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Why Wait for Free Out-of-System Transfers Between the L and 3 Lines? Implement Them Now!

The Livonia Av L line and Junius St 3 line stations are one block apart, yet because they are two distinct stations a transfer between them requires a rider to pay a second fare.

For many years, the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) has advocated for a free transfer at this location. In addition, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a longtime proponent of transit improvements in outer Brooklyn, has been outspoken about the benefits of creating a transfer point between the two stations, in part because of the impact of increased development in Brownsville, East New York, and Canarsie on L and 3 line ridership.

The MTA has committed to providing 2 L line walking transfers during the 2019 L line shutdown.  The walking transfers are scheduled to be between Livonia Av (L) and Junius St (3) stations, and between the Lorimer (J/M/Z) and Broadway (G) stations, thus acknowledging the importance of a connection. But if a connection would be advantageous in 2019, wouldn’t it be just as beneficial now? Why not implement the free transfer now, in advance of all the impending construction?

The importance of the free transfer is increased by the fact that the L and 3 lines in this area serve communities with relatively high poverty rates, where some riders may lack the means to purchase either a weekly or monthly MetroCard. Moreover, New York City Transit has the capacity to implement a free transfer between two unconnected subway systems, as has been done at the Lexington Av/59th St and Lexington Av/63rd St stations. It is difficult to understand why riders must wait until 2019, when L train construction begins, to transfer between these two stations without additional expense when it could benefit a lot of people right now.

The MTA also plans a long-term capital program solution.

The additional good news for riders in the long term is that the MTA has responded to calls for a structural internal connection between the Livonia Av and Junius St stations by including  $45 million in the 2015-2019 Capital Program for building a physical connection between the two stations and the subsequent ADA upgrades to the stations. Although the funding is allocated for 2018 in the Capital Program, it is uncertain when construction will actually begin.

NYC Transit obviously recognizes the merits of creating a transfer point between the Livonia Av and Junius street stations, but if free transfers make sense in 2019, they make sense now. The MTA should enable free out-of-station transfers, effective immediately.