Access A Ride Driver Scammed MTA For 70K

The old saying of someone scamming someone happens every day of the year continues to ring true. The latest scammer is James Laverty, a 72 year old Access A Ride driver who scammed the MTA for nearly $70,ooo dollars. Erik Bascome of The Staten Island Advance has more:

An Access-A-Ride driver has been charged with submitting hundreds of fake ride claims to the MTA to the tune of nearly $70,000, authorities said.

On Friday, MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that 72-year-old James Laverty has been charged with grand larceny in the second degree, identity theft in the first degree and falsifying business records in the first degree for allegedly submitting bogus claims to the MTA for phony rides.

In 2019, the MTA partnered with Curb Mobility to give Access-A-Ride users the opportunity to request on-demand Access-A-Ride trips through a smart phone app.

According to Katz, sometime in September 2020, a Queens woman downloaded the app and requested two rides — for both Laverty was the driver.

An analysis of Laverty’s monthly reimbursement requests showed that he had claimed to have picked up the same woman 661 times over a six-month span, from September 2020 through February 2021.

The MTA issued reimbursements to Curb for those 661 trips, which totaled $69,860.

However, upon investigation from the Office of the MTA Inspector General, Laverty was observed driving alone in his car during times in which he claimed to be transporting the woman.

If convicted, Laverty faces up to 15 years in prison.

Click here for the complete story.

I hope he gets charged & serves the maximum sentence to show that these actions will not be tolerated.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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PTC Coming To Waterbury Branch

Earlier today, the MTA announced it has installed signals, Positive Train Control (PTC) and passing sidings along the Waterbury Branch. Here is more via the press release they sent me:

Historic Upgrade Will Enable Service Increases, Reaffirms Commitment to Rail Service for Naugatuck Valley Communities

Project Completed in Collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Transportation Eliminates Final Manual Signal System on Railroad

Metro-North Railroad today announced it has installed signals, Positive Train Control (PTC) and passing sidings along the Waterbury Branch. The completion represents a historic upgrade to a branch that was built in 1849, underscores the State of Connecticut’s commitment to maintaining and upgrading the branch, and eliminates the final segment of Metro-North Railroad that had been operating without an automatic signal system.

Though the Waterbury Branch had been exempt from PTC because it lacked a signal system, Metro-North and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) nevertheless brought signals to the branch allowing for PTC to be activated on Nov. 20. PTC automates key operational functions and reduces the potential of human error to contribute to train accidents. With the activation of the Waterbury Branch, all parts of Metro-North are now operating in PTC.

“The successful installation of the new signal system on the Waterbury Branch allowed us to bring the final segment of Metro-North online for PTC, increasing passenger safety, while also giving us the ability to provide more service on the branch in the future,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad. “I would like to thank CTDOT for being great partners throughout this project and am excited for our Connecticut customers to reap the benefits of a smoother commuting experience.”

“Simply put, PTC and signalization mean better safety and better service,” said Joseph Giulietti, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. “Metro-North has been an essential partner in advancing the Waterbury Branch into the future and helping lay the groundwork for expanded train service. We thank them for playing an important part in helping us move Connecticut forward.”

The new signal system, known as Centralized Traffic Control (CTC), was brought online this month by Metro-North crews at the direction of the CTDOT, which provided funding. The CTC system allows trains to safely travel at speeds of up to 60 mph. The signalization project was recognized as the Infrastructure Project of the Year by the Connecticut chapter of the Construction Management Association of America.

Work on the project began in April 2019 and finished at the beginning of November. In that time crews completely upgraded the signal system on the entire branch. Crews replaced more than 13,000 rail ties to keep train tracks in a good state of repair, and passing sidings were added where trains can pass each other at Derby, Beacon Falls, and just south of Waterbury, with a fourth to be installed at Devon. The siding installations give Metro-North the potential to increase train service and provide more flexibility to reduce congestion during peak periods.

Since Metro-North started operating service on the Waterbury Branch in 1983, trains have operated under a Manual Block System, the industry standard for rail lines without an automatic signaling system. That system required a Rail Traffic Controller at Metro-North’s Operations Control Center to provide authority to each train’s crew to proceed between various points (or “blocks”) on the line. The new CTC system is a significant upgrade, allowing additional capacity and safety on the line. 

CTDOT looks to build on the signal-system installation with plans to install two-way rail service on the branch in the coming months. With the signaling-system upgrades and the addition of the passing sidings, service can increase on the branch to as many as 22 trains each weekday beginning as early as the summer of 2022. Increased service on the Waterbury Line was funded by $1.23 million in Connecticut state funding; $1.3 billion in federal funds will further enhance and expand these efforts.

