MTA Brings New Buses To Staten Island

Earlier today, MTA NYC Transit along with Congressman Max Rose announced that 77 new state of the art buses will be coming to Staten Island along with a contactless fare payment system. Here is more information via the press release I received:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Congressman Max Rose announced today that a total of 77 new state-of-the-art buses will be put into service on Staten Island this year as the MTA works to modernize bus service with new vehicles and a new contactless fare payment system that speeds entry and allows all-door boarding.

The new buses are equipped with modern customer amenities such as USB charging ports, Wi-Fi and digital screens, and safety technology such as a pedestrian turn warning system and cameras. They replace Orion Hybrid buses from 2009 currently in service on Staten Island, and will be used on routes operating out of the Yukon Bus Depot, which includes S79 Select Bus Service. Additionally, the MTA is in the process of procuring 50 new coach buses that will be put into Staten Island express bus service in 2021.

“Our Staten Island customers are amongst our most vocal and dedicated customers because they rely on our buses far more than riders in other boroughs, which means we absolutely must get bus service right on Staten Island,” said MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford. “We still have work to do, but the future of public transit is very bright on Staten Island thanks to this new fleet of buses and our myriad work to add new service where possible and enhance existing options.”

“These new buses are just one step towards getting Staten Island the mass transit system we deserve, and I’m proud to be working with the MTA to ensure that this is only the beginning,” said Congressman Max Rose. “Getting where you need to go on time isn’t too much to ask, and I know that with these new buses on the road, Staten Islanders can expect a more reliable, fast, and comfortable commute. I look forward to these buses getting on the road and showing the people of Staten Island that government can make a difference in their daily lives.”

Of the 77 new buses, which are standard 40-foot-long vehicles used on both local and Select Bus Service routes, 41 have already been delivered. Theses buses will be delivered with software ready for traffic signal priority technology implementation. These capital investments help make MTA more cost efficient, as continuing maintenance to retain older buses well past their useful lives are a significant drain to NYC Transit personnel and funding resources.

As part of similar modernization initiatives, the MTA launched a public pilot on May 31 for OMNY, its new contactless fare payment system, to replace the outdated MetroCard technology by 2023. The public pilot included all Staten Island buses, where hundreds of customers are using their own preferred contactless fare payment method to pay fares and speed their entry onto buses without needing to buy a MetroCard or find exact change. Within the first week of the pilot, Staten Island customers using OMNY have far exceeded initial estimates of 800 to 1,500 taps per week.

Both the MTA and Congressman Rose are committed to improving public transportation on Staten Island, from improving existing service to looking at ways to enhance or bring service to underserved areas. In August 2018, MTA New York City Transit implemented a customer-focused redesign of the Staten Island express bus network that has yielded positive results for customers, increasing service reliability, speeding up commutes by up to 12 percent, adding 120 more weekday trips and frequency, and streamlining routes to help clear streets and simplify circuitous routes that unnecessarily lengthened trips. The lessons learned from this redesign will be used for a planned redesign of the Staten Island local bus network, which will take a clean-slate approach to a network that was based on trolley lines from nearly a century ago.

The success of any bus network redesign is largely dependent on close collaboration with stakeholders such as the New York City Department of Transportation and NYPD by providing street treatments and enhancements to help our buses move through congested city streets and to enforce bus lanes and keep streets clear. These enhancements include bus lanes, traffic signal priority for buses, camera enforcement, and reconfigured street traffic infrastructure to increase pedestrian and customer safety.

In addition to improving bus service on Staten Island, the MTA is conducting two studies to bring new service or enhance existing mass transit options on the North Shore and the West Shore. This spring, the MTA launched the West Shore Transit Alternatives Analysis to find new ways to enhance public transit in and to those communities, taking a holistic look at the transportation needs and patterns of West Shore residents. It aims to identify transit improvements and connections between key points on Staten Island and Manhattan, with the goal of making final recommendations in 2020. On the North Shore, the MTA is developing a new Bus Rapid Transit system to provide faster travel for thousands of residents to and from the St. George Ferry Terminal. That project is undergoing an environmental study that will take approximately 24 months.

