Staten Island Railway To Expand Express Service

Catching up on some other transit news from the last 48 hours, the MTA issued a press release regarding the Staten Island Railway. The press release discusses the MTA’s plan to increase express service during the morning & evening rush hour periods. Here is the entire press release courtesy of the MTA:

In response to record ridership growth on the Staten Island Railway (SIR), and as part of MTA NYC Transit’s commitment to the Mayor’s Staten Island Transportation Task Force, NYC Transit today announced the expansion of SIR’s rush hour express train service on November 14th. The expansion will provide additional service to commuters who rely on SIR express and local service to and from the Staten Island Ferry while also providing an alternative to construction-related delays on area highways.

“NYC Transit has devoted considerable time and effort into crafting schedules and in developing quality service improvements that our SIR riders would find attractive,” said MTA Executive Director & CEO Elliot G. Sander. “That hard work is paying off with ridership up considerably since 2005, reaffirming the MTA’s commitment to improving transportation services for Staten Island commuters”


The additional rush hour service will be phased in, with evening service the first to be expanded on Wednesday, November 14th. Under the new schedule, the first evening express train will continue to connect with the boat departing Whitehall Terminal at 4:00 p.m., and now the last scheduled express will connect with the boat departing Whitehall Terminal at 7:20 p.m. Five additional express trains will connect with boats departing from the Whitehall Terminal at 6:15, 6:30, 6:45, 7:00 and 7:20 p.m. In all, the evening express schedule will be expanded by an hour and 20 minutes.

“This is the second substantive change to the SIR schedule since 2005 when the entire schedule was overhauled for the first time in several decades,” said MTA NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “Our railway customers have consistently told us they would ride more if we expanded express service. We did just that last year and, true to their word, our riders responded favorably. We expect they will do so again with the changes we’re making now.”

In 2006, the number of SIR riders passing through the St. George Ferry Terminal daily grew nine percent, from 12,647 to 13,781. That ridership growth has continued this year, with average weekday ridership at St. George up 7.2 percent to 14,287 through September.


On Wednesday, December 5th, morning rush hour express service will be expanded with the first express train to connect with the boat departing St. George Terminal at 7:00 a.m., instead of the current 7:15 a.m. boat. Express service will continue to connect with ferry boats departing St. George at 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, and 8:30 a.m., with additional express trains now connecting with the 8:45 and 9:00 a.m. ferry departing St. George Terminal. In all, the span of express service will be expanded by 45 minutes with three additional express trains added to the morning schedule.

Express service to Tottenville will also be introduced in the morning rush hour with five express trips connecting with boats departing Whitehall Terminal between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. Additional local service is being added to the morning schedule as well, with five trains stopping at Huguenot, Annadale and Eltingville Stations. Those trains will connect with boats departing St. George Terminal at 7:00, 7:15, 7:30 and 8:00 a.m.

“These new service improvements, in combination with many other enhancements implemented by the railway over the last several years, provide a convenient and attractive alternative to construction-related delays on the highways,” said John G. Gaul, SIR Chief Operating Officer.

New schedules and customer information will be available to evening riders beginning Monday, November 12th and for morning riders on Monday, December 3rd.


The increase in SIR express service would not be possible without the new, state-of-the-art Cab Signaling System along with a 21st Century Control Center at St. George which went into operation in June 2005. The new technology installations, valued at $100 million and funded by the MTA Capital Program, enhance safety while offering operating flexibility that was not available with the old system.

Prior to the new installation, the 22-station, 14-mile railway operated with signal technology created in the early 1900′s and lacked many of the features of modern systems. The advantages of the new signal system include continuous speed enforcement, improved signal visibility, and more reliable service. Central monitoring at the new Control Center provides supervision with access to real time information so that they can react to problems more quickly, with the ability to change switch positions remotely, as all main line switches are now interlocked.

This is great news for the riders who depend on the Staten Island Railway.

 xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Issues A Statement On TWU Situation

Shortly after the decision to deny the TWU Local 100 to regain their due checkoff power was announced, the MTA issued a brief press release.

During the past months, the MTA and TWU Local 100 leadership have sought to establish a labor management climate which assures the public attentive, uninterrupted service. While we fully recognize the concerns that led to the Court’s ruling, we also understand the vital role that the Union plays in employee relations. The MTA’s commitment to productive labor/management relations remains undiminished.

