh that one of her biggest rallying points is the need for an improved MTA & it was the reason why she was late for her first campaign event. Maybe it was a sign or perhaps just the reality that someone who lives in Manhattan & has the money she has could not possibly relate to. By time the primary is done, we won’t have to hear about her anymore as she will be soundly defeated.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Worker Falls To His Death

St. Clair Richards Stephens (Facebook)

Never does a time exist where it is easy to report sad news. Unfortunately a young MTA worker fell to his death this morning in a subway tunnel near the 125th Street stop on the 4 Train 5 Train 6 Train. Here is more via the New York Daily News:

A hulking MTA track worker fell to his death on the tracks of an East Harlem subway station when a protective wooden railing broke early Tuesday, authorities said.

St. Clair Richards Stephens, 23, was only on the job for six months when co-workers heard a scream — and then saw their mortally wounded colleague lying flat on the ground, authorities said.

The weeping father of the 6-foot-3, 270-pound worker fretted that his son’s massive size played a part in the shocking subterranean death.

“He should’ve took care of himself,” said his namesake dad St. Clair Richards Stephens. “I told him always has to be aware. That’s why I wanted him fit, and not too overweight.

The father, with tears streaming down his face, said he hadn’t spoken with his oldest child for a year in a dispute over the younger man’s girlfriend.

“Maybe if I had talked to him more, kept talking to him, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” said the distraught dad, who still shared his home with the victim.

“I was thinking if I would have told him before he left this morning, ‘Be careful’ … I can’t believe this. I really can’t.”

Click here for the complete report.

My deepest condolences go out to the family & friends of St. Clair Stephens Richards for this horrible accident that led to the loss of an innocent man. No words will bring him back but hopefully they can one day find peace from this unfortunate tragedy.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Launches Bus Dashboard

In a continued effort to better reach customers, earlier today the MTA announced a new bus dashboard showcasing rider focused metrics. Here is more information about the dashboard via the press release I received:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today launched a new online dashboard detailing customer-focused performance metrics for bus routes as part of MTA New York City Transit’s strategy to improve service across the city’s bus network.

The data on the bus performance dashboard is based on farebox, GPS and other information and can be filtered by borough, types of service such as local/limited, express or Select Bus Service, and time periods such as weekday peak or off-peak hours. No other transit system in the world is considered to provide the same level of detail in an online dashboard.

MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford cited improvements to bus service in all five boroughs as one of his top four goals when he started his position in January. Although service reliability for buses is largely dependent upon road conditions and traffic law enforcement, NYC Transit is committed to making improvements to its fleet, safety, service management, customer amenities, transparency and customer service, as well as working with city government and community partners to make routes more efficient.

“Good bus service is critical to millions of New Yorkers and this new dashboard gives both customers and MTA management a good idea of the service we have now and how to improve it,” said MTA Managing Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim.

“When I came to New York City Transit, I immediately recognized the importance of bus service because millions of our customers rely on buses as a viable mode of transportation, and New York City presents one of the largest and most challenging bus operating environments in the world,” said New York City Transit President Andy Byford. “While we look to our partners in City government to help address congestion and traffic enforcement, we are doing everything we can to improve the performance and transparency of our system. This new tool will help us measure and track the customer experience in meaningful ways that will help lead to improvements in the system.”

The dashboard is live now at http://busdashboard.mta.info and displays data on multiple metrics including:

  • Average bus speeds (new metric)
  • The average time customers wait at bus stops longer than scheduled (new metric)
  • The average time customers spend on trips longer than scheduled (new metric)
  • The percentage of customers whose trips are completed on time (new metric)
  • Percentage of service delivered vs service scheduled
  • Mean distance between bus equipment failures
  • Passenger environment quality

“I am very pleased to see that New York City Transit is serious about providing better service and greater transparency to customers with this new bus performance dashboard,” said Andrew Albert, New York City Transit Riders Council chairman and MTA Board member.  “Now more than ever, riders are holding the MTA accountable, and having this bus performance data helps them advocate for improvements and track when promises are being delivered. I am excited to see how this data will help customers and the other strategies in the works to improve bus service in all the boroughs.”

I plan on checking out the dashboard to see what kind of useful information is being shared. On paper it sure sounds like a very usable tool to help inform riders. However as much as it might be, it still will not replace actual improvements that riders can truly see & experience first hand in their commute.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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