History of the Waterbury Branch

The Waterbury Branch can trace its roots back to the original Naugatuck Railroad opened in 1849 between Bridgeport and Winsted, CT. The line was acquired by the New York, New Haven & Hartford in 1887, becoming fully integrated into their system in 1906. Control of the line passed to Penn Central in 1969 and to Conrail in 1976. Metro-North took over the contract for operating commuter service between Bridgeport and Waterbury on behalf of Connecticut Department of Transportation in 1983.

In 1982, CTDOT invested for the future by purchasing the tracks to preserve them for future rail service. After freight service was abandoned north of Waterbury in 1995, the new Naugatuck Railroad began operations in 1996, providing freight service to local businesses and also bringing tourism revenue to the area by operating seasonal passenger excursions utilizing the historic fleet of trains maintained by the volunteers of the Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston, CT.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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NYCT Thanksgiving Service Plan Changes

I just got word from the MTA about some changes to the Thanksgiving service plan for NYC Transit. So here is the latest information they wanted me to share with my readers:

Black Friday, Nov. 26

On Black Friday, Nov. 26, most subway lines will operate on regular weekday schedules. The F will only operate between Jamaica-179 St and Kings Hwy and will be replaced by free shuttle buses between Kings Hwy and Coney Island. The Staten Island Railway will operate on a regular weekday schedule.

New York City buses will operate on a reduced weekday schedule with some exceptions.

The following bus routes will not run: The BxM8 City Island service, BM1 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM2 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM3 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM4 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), M1 LTD, M4 LTD, Q4 LTD, Q5 LTD, Q6 LTD, Q17 LTD, Q25 LTD, Q27 LTD, Q36 LTD, Q43 LTD, Q46 LTD, Q65 LTD, Q83 LTD, Q85 LTD, QM2 Queens-bound Super Express, QM5 Queens-bound Super Express, QM8 Queens-bound Super Express, QM20 Queens-bound Super Express, S81 LTD, S84 LTD, S86 LTD, S91 LTD, S92 LTD, S94 LTD, S96 LTD, S98 LTD, SIM4X, SIM8X.

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NYC Transit Thanksgiving Service Plan Info

Thanksgiving is right around the corner & once again MTA NYC Transit will have extra service to help riders get around. Here is the service plan the MTA asked me to share with my readers:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and its legion of customer ambassadors are preparing to help millions of holiday travelers get to their holiday destinations during the 2021 Thanksgiving weekend. Trains and buses across the MTA system will operate on special schedules on Wednesday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 28 – with lots of extra railroad service on Wednesday afternoon – to accommodate the unique travel demands of Thanksgiving weekend.

To encourage the use of mass transit and to ease congestion on New York City streets during the Thanksgiving holiday, the MTA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are offering free rides on the Q70 Select Bus Service (SBS) LaGuardia Link from Tuesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 28. The Q70 SBS connects the 7, E, F, M & R  subway lines and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to LaGuardia Terminals B, C and D, providing a worry-free limited-stop ride with customer amenities designed for travelers. Stops for Q70 SBS LaGuardia Link are distinctly marked outside LIRR’s Woodside Station/61 St-Woodside 7 subway station and the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av  /74 St-Broadway 7 subway station complex.

Customers boarding at LaGuardia Terminals B, C, and D can spot the LaGuardia Link buses via their distinctive blue exterior design and SBS signage. Customers are urged to allow extra time due to ongoing construction near LaGuardia Airport and increased holiday traffic.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels will suspend temporary daytime lane closures related to routine maintenance and construction work beginning 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24, through the end of the morning rush on Monday, Nov. 29 to accommodate motorists throughout the busy travel weekend. Any extraordinary weather-critical work that must be accomplished over the holiday weekend would occur only during overnight hours when traffic is at its lightest.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25: Take the Subway to Macy’s Parade

  • On Thanksgiving Day, New York City subways and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule and the Staten Island Railway will operate on a Saturday schedule.
  • There are many bus routes that either do not operate on Sundays or do not run on part of the route at certain hours. Customers traveling on Thanksgiving Day should check Sunday schedules, lines and routes.

Getting to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. at 77th Street and Central Park West and ends in front of Macy’s at Herald Square (34th Street).

The closest subway stations to the start of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are the 1, 2 3 at 72 St, the 1 at 79 Street, the C at 81 St, and the 1, A, C, D at 59 St-Columbus Circle.

There will be additional service on the S 42 Street Shuttle as well as increased early morning service on the 1 line to accommodate spectators. In order to prevent overcrowding on stairways and platforms, some subway entrances at 59 St-Columbus Circle will be closed. Trains will bypass the 72 St C and 57 St F line stations between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. In addition, select exits and entrances will be closed at Penn Station, and other stations along the Sixth Avenue line.

