South Fork Commuter Connection
MTA Long Island Rail Road President Helena E. Williams and East End elected officials have announced the implementation of enhanced LIRR train service for the South Fork to mitigate traffic congestion during the reconstruction of County Road 39.
"In response to community requests, the LIRR is nearly doubling its service to East End communities during the coming months. We are pleased to be partnering with local East End communities, elected officials and Suffolk County to help mitigate traffic congestion during the construction work on County Road 39," said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. "I am proud that the LIRR has been able to work with community leaders on this initiative."
State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. stated, "South Fork community leaders have long envisioned improved rail and bus service as a means of reducing traffic congestion on the South Fork. The current CR 39 construction project has provided us with an opportunity to request increased rail service."
The enhanced service plan calls for the three additional eastbound, weekday trains from Speonk - two terminating in Montauk and one in East Hampton. There will also be three additional westbound, weekday trains - two originating from Montauk and one from East Hampton - terminating at Speonk.
Partnering with the LIRR's service, local communities have agreed to provide connecting bus service from the LIRR's South Fork train stations to local business districts.
As part of the enhanced South Fork service initiative, the LIRR has modified its current fare structure to allow customers to pay a uniform intra-zone fare for travel between Speonk and Montauk. Under this plan, the fare will be the same whether customers are traveling from Speonk or Westhampton during the enhanced service period. It is expected that this fare modification will help direct new customers to the Speonk Station, which is easily accessible and has parking available to meet customer needs. The modified fare will be $2.25 one-way; $1.00 one-way for seniors and disabled riders. The modified weekly fare will be $20 and the monthly fare $66.
"I am indebted to the foresight of new LIRR President Helena Williams. Her willingness to think 'outside the box' has allowed our residents to have a real alternative to the traffic gridlock that is inevitable during the CR 39 project over the next 7-8 months," said State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. "It could also prove to be the catalyst to future mass transit initiatives on the East End. I urge all my constituents to consider the train to meet their commuting needs from now until Memorial Day."
The LIRR's service initiative is expected to create a three-fold benefit of mitigating traffic along County Road 39 during the "rush hour" portions of the day; promoting the use of public transportation on the East End of Long Island, and enhancing the quality of life for East End commuters.
"We are happy to be a partner in this bi-partisan, multi-leveled approach to solving a very real problem to our mutual constituents and customers," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. "I would also like to thank new LIRR President Helena Williams for adopting a 'can-do' rather than a 'can't-do' attitude."
The enhanced service to the South Fork is estimated to cost the LIRR approximately $84,000 per month. Included in this estimate are the costs of fuel, cleaning and maintenance and crew costs. For the seven-month service period, the total LIRR cost is estimated at $588,000.
The LIRR has worked with Assemblyman Fred Thiele and Senator Kenneth LaValle, U.S. Congressman Tim Bishop, and County Executive Steve Levy to fund the additional operating expenses that would be incurred with this enhanced service. As a result, full funding is committed for the service based upon a contribution of federal funds through the assistance of Congressman Tim Bishop, New York State funds through the assistance of Senator Kenneth LaValle, and County funds through the efforts of Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.
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