‘Know Before You Go’ During Winter Storms
Winter weather has come early and often to our region with two major storms hitting Long Island and the New York City area since Christmas.
In the wake of the storms, the LIRR has reviewed our response and is working to improve how we communicate with customers during service disruptions caused by severe weather. We are also improving procedures to make sure we are doing everything possible to keep LIRR service running as long as is safely possible.
We know you depend upon the LIRR to get to and from work and other destinations, especially during severe weather when traveling by car may be less convenient.
When we resumed some service on December 28 after the Blizzard of 2010, we did not do a good enough job of communicating train departure times. We also did not make enough station announcements to keep customers informed of what was happening on our system as we worked to restore full service while digging out from under up to 20 inches of snow that fell across the region. We did better during the January 11-12 storm.
In the future, we will do our best to post a special Storm Recovery Timetable on our website so that customers know what level of LIRR service to expect after a storm. We also have taken steps to ensure that the electronic signs and automated train announcements at branch line stations display the proper train times, even during a service disruption.
The system malfunctioned on December 28, leading to confusion among customers.
We are working to improve the flexibility of the electronic sign system so that it can be more easily programmed as changes in the train schedule occur. In addition, we are adding personnel to our command center in Jamaica where station announcements are made during a storm.
While we do everything we can to prepare for a storm and to keep service running as long as possible, it may become necessary for the safety of our customers and employees to suspend service if snow reaches between 10-13 inches. This is the level where electric trains (80 percent of LIRR service) may have difficulty drawing sufficient power from the third rail. As a reminder, storm conditions can be very fluid and challenging.
Please check our website before venturing out in a storm or immediately after one, sign up for our email alerts, listen to station
announcements, call our Travel Information Center and monitor media reports for the very latest information. If the forecasts call for blizzard conditions and/or heavy snow, please stay at home if possible until conditions improve. Sign up for free email alerts sent to your cell phone by going to www.mymtaalerts.com.
Please know we are always looking to improve our performance and we apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused during these storms. Thank you for your patience when suspensions occur and