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MTA Committee Meeting Testimony- Making Great Progress for Riders!

Good morning! I’m Kara Gurl, Research and Communications Associate at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC.  

 From Wassaic to Montauk, we’re encouraged by many announcements about improvements in the works for both Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.  

 On Metro-North, the new schedules that took effect yesterday including new weekday express trains are a welcome change. Hopefully, this will help put the “rush” back in “rush hour” for riders whose commutes were slowed with less express service. It’s also great that Hudson Line service will be improved through Dobbs Ferry following repairs to equipment damaged during Hurricane Ida, and we will continue to stress the importance of preparing our transit system from the impacts of climate change. The station improvements announced on Friday to make Hartsdale, Scarsdale and Purdy’s Harlem Line stations accessible are another important step towards a fully accessible transit system.  

 Out East, it’s exciting to hear that the Long Island Rail Road Elmont-UBS station is almost complete after the installation of a new pedestrian overpass. Riders will soon be able to access the station in both directions, making it the best option to travel to and from the new arena. Even better, construction is both on time and on budget to deliver the first new Long Island Rail Road station in almost 50 years to riders. 

 We’re also looking forward to hearing about the First- and Last-Mile Station Access Mobility Study today. Riders don’t start or end their trips at the train station, so making it easier to get to and from stations using more modes of transportation is a great way to eliminate some of the barriers preventing lapsed riders from returning.  

 The new fare discount pilot programs, including expanded City Ticket and a 20% discounted 20-trip ticket, are great for riders and we hope to see them expanded in the future. In the coming months, we encourage you to share numbers on how many people are taking advantage of these discounts and your metrics for success.  

 We’re confident that these improvements and pilot programs will help strengthen both railroads and encourage more riders to get back on board. They’re vital to making an accessible, reliable, and equitable transit system around the region. Thank you.