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Councils react to the MTA announced service investments

On July 19th, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that it is adding and extending service on almost 40 bus, subway and commuter rail lines to better serve its customers. These service investments will connect customers across the MTA’s service area, enhance access to mass transit, accommodate ridership growth and attract new transit customers.

According to the MTA press statment, the service investments will be phased in over several months and will cost an additional $29 million per year to operate when fully implemented. They are paid for with increased revenue generated by additional ridership on the MTA system, as well as savings from the MTA’s continued rigorous efforts to contain costs. MTA planners analyzed ridership data in conjunction with residential and business growth patterns and accessibility to transit to determine which routes, days and times would benefit the most from enhanced bus, subway and commuter rail service.

In response, the LIRRCC issued this press statement:

The Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council acknowledges the long overdue announcement by the MTA and LIRR of a proposed restoration of some service that was cut in 2010. The Council notes that that the system’s expanding ridership, which through May has grown more by than 5.5 percent over 2011, is to some extent reflected in these proposals through increased service on some branches. The Council is pleased with service restorations and improvements for Brooklyn and the Montauk and Long Beach branches, but these will not take place before Spring 2013. We note that the increase in weekend service on the Ronkonkoma branch, which extends only to Farmingdale, is the only service improvement proposed for 2012.

The LIRRCC is disappointed that several significant service cuts, including the loss of weekend service on the West Hempstead branch, year around weekend service on the Greenport branch, and half-hourly weekend service on the Port Washington branch, are not proposed to be reversed, and that service lost to cancellations and combinations of a number of individual trains is not proposed to be restored.

“We will continue to work for restoration of service lost to the 2010 cuts and for new service that reflects the ridership growth on the LIRR. We also continue to fight for the reversal of unreasonable ticket expiration and refund policies that were implemented along with the cuts ” LIRRCC Chair Mark Epstein said. “You can’t expect to continue growing Long Island Rail Road ridership without providing more service. We are at an exceptional point in time where transit advocates, local businesses, civic organizations, and local governments are searching for alternatives for commuting on Long Island, but for the MTA and the LIRR to be a major part of the solution, they must provide the service that Long Islanders need.”

Andrew Albert, Chair of NYCTRC, had this response:

“While this doesn’t restore everything that was lost two years ago, we are impressed with the package, particularly  addressing developing areas, new traffic generators, and of course, the permanent extension of the G line to Church Avenue. We are gratified that Chairman Lhota heard the cry from advocates, riders, and our elected officials, and we believe these additions will make the transit system a lot more usable, as well as encouraging more people to use it.”

David Buchwald, Chair of the MNRCC, offered these comments:

“The Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council is very pleased with the Metro-North service restorations and enhancements that have been announced by the MTA.  Metro-North is now on track to build on the record ridership it is already experiencing this year.  The expansion of off-peak service, particularly on the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven Lines, is critical to meet surging ridership growth of 6 percent per year in these periods.  The changes on the Pascack Valley Line will restore two important trains for peak hour commuters who, because of the cuts, found it difficult or impossible to use this service to get to work. Riders appreciate the work of the MTA and Metro-North that went into crafting this package of service investments.”

For a complete list of the proposed service investments click here.