NYC Transit Introduces Bike Racks

MTA NYC Transit is finally joining the biking evolution by introducing bike racks. The initial roll out will occur on two Staten Island bus routes. Here are more details:

Starting on Sunday, September 6, MTA New York City Transit will add bicycle racks on two Staten Island bus routes, the first time that such equipment has been made available for public use on NYC Transit.

The yearlong Bike & Ride pilot will roll out on the S53 and S93 routes, which run between Staten Island and the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The two lines were chosen for their safe access to current and planned bicycle paths, ridership and routes, which serve a major college campus where bicycling is a popular commuting option.

“Bringing the Bike & Ride program to the S53 and S93 will increase the mobility of students who are traveling between home and campus. Before this program, our customers had no direct way to travel with their bicycles on public transportation between Brooklyn and Staten Island. Now customers can take advantage of the city’s bike lanes and greenways without worrying about how to transport their bicycles,” said Darryl C. Irick, President of MTA Bus and Senior Vice President, NYC Transit Department of Buses. “A future expansion will depend on results of this pilot and will most likely focus on routes that cross bridges.”

“This is an exciting first step in bringing New York in line with many other cities when it comes to putting bike racks on buses,” said NYC DOT Commissioner and MTA Board Member Polly Trottenberg. “These bus routes over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will provide a key connection for cyclists between Brooklyn and Staten Island. DOT looks forward to working with the MTA to expand Bike and Ride in the future.”

The bike racks have been installed on a dedicated fleet of buses that serve the two routes. During the pilot, NYC Transit will test the use of three types of front-mounted racks, each of which can fit up to two non-collapsible conventional bicycles. The racks have a mechanism that secures the bicycle in place during transit. Customers are responsible for loading and unloading their own bicycles by following instructions that are affixed to the racks.

Over the course of the pilot, NYC Transit will study the feasibility of continuing and/or expanding the program to other boroughs by looking at any impacts on service, safety, fleet maintenance, training, operations, costs and legal issues. A test run in March was conducted with no major issues, though managers noted possible locations with tight turns along the routes and the inability to machine-wash the fronts of buses as potential safety and maintenance issues, which are being addressed.

The racks are free to use and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Customers who wish to transport their bicycles must wait for a bus with an available rack. There is no age restriction on usage but the customer must be able to load and unload the bicycle safely and securely, and parents or guardians are asked to use caution when allowing minors to use the racks. Any customer who cannot safely operate the bicycle rack may be restricted from using the service.

The S53 route operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day between Park Avenue/Richmond Terrace on Staten Island and the 86 St R station in Brooklyn. Its route overlaps in some places with the S93, which operates limited-stop service weekdays between the College of Staten Island campus and the 86 St R station. Customers who use S53 stops on Lily Pond Avenue may use dedicated bike lanes there, and bike lanes on Clove Road along the route are scheduled to open later this year.

NYC Transit has purchased a total of 38 racks at a cost of $42,000. The S53, the second busiest bus route on Staten Island, serves an average of 10,100 customers on an average weekday. The S93 route has an average weekday ridership of 3,250 customers

I wonder how popular they will become if they ever make it system wide. My initial concern would be the delay in boarding times along routes that already face scheduling issues as it is (especially in Manhattan). We shall see how this experiment goes.

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Service Diversions 08-31-15

I apologize for not having the Service Diversions posted this weekend. However they have been updated for the current week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

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3 NYC Subway Train Operators Attacked

Saturday night was not a good one for 3 NYC Subway train operators who were attacked in separate incidents that occurred within a short time frame.

The unfortunate events first began in Manhattan where a J Train train operator was punched by a lowlife who opened his cab door at the Essex Street station. Dan Rivoli of the New York Daily News has more in this report:

A trio of subway riders went wild on the rails Saturday night, attacking train operators in separate incidents, union and transit officials said Monday.

The first attack happened on the J train at the Essex St. station around 8:30 p.m., when a man opened the train operator’s cab door and slugged him in the head.

The thug fled and the transit worker was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Later, at 9:19 p.m., an unruly rider at the Euclid Ave. stop in East New York hurled a beer can at a train operator, hitting him in the right arm.

The indignities against transit workers that night continued at 10:15 p.m. when a man spit on an operator’s face while inside the Court Square station on the G line.

Police and EMS went to the scene and took the train operator to Mount Sinai Hospital.

Click here for the complete report.

I strongly concur with the sentiments shared by Transport Workers Union Local 100 vice president Kevin Harrington who noted “All too often, transit employees feel alone, without protection as they do their jobs in an all too hostile environment that is often a dumping zone for the mentally ill or a home for street criminals”.

While our elected officials did something good by increasing punishment for crimes against transit workers, it still does not seem like such incidents are enforced enough to make it a deterrent to the people who commit these crimes.

Growing up in a transit family and seeing first hand what attacks do to such vulnerable employees, I strongly urge that they get better protection in the system as anything less is completely unacceptable.

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MTA Worker Commits Suicide In Subway Station

Sadly the weekend got off to a grim start in the world of transit as a MTA maintenance worker committed suicide after jumping in front of a Bronx-bound 6 Train shortly before the afternoon rush hour on Friday. Rocco Parascandola of the New York Daily News has more:

The MTA maintenance worker was killed Friday afternoon when she leapt in front of an oncoming Midtown subway train — at the exact spot where she knew the impact would certainly kill her, officials and police sources said.

McClain, 45, jumped in front of a northbound 6 train at the 59th St. station about 2:45 p.m., the sources said.
The worker jumped at the end of the platform, where the uptown train barrels into the station, police sources said.

Click here for the complete report.

I would like to take this time & offer my deepest condolences to the friends & family of Kelly McClain. May you all do your best to find peace during these troubling times.

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Sen Schumer Seeks $550M For Repairs

In a followup to the story of the U.S. District Court’s decision to cap the payout at $125M for Amtrak for superstorm Sandy damage, Senator Chuck Schumer is seeking $550M in unused superstorm Sandy funds to help Amtrak fund its proposed project to fix the East River tunnels. Newsday Transit Reporter Alfonso A. Castillo has more:

Sen. Chuck Schumer has asked federal officials to use $550 million in untapped Sandy aid to help pay for repairs to the badly damaged East River tunnels primarily used by the Long Island Rail Road.

In a letter written Saturday, Schumer urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate to tap $800 million of unobligated federal superstorm Sandy funding to help pull Amtrak, which owns the tunnels, out of the fiscal jam caused by a recent federal court decision.

In his letter, Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the court decision could cause Amtrak to delay repairs “for a number of years” as it waits for a decision on an appeal. That could also set back the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access project to link the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. Amtrak and MTA officials have said the schedules of the two projects need to be closely coordinated.

“This is simply unacceptable,” Schumer wrote. “Both projects — the repair of the East River Tubes and the East Side Access project — are simply too important to Long Island, NYC, New Jersey and all of the New York metro region to be placed into jeopardy.”

Click here for the complete report.

While I don’t agree with a lot of Senator Schumer’s positions, I give him a lot of credit for stepping up & fighting for funding of such an important transit infrastructure project. He unlike many other elected officials in our area at least understands that our region needs proper funding to help build & maintain arguably the world’s most important transit infrastructure.

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