Will Obama/Biden White House Really Help Amtrak

Ever since Barack Obama tapped Delaware Senator Joseph Biden as his vice presidential nominee, much has been made of how Amtrak would benefit from an Obama/Biden White House. The general point being how it has been heavily publicized that Joe uses Amtrak to commute daily to & from Washington D.C. The main point stems from his voting record which has shown strong support for funding the much maligned rail road agency.

However an article in yesterday’s Washington Post questions whether an Obama/Biden White House means automatic help for Amtrak. Here is a sample of Ben Pershing’s article:

By now, it’s nearly impossible to have missed the fact that Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, is such a homebody and regular guy that he rides Amtrak between Washington and Delaware every day when Congress is in session.

But Biden isn’t just one of the passenger rail system’s most famous commuters — he is also one of its biggest supporters in the Senate.

“He’s right up there,” said David Johnson, deputy director of the National Association of Railroad Passengers. “I’d say in the top five [in the Senate] for sure. I can definitely say he’s the biggest user.”

Click here for the complete article

I am concerned at the mindset of many who feel such a ticket would mean automatic help for Amtrak. The agency which in my & many others opinion continues to be run in the ground should not get more funding until it commits to running itself properly. The agency clearly should shape their routes based on what the passengers actually need & desire instead of wasting money & resources on routes that clearly have a lack of ridership & overall purpose.

My other concern is the lack of talk about how this duo would help fund our transit infrastructure across the country. During Obama’s nomination acceptance speech, I heard about investing in new roads & making cars more affordable. I did not hear a single point of showing a need to invest in our transit systems which would make our country a better place if invested in. The coming months should be quite telling as to how serious this duo is in really helping America improve which strong transit systems would be a vital part of.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Brush Fire Causes Delays On Three LIRR Branches

If riders on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay branches had a hard time getting home during yesterday’s evening rush, you can rest now knowing the culprit was a brush fire. Around 3:30 yesterday afternoon a brush fire was reported around the Carle Place station. The brush fire caused service to be suspended in both directions between Mineola & Hicksville for the 3 branches that travel on the main line. All I can say is I am glad my business kept me on the island on Tuesday!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR To Provide Extra Train For Adelphi & Hofstra Commuters

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has listened to the request of administrators at Adelphi & Hofstra University commuters to provide extra service for faculty & students. The LIRR added a reverse-peak Hempstead train out of Penn Station during the AM rush. Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday has the report on the new service which started yesterday:

A certain Long Island Rail Road ridership – those bound for Adelphi and Hofstra universities – will have help getting to campus via a new reverse-peak Hempstead train out of Penn Station starting Tuesday.

The LIRR has added a 6:47 a.m. eastbound train to help accommodate students and faculty of Adelphi University in Garden City and Hofstra University in Hempstead in getting to school on time for 8 a.m. classes.

The train will stop at the Jamaica, Queens Village, Floral Park, Stewart Manor, Nassau Boulevard and Garden City stations and arrive in Hempstead at 7:33 a.m.

LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone said the new train was added as “a direct result of requests from two of Long Island’s major universities.”

Hofstra spokesman Stu Vincent said, “Many of our faculty and students commute from Manhattan and the other boroughs, and this additional train will give them another public transportation option.”

Officials with Adelphi’s transportation office could not be reached for comment Friday.

The LIRR’s Hempstead stop is a five-minute bus ride from Hofstra’s campus. The university offers a complimentary bus to transport students from there at certain times of the day.

Similarly, Adelphi offers shuttle buses at the LIRR’s Mineola and Nassau Boulevard stations.

Now only if the requests of other commuters could be met as easily! Can anyone say better service on the Ronkonkoma line!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR Introduces The Belmont Special

Yesterday afternoon the Long Island Rail Road e-mailed me a couple of press releases regarding the introduction of the 2008 LIRR Belmont Special. The press releases which should become public on their site later today stated the following:

Press Release #1:

The thoroughbreds are back from Saratoga for the start of the fall racing season and Long Islanders can take the fast and easy way to the track with the MTA Long Island Rail Road’s “Belmont Special” to beautiful Belmont Park. The LIRR’s package ticket includes round-trip rail transportation and a $1 discount off the $2 grandstand admission to the track.

Starting Friday, September 5, and continuing through Sunday, October 26, LIRR trains will operate to and from Belmont Park on all racing days. First race begins at 1:00 PM. The track is closed for racing on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exception of Monday, October 13, Columbus Day. The track is also closed for racing on Wednesday, October 15.

The LIRR’s discount package ticket for travel from Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties is valid on off-peak trains arriving in Jamaica in time to transfer to the “Belmont Special” to the Park.