Bus service in Manhattan may experience delays, and will be affected by reroutes, detours, and/or frozen zones, especially those routes operating in Midtown near the parade route such as the BXM8 City Island service, BM1 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM2 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM3 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM4 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), M1 LTD, M4 LTD, Q4 LTD, Q5 LTD, Q6 LTD, Q17 LTD, Q25 LTD, Q27 LTD, Q36 LTD, Q43 LTD, Q46 LTD, Q65 LTD, Q83 LTD, Q85 LTD, QM2 Queens-bound Super Express, QM5 Queens-bound Super Express, QM8 Queens-bound Super Express, QM20 Queens-bound Super Express, S81, S84, S86, S91, S92, S94, S96, S98, SIM4X, SIM8X.

The 79th Street Transverse Road will be closed from noon Wednesday, Nov. 24, to noon Thursday, Nov. 25, and buses will not be permitted to cross during this time. Details will be provided at new.mta.info under “Service Status.”

Black Friday, Nov. 26

On Black Friday, Nov. 26, New York City buses will operate on a weekday schedule with some exceptions.

  • On Staten Island, S81 Ltd, S84 Ltd, S86 Ltd, S90 Ltd, S91 Ltd, S92 Ltd, S94 Ltd, S96 Ltd, and S98 Ltd will not run; also, in Queens, Q4 Ltd (AM from subway), Q6 Ltd, Q25 Ltd, and Q65 Ltd will not run. Local service will be available on these routes.
  • A special schedule will be in effect for express bus routes run by the MTA Bus Company. Visit mta.info to view this special schedule and plan your trip accordingly. All other local, express, limited-stop, and Select Bus Service will run with minor adjustments in departure times
  • On Black Friday, Nov. 26, most subway lines will operate on regular weekday schedules.
  • The F will only operate between Jamaica-179 St and Kings Hwy and will be replaced by free shuttle buses between Kings Hwy and Coney Island. 

Saturday, Nov. 27, and Sunday, Nov. 28

New York City Transit, the LIRR and Metro-North, including West of Hudson service, will operate on regular weekend schedules. For real-time service updates and information, rail commuters and motorists can use the following options:

  • Check mta.info or the LIRR TrainTime app for updates, including modified emergency schedules.
  • Follow @MTA and the MTA’s operating agencies on Twitter. Sign up for text message or email alerts at mymtaalerts.com

For customers who are located at stations, the MTA will post the latest service updates on digital signs at station platforms and will make audio announcements over public address systems, and on-board announcements made by train crews.

For those who prefer the telephone, information is available from the Metro-North’s Customer Service Center by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line. For customers calling from Connecticut, the number is: 877-690-5114. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can use their preferred service provider for the free 711 relay to reach the MTA at 511.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR Thanksgiving 2021 Service Plan Info

Thanksgiving is right around the corner & as usual the MTA Long Island Railroad (LIRR) is providing extra service to help riders get around. Here is the service plan the MTA asked me to share with all my readers:

Wednesday, Nov. 24: Extra Early Afternoon Service on LIRR, Metro-North and SIR

  • The Long Island Rail Road will operate 12 extra trains departing Penn Station between 12:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. The extra service includes four extra trains on the Babylon Branch, three on the Port Jefferson/Huntington Branch, two on the Ronkonkoma Branch, and one each on the Far Rockaway, Montauk and Port Washington Branches. Times are shown in the current timetables and are available by using the LIRR TrainTime app and MTA.info trip planning tools. 

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25: Take the Subway to Macy’s Parade

  • The LIRR and Metro-North’s West of Hudson service will operate on a weekend/holiday schedule with extra service before and after the parade.

Getting to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The LIRR schedule is supplemented with 17 extra trains timed perfectly for those attending the Thanksgiving Day Parade or otherwise visiting the city. There will be six extra westbound trains originating on Long Island between 6 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. (two each on the Babylon Branch and Ronkonkoma Branch, and one each on the Montauk Branch and Port Jefferson Branch), and 11 extra eastbound trains departing Penn Station between 11 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. (four each on the Babylon Branch and Ronkonkoma Branch, two on the Port Jefferson/Huntington Branch and one on the Montauk Branch). 

Black Friday, Nov. 26

  • The LIRR will operate on a regular weekday schedule, with lower, off-peak fares in effect all day.

Saturday, Nov. 27, and Sunday, Nov. 28

New York City Transit, the LIRR and Metro-North, including West of Hudson service, will operate on regular weekend schedules. For real-time service updates and information, rail commuters and motorists can use the following options:

  • Check mta.info or the LIRR TrainTime app for updates, including modified emergency schedules.
  • Follow @MTA and the MTA’s operating agencies on Twitter. Sign up for text message or email alerts at mymtaalerts.com

For customers who are located at stations, the MTA will post the latest service updates on digital signs at station platforms and will make audio announcements over public address systems, and on-board announcements made by train crews.

For those who prefer the telephone, information is available from the Metro-North’s Customer Service Center by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line. For customers calling from Connecticut, the number is: 877-690-5114. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can use their preferred service provider for the free 711 relay to reach the MTA at 511.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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