I am glad to see the agency is continuing to update its fleet & overall options for riders as they tackle being behind the times in terms of technology compared to other transit systems. Hopefully the riding public will treat the equipment with respect & that it has a long & prosperous career serving riders.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Crazy Man Attacks MTA Worker In Harlem

Early Saturday morning, a crazy man attacked a MTA worker on the Manhattan-bound platform at the 145th Street train station. The unidentified Hispanic male was standing on the Bronx-bound platform when he began to shout at workers on the closed Manhattan-bound platform. He proceeded to exit the station & cross the street to enter on the Manhattan-bound side where he went over the turnstile & punched one of the workers.

Here is the brief video caught on tape:

Sadly these incidents continue to be an issue for transit workers whether above or underground & many do not make it to the media. More needs to be done to protect these workers as even the increase in penalties for assaulting workers has not deterred these crimes. Hopefully a solution can be found as soon as possible as enough is enough!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North Development At Harrison

The MTA Metro-North is continuing its attempts to upgrade its system. The latest plan sees it branching out even further by teaming up with AvalonBay Communities to built its first transit oriented development at the Harrison Station. Both agencies held a groundbreaking ceremony. Here are more details:

MTA Metro-North Railroad and AvalonBay Communities, one of the nation’s leading multifamily builders, held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Harrison station today to mark the start of construction of a mixed-use development project on the south side of the station.

This transit oriented development project will be the first of its kind in the railroad’s system, and it will include a garage for commuters and the public, housing complex with 143 apartment units (7 of which are affordable units), 27,000 square feet of retail space, as well as two pedestrian plazas at the station. The garage will increase commuter parking by at least 218 spaces. Metro-North reached an agreement on the sale of the parcel of property to AvalonBay in April, allowing construction to begin.

Housed on a 3.28-acre site on the south side of the station along Halstead Avenue, the development intends to spark a downtown rebirth, serving as a catalyst for the revitalization of the Town/Village of Harrison.  This previously underutilized parcel of property presently contains a surface parking lot that is too small to meet current commuter demand.

Under the design completed by the developer, and approved by the Town/Village with input from Metro-North and MTA, the surface parking lot will be replaced by a series of pedestrian-oriented, four-story buildings lined with retail stores on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors, including seven affordable apartments that will be subsidized by Westchester County.

A mixed-use building at the eastern end of the site will create a vibrant streetscape with direct entry for several town home units and residential amenities at street level. Its interior and upper stories would provide 598 spaces of structured parking, of which at least 475 would be reserved for the public and commuters, an 85% increase over the 257 Metro-North-owned parking spaces that exist today.

An additional 187 parking spaces for residents and 96 for retail customers will be located in another parking structure behind the first floor of the mixed retail/residential buildings on the western end of the site.  The existing parking spaces owned by the Town/Village of Harrison on the north side of the station are preserved for customers and will not be affected by construction or the project.

There will be closures of part of the parking lot during the construction process. Alternate will be provided, and customers will be diverted to the other lots within walking distance from the station.

The start of construction of the transit oriented development is the culmination of an extensive public process that involved meeting with community stakeholders, a request for proposals to build on the site, a review of construction plans, an environmental review, as well as a series of approvals from the MTA Board.

“Transit oriented development is a quadruple win: it’s a win for downtown revitalization and economic progress, it’s a win for the environment, it provides a new choice in housing opportunities, and it reinforces the MTA’s bottom line, which is a win for the public,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “I’m pleased that the MTA and AvalonBay are moving forward on this marquee project that we hope will set the bar for future transit-oriented development efforts in our region.”

“We are delighted to be proceeding with what promises to be a transformative project for Metro-North commuters and for the Town and Village of Harrison,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad. “When it’s fully realized, this green project will create a vibrant, walkable community, both reducing a reliance on cars and   enhancing the existing village hub. Our customers will have a much easier time finding parking at the station, and Harrison residents can enjoy new shopping options and an enlivened downtown. We hope this type of suburban transit-oriented development becomes a model for communities throughout the MTA region.”

Matthew Whalen, AvalonBay Senior Vice President for Development, spoke at the reception, saying: “It took a great deal of persistence and patience to arrive at this day. I want to thank Mayor Belmont and the executives at Metro-North for their support and encouragement throughout the process. We understand the importance of genuine partnership not only during the pre-construction and construction phases but going forward as well. AvalonBay intends to be a good corporate citizen here in Harrison, as we have been everywhere else in the New York metro area.”