Over the last few months, the MTA & Transport Workers Union Local 100 were starting to mend fences on a number of fronts. I think this decision could easily negate all the positive steps that have been taken in the last few months. This is not what the two parties need at this time. I will be curious to see if the relationship between the two will hit a new low because of this.  This will definitely be an interesting saga to keep an eye on.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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TWU Dealt A Crushing Defeat

Unfortunately the popcorn burned & the drinks were flat after State Supreme Court Justice Bruce Balter of Brooklyn ruled against the Transport Workers Union Local 100′s attempt to restore their due checkoff power. The judge said he would like to see the 48 executive-board members promise not to strike again before the union would be out of the punishment phase from the 2005 transit strike.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 chief Roger Toussaint had this to say after the decision was announced:

Unfortunately this matter has become a political football. Transit workers will continue to meet the challenges and difficulties of this situation head-on.”

Leave it to the justice system to screw over the wrong party in a situation!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Judge To Decide If The TWU Can Start To Recollect Union Dues

One of the signs worn by TWU Local 100 picketers during the 2005 transit strike. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

Today is the big day as a judge will decide if the Transport Workers Union Local 100 better known as the TWU Local 100 can start to recollect their union dues better known as “checkoff power” or “due checkoffs”. TWU Local 100 got closer to their goal on Halloween when the MTA & state attorney general filed court papers supporting them regaining their rights but only on a probationary basis.

The TWU lost their rights, as I wrote about here, on June 1st for a total of 90 days. During the 90 day penalty period, Transport Workers Union Local 100 said they lost over $1 million dollars.

I spoke with a few friends in the mix at TWU Local 100 & many fully expect the judge to reinstate their rights. Ladies & gentlemen lets get our bowl of popcorn & beverage of choice ready as we sit & anticipate this big decision.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Hearing In Farmingdale Has Low Attendance

I guess Long Islanders missed the memo or maybe Long Island Railroad Commuter Council member Maureen Michaels was right when she said “Maybe they’re delayed by the trains” in reference to the abysmal turnout at yesterday’s MTA hearing in Farmingdale on the proposed fare hike. According to the Newsday, approximately only 40 Long Island residents were present for the hearing which featured less than a dozen speakers from the riding public. Here is the entire article about the hearing courtesy of Newsday:

While hearings on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed fare increases have drawn hundreds in the city, some going until late in the evening, the only hearing scheduled on Long Island stood in stark contrast Wednesday night, with about 40 attendants and fewer than a dozen speakers.

After a brief introduction at Farmingdale State College, no speakers came to the microphone when MTA Deputy Executive Director Chris Boylan read off the first few names of residents who had signed up to give comments prior to the event.

“Maybe they’re delayed by the trains,” quipped Maureen Michaels, a member of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council.

Forty-five minutes into the hearing, Boylan took a 15-minute break to see whether any additional speakers arrived.

After the break, he read four more names. None had arrived. And they recessed again. But Boylan, who has attended other such hearings on Long Island throughout the years, said he was not surprised by the lesser turnout, given the greater population density in the city.

Still, a smaller crowd did not arrive with any less vitriol over the proposed fare hikes.

“I think this rate increase is outrageous,” said Kent Reiter, 62, of Garden City. Noting the proposed third track project, which officials say would increase capacity on the LIRR’s main line, he added: “You’ll be glad to build a third track through my backyard at a terrible expense to everyone … The fare hike is just another sign of a system gone wrong.”

Paul Askedall, 47, of Farmingdale, arrived in a tuxedo, making the point that fares will soon only be affordable to the upper class: “This is the only type of clothes you want people to wear … I and my parents have trouble making ends meet.”

But assuming a certain air of inevitability to the increase, he added: “You’re all going to do what you want. This is a charade.”

None of the MTA board members in attendance nor LIRR President Helena Williams responded to any of the comments.

The proposed increases call for raising Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North fares by an average of 6.5 percent. In the city, the $2 base subway and bus fare would rise by a quarter.

“The cost of living on Long Island is high; you’re going to make it higher,” said State Sen. Carl Marcellino.

State Assemb. David McDonough urged the MTA to delay its expected December vote on a fare hike until April, when the legislature votes on a state budget, in hopes that they can allocate enough money to offset the need for an increase.

MTA chairman Elliot Sander has said the agency is already asking the state for $1.5 billion during the next two years to finance operations and various projects. Expecting Albany to produce an additional $300 million a year to stave off an increase is not realistic, he said.

I can’t say that I am surprised by the lack of turnout for the Long Island hearing. I assumed in advance that the hearings held in the suburbs would have the least amount of turnout. I feel this reflects on the attitude of who can & can’t afford the big blow this fare hike will inflict on drivers & riders alike.

I applaud Mr. Askedall for the creative way he chose to make his statement. Mr. Askedall you get my kudos of the week for sure. Hmm, maybe I’m on to something, the Transit Blogger “Kudos Of The Week” award! I like it!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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