Round Trip Package Fares To Belmont Park (purchased at LIRR stations only):

Zone 3 (Rosedale, St Albans, Queens Village, Hollis) — $8.00

Zone 4 (Far Rockaway, Lynbrook, Hempstead, Mineola) — $9.75

Zone 7 (Long Beach, Massapequa, Hicksville, Oyster Bay) — $11.50

Zone 9 (Babylon, Deer Park, Huntington, Northport) — $14.50

Zone 10 (Bay Shore, Sayville, Ronkonkoma, Patchogue, Port Jefferson) — $17.75

Tickets for the “Belmont Special” can be purchased at LIRR stations in advance or on the day of the trip — this ticket will not be sold on the train. The special package ticket to Belmont is not available for travel from stations on the Port Washington Branch.

Weekly and monthly ticket holders can use their tickets for travel to Jamaica and need only purchase an $8.00 round-trip package ticket at a LIRR station prior to boarding the Belmont Special to cover the fare between Belmont Park and Jamaica. Round-trip tickets are not sold on-board trains. One-way tickets for travel between Jamaica and Belmont, sold on trains to use in conjunction with a monthly or weekly ticket, are $9.00. A one-way ticket from Jamaica to Belmont, purchased at an LIRR station to use in conjunction with a monthly or weekly ticket, is $5.00.

Belmont Package tickets are also available at LIRR full-service “Tickets” machines at stations – just press the “Getaways/Packages” button on the first screen; then select “Belmont Park.” Payment can be made with cash, ATM/Debit or Credit Cards. The ticket office at Belmont is closed and there are no ticket machines at Belmont.

To avoid higher on-board fares and save time, customers should purchase round-trip tickets in advance. (Please note: CityTicket is not valid for travel to or from Belmont Park.)

Racing fans should pick up a copy of the LIRR’s Belmont Park Fall Meet timetable at line stations and western terminals, or contact the LIRR’s 24-hour Travel Information Center in Suffolk County at 631-231-LIRR, or in Nassau County at 516-822-LIRR for schedule information. The Travel Information Center’s TDD telephone number for the hearing impaired is 718-558-3022. Belmont schedule information is also available on the LIRR’s website at: www.mta.info

Press Release #2:

The new fall racing season is getting underway and the MTA Long Island Rail Road is the winning route to beautiful Belmont Park. The LIRR’s “Belmont Special” package ticket includes round-trip rail transportation and a $1 discount off the $2 grandstand admission to the track. Starting Friday, September 5, and continuing through Sunday, October 26, LIRR trains will operate to and from Belmont Park for all racing days. First race begins at 1:00 PM. The track is closed for racing on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exception of Monday, October 13, Columbus Day. The track is also closed for racing on Wednesday, October 15.

Belmont Park is only a half-hour from midtown Manhattan by train.

Package Fares To Belmont Park purchased from station:

Zone 1 (NY, Brooklyn, & Woodside)

$6 one way & $11 round trip

Zone 3 (Jamaica)

$5 one way & $8 round trip

Package Fares To Belmont Park purchased on-board train:

Zone 1 (NY, Brooklyn, & Woodside)

$10 one way; round trip n/a

Zone 3 (Jamaica)

$9 one way; round trip n/a

Round-trip and one-way tickets for the “Belmont Special” can be purchased at LIRR stations in advance or on the day of the trip. Round trip tickets will not be sold on the train — only one-way tickets are available for purchase on the train.

Belmont Package tickets are also available at LIRR full-service “Tickets” machines at stations – just press the “Getaways/Packages” button on the first screen; then select “Belmont Park.” Payment can be made with cash, ATM/Debit or Credit Cards. The ticket office at Belmont is closed and there are no ticket machines at Belmont.

To avoid higher on-board fares and save time, customers should purchase round-trip tickets in advance. Commutation tickets are not valid on Belmont Park trains.
(Please note: CityTicket is not valid for travel to or from Belmont Park.)

Racing fans should pick up a copy of the LIRR’s Belmont Park Fall Meet timetable at line stations and western terminals, or contact the LIRR’s 24 hour Travel Information Center in New York City at 718 217 LIRR for schedule information. The Travel Information Center’s TDD telephone number for the hearing impaired is 718-558-3022. Belmont schedule information is also available on the LIRR’s website at www.mta.info.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Man Dies After Motorcycle Hits A MTA Bus

A few days ago, Newsday featured a brief story about a man who died after his motorcycle crashed into a MTA bus. Here is that brief story courtesy of Newsday:

NEW YORK – One man is dead after he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a New York City bus.

Police say 43-year-old Derrick Walker struck the MTA bus near the corner of Richmond Terrace and Morningstar Road on Staten Island. Walker was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police say the Thursday night accident remains under investigation. They say the bus driver remained with his vehicle and is not expected to be charged.

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