I am curious to see how the agency handles this project especially in terms of getting involved with housing. I can’t say I am surprised at the lack of affordable housing being offered at the development. Of the 143 units, only 7 will be affordable housing aka it is probably the base amount needed for tax breaks for the developer. However that is a different issue for a different time!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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NYC Transit Memorial Day 2019 Service Info

Just a short time ago, MTA NYC Transit asked me to share its service plan information for the upcoming Memorial Day 2019 holiday weekend:

New York City Subway

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, the New York City Subway will operate on a Sunday schedule. As a reminder, some subway lines do not run on weekends and some trains will be rerouted due to pre-scheduled maintenance and upgrade work in our efforts to maintain and upgrade tracks, signals, stations and other infrastructure throughout the subway system.

Customers are advised to allow additional travel time and use the MYmta app to plan trips, view planned and unplanned service change information and see real-time anticipated arrival times.

New York City Buses

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, New York City buses will operate on a Sunday schedule. For the real-time position of buses on all bus routes, visit MTA’s Bus Time.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR Memorial Day 2019 Service Info

Just a short time ago the MTA Long Island Rail Road asked me to share its service plan information for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend:

Kicking off the unofficial start to summer, the Long Island Rail Road is adding 10 extra trains from Penn Station on Friday, May 24, 2019, for customers planning an early getaway for the upcoming long weekend.

Over this Memorial Day weekend, the LIRR will operate on a regular weekend schedule on Saturday and Sunday and on a holiday schedule on Memorial Day, May 27. The LIRR is the best way to avoid traffic congestion on Long Island highways, and is the best route to beaches, barbeques, wine country, and other popular destinations. Also starting this
weekend, extra summer service on the Montauk Branch begins — full details on added service below.

The 10 extra Friday afternoon trains will depart from Penn Station at these times:

Babylon Branch

• 2:22 p.m. express to Rockville Centre, then making all local stops to Babylon.

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

• 3:00 p.m. stopping at Jamaica, Rockville Centre, then making all local stops to Babylon.

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

Far Rockaway Branch

• 3:48 p.m. express to Locust Manor, then making all local stops to Far Rockaway.

Port Jefferson Branch

• 2:08 p.m. stopping at Jamaica, Mineola, then making all local stops to Huntington.

• 2:29 p.m. stopping at Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, then making all local stops to Huntington.

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

Port Washington Branch

• 3:40 p.m. stopping at Woodside, Flushing Main Street, then making all local stops to Great Neck.

Ronkonkoma Branch

• 1:59 p.m. train stopping at Woodside, Jamaica, Mineola, Hicksville, then making all stops to Ronkonkoma.

Extra Summer Service Starts on the Montauk Branch

This weekend marks the beginning of a major summer service increase to the South Fork of Long Island via the LIRR’s Montauk Branch, with several extra eastbound trains running on
Fridays and extra westbound trains returning on Sundays.

• The LIRR offers two Friday-only trains designed for Fire Island-bound customers. These trains stop for Fire Island ferry connections at Bay Shore, Sayville and Patchogue.
Customers boarding at Penn Station can connect for these trains via the 7:39 a.m. Ronkonkoma Branch train (change at Jamaica for the Patchogue train), and the 10:54 Babylon train to Babylon (change at Babylon for the Patchogue train). Connections also available from Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn.

• A Hamptons-bound train departs Hunterspoint Avenue at 1:47 p.m. and connects at Jamaica with the 1:42 p.m. train from Penn Station. The train will run express to Westhampton then make all stops to Montauk.

• The Cannonball, which departs Penn Station at 4:06 p.m., then runs express to Westhampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Montauk.

• Change at Jamaica for the 7:23 p.m. express train running to Patchogue, Mastic-Shirley, Westhampton, then all stops to Montauk. This train receives passengers from the 6:56
p.m. train from Penn Station, 6:59 p.m. train from Atlantic Terminal and 6:41 p.m. train from Hunterspoint Avenue.

Returning on Sunday night, the LIRR offers five extra Sunday night departures arriving in New York City between 1:26 p.m. and 8:27 p.m., including the westbound Cannonball which departs Montauk at 6:37 p.m., and an extra Monday morning train that departs Montauk at 7:28 a.m. and connects at Jamaica for a 10:34 a.m. arrival at Penn Station.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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