Bus Service Coming To Hudson Line

The MTA Metro-North Railroad has just announced that substitute bus service will run between the Philipse Manor and Ossining Stations due to the next phase in the Sandy rehab project. Here are more details via the press release I received:

MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced that the next phase of the Railroad’s Superstorm Sandy Resiliency Project will require substitute bus service between the Philipse Manor and Ossining stations on the Hudson Line beginning on August 1 through the first quarter of 2017.

Because of reduced track capacity in this zone, morning reverse peak and evening reverse peak trains must operate on an express track, resulting in the inability of these trains to stop at the Philipse Manor and Scarborough stations.

Northbound, morning reverse peak service:

Substitute bus service will be provided at the Philipse Manor and Scarborough stations for the 5:36 a.m., 6:20 a.m., 6:50 a.m., 7:23 a.m., 7:45 a.m., and 8:15 a.m. trains from Grand Central Terminal. Customers traveling to these stations will connect to dedicated substitute bus service at Tarrytown, resulting in an additional 13 minutes of travel time to Philipse Manor and 19 minutes of travel time to Scarborough.

Southbound, evening reverse peak service:

Substitute bus service will be provided for the 4:06 p.m., 4:32 p.m., 5:06 p.m., 6:09 p.m., 7:06 p.m. and 8:06 p.m. departures from the Scarborough station, and the 4:10 p.m., 4:36 p.m., 5:10 p.m., 5:42 p.m., 6:13 p.m., 7:10 p.m. and 8:10 p.m. departures from the Philipse Manor station. Customers from Scarborough and Philipse Manor will board substitute buses to Tarrytown, with an additional 24 minutes of travel time from Scarborough, or 18 minutes from Philipse Manor.

Metro-North crews are making on-going improvements to thirty miles of power, communication and signal infrastructure damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Restoration work will include: communications cable and terminal replacement at all facilities along the 30 mile stretch and elevating platforms to prevent future water damage. These comprehensive repairs are required to restore the system to a state of good repair, ensuring safety, service reliability and expected on time performance for Metro-North customers and the region.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA eTix App Coming To Harlem Line

Just a short time ago, the MTA announced that its eTix app will be available to riders of the Metro-North’s Harlem Line as of this upcoming Monday. Here are more details via the press release I received:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that MTA eTix, the ticketing app that allows Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road customers to buy train tickets anytime, anywhere on their smartphone, will be available for travel on Metro-North’s Harlem Line starting at 4:26 a.m. this Monday, July 25, when the Harlem Line’s first train of the week departs from its first station.

The app continues to be available on Metro-North’s Hudson Line and the LIRR’s Port Washington Branch. The app is scheduled to become available for Metro-North’s New Haven Line, the New Haven Line’s three branches, and the rest of the LIRR, during the week of August 22.

“We are rolling out this customer convenience across both railroads in an expedited manner,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “This app will help save railroad customers time by making it easier to purchase a train ticket. Anyone who wants to see the future of train ticketing should download this app to experience how easy and convenient it makes the transactions.”

Metro-North’s Harlem Line customers will now also be able to check schedules and see train service status using the app, which interconnects with the popular TrainTime apps for Metro-North and the LIRR. The app also offers account management tools, giving railroad customers the ability to secure refunds for unused mobile tickets, request duplicate receipts, and manage profile info such as password and linked credit card numbers.

More information about the app can be found at this web link:

http://www.mta.info/mta-eTix-promo

Individuals interested in downloading MTA eTix can do so at the links below:
For iOS Devices
For Android Devices
With MTA eTix, customers who download the app will sign up for an account, select the ticket they wish to buy, and enter credit or debit card information. They will then be able to ride the train in three simple steps:

1. Buy a ticket by entering information about origin and destination, and selecting the type of ticket (one-way, 10-trip, weekly or monthly). The ticket is then saved in an electronic “ticket wallet” feature in the app.

2. Prior to boarding the train, pull up the ticket from the ticket wallet and activate the ticket by tapping on the “activate ticket” button.

3. When a conductor comes through the train to ask for tickets, have the activated ticket displayed, and simply show the smartphone screen to the conductor. Conductors will visually validate the mobile ticket by looking at the screen. As the rollout proceeds, conductors will use a handheld device to scan mobile tickets.

The MTA eTix app was developed by Masabi, Ltd., which has also created electronic mobile ticketing programs for MBTA Commuter Rail in Boston, NICE Bus on Long Island, and Metrolink in Los Angeles. Masabi was selected in April 2014 following a competitive request for proposals issued in March 2013.

Next year, the MTA expects to make the MTA eTix app even more user-friendly by allowing LIRR and Metro-North customers who transfer to or from the New York City Subway or New York City Buses to pay their fares using a single app and a single transit account.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North Ticket Policy Changes

Just a short time ago, the MTA Metro-North Railroad announced some ticket policy changes due to the Tappan Zee Bridge closure. Here are the details via the press release I received:

Metro-North Railroad today announced that because of this afternoon’s crane accident and closure of the Tappan Zee Bridge, a number of changes to ticketing policies and procedures are being made for the remainder of the day:

• Metro-North’s Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry and Newburgh-Beacon Ferry will honor TAPPAN ZEExpress (TZx) bus tickets. Customers who normally depart from Grand Central Terminal (GCT) to connect to the TZx bus at Tarrytown should consider staying on train to Ossining, where they can connect to the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry, on should catch an express train to Beacon, where they can connect to the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry. Hudson Line tickets to Tarrytown will be honored for travel at all stations on the Hudson Line, as far as Poughkeepsie.

• NJTRANSIT and Metro-North are cross-honoring Hudson Line tickets on the Pascack Valley Line.

Stay tuned for any further updates regarding the AM commute tomorrow.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Gov Cuomo Reveals Ambitious Subway Plan

Just a short time ago, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed his ambitious subway plan that includes redesigned subway cars & stations. Here is more via the official press release I received:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled the design features of 1,025 new and reimagined subway cars – including vital enhancements to the exteriors and interiors of regular cars, wider doors, as well as the addition of up to 750 “Open Car End” designed-cars, which will reduce wait times and increase capacity. The Governor also previewed key elements that will be featured in the renovation of 31 subway stations throughout the New York Metropolitan Area, and announced that the first of several Requests for Proposals will be issued this week. The MTA is using design-build contracts to expedite the process and ensure the shortest timeframe for project completion. These vital investments are part of the $27 billion, five-year MTA Capital Program to renew and expand the MTA network. Governor Cuomo unveiled the ambitious design-plan at the Transit Museum in Brooklyn.

“New York deserves a world-class transportation network, worthy of its role as the heartbeat of the 21st century economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “The MTA design team developed a bold and visionary reimagining of the quintessential commuter experience, incorporating best practices from global transit systems, and focusing on our core mission to renew, enhance and expand. We are going to do more than renovate – we are bringing subway stations to a higher standard than ever before, and the new vision for subway cars will increase capacity and reduce overcrowding and delays. I congratulate the MTA for thinking creatively and working with the kind of passion and urgency it takes to move this state forward.”

“The Governor gave the MTA a mandate to implement new, world-class designs as quickly as possible for all new subway cars and that’s what you’re seeing today – innovation making the lives and commutes of all New Yorkers easier,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said. “Coupled with new methods for redeveloping our stations at the Governor’s direction, customers will see us get in, get done, and return new and improved stations to them in the most efficient way possible.”

Reimagined and Enhanced Subway Cars

Later this week, the MTA will issue an RFP for the construction of 1,025 new subway cars, which will highlight that the timeline of design and production, as well as cost-effectiveness, will be central factors in awarding the contract.

The RFP will also emphasize the need to align with MTA design guidelines, which were established after a review of best practices in a number of major metropolitan areas from around the world, and identified several key elements for use in the New York system, including:

Open Car End Design: The MTA anticipates that out of 1,025 new cars, up to 750 will feature an Open Car End designed. The Open Car End design replaces the door between cars with an accordion-like connector in order to create longer, open spaces, allowing for greater passenger flow movement and increasing capacity in the process. These cars have become an international standard: in London 31 percent of cars will be Open Car End by the end of the year; in Paris the figure climbs to 37 percent; and in Toronto to 56 percent.

Wider Doors: The door width of the new cars will be expanded from the current MTA standard of 50 inches to 58 inches. Wider subway doors can reduce delays by allowing customers to enter and exit more quickly, and have become an international standard. According to a computer simulation of passenger flow conducted on behalf of the MTA, in crowded scenarios wider doors can reduce a train’s ‘dwell time’ in the station by 32 percent.

Customer Amenities & Security: The interior of new cars will also feature a host of new amenities, including WiFi, USB chargers, full color digital customer information displays, digital advertisements, illuminated door opening alerts and security cameras to promote passenger safety.

Exterior Features: Design elements for the exterior of the new subway cars include a new blue front with large windows, LED headlights, and a blue stripe with gold accents along the sides.

Improved Subway Stations

The announcement highlighted key elements of the Governor’s initiative to create a new and improved design standard for subway stations, and undertake extensive renovations at 31 stations from across the five boroughs. The 31 stations included in the program build upon a larger campaign, designed to improve the customer experience, and includes component and renewal work at more than 170 other stations. Design elements include:

• Enhanced lighting throughout the stations;

• Improved signage to make it easier for customers to navigate stations, including digital, real-time updates on on-time performance at subway entrances, before customers even enter the station;

• Inclusion of amenities, such as count down clocks, improved cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi and new art; and

• Renovations will also consider the architectural legacy of each station, and remain sensitive to historical elements as the stations undergo redesign.

Key elements for each station type include:

ELEVATED

Street Level Entrance Canopy and Totem

Control Area Dashboard

Transparent Windscreens

LED Light Fixtures Throughout

Furniture with Integrated Charging Stations

Contemporary Art

SIDE PLATFORM

Street Level Entrance Canopy and Totem

Control Area Dashboard

Glass or Mesh Fare Array

LED Light Fixtures Throughout

Furniture with Integrated Charging Stations

Contemporary Art

ISLAND PLATFORM

Street Level Entrance Canopy and Totem

Control Area Dashboard

Glass or Mesh Fare Array

LED Light Fixtures Throughout

Furniture with Integrated Charging Stations

Contemporary Art

RFP for First Three Stations in 31 Station Renovation Program

The MTA will issue an RFP for the first package of three stations located in Brooklyn later this week:

• Prospect Avenue Station

• 53rd Street Station

• Bay Ridge Avenue Station

RFPs for the remainder of the 31 stations will be released over the next twelve months, and will be distributed across the five boroughs. The first contract is expected to be awarded in the fall. Station closures will be limited to a six-month period.

Design Build Contracts

At the direction of the Governor, the MTA is using design-build contracts for all 31 stations. Design-build contracts call for a single team to be responsible for the design and construction of an entire project in order to ensure that coordination is seamless, and that work is completed in the shortest possible time frame.

President of NYC Transit, Veronique (Ronnie) Hakim, said, “With design-build contracts, one team is responsible for both design and construction of the station. From a construction perspective, that means that there’s a seamless connection between various phases of a project, enabling the contractors to limit miscommunications, and speed the completion of the project. From the perspective of our customers, it means that they get a completely renovated station that is brighter, better, and more functional in the shortest possible time frame.”

Design Consultants

The MTA worked with distinguished and world-renowned design consultants, who hold extensive international design expertise in train and transit facilities, for its new rolling stock and station enhancements. The lead designer, Antenna Design, and engineering consultant, CH2M, have created the new subway car design. Lead designers, Grimshaw Architects, and Arup, program managers – both with offices in London and New York – spearheaded the stations’ initiative.

Click here to see high resolution renderings of the station & subway car designs.

When comparing the images to the stations & features we have today, the plans do seem ambitious even though realistically we should have already had such setups by now.

However that point aside, my initial reaction is where is the money going to come from for all of this work? Considering the funding issues that continue to plague the much maligned agency which stem a lot from the lack of desire to respectfully invest in mass transit, are these goals realistically feasible in the near future? I have my doubts….

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR PM Rush Advisory

The MTA Long Island Rail Road has just issued a PM rush hour advisory due to the derailed maintenance car incident from earlier:

MTA Long Island Rail Road customers should expect delays and possible cancellations for this evenings rush hour. Repairs are ongoing, but may not be fully completed before the evening rush. We will provide further updates as the PM peak service period draws closer later in the day.

I will post the next update as soon as I receive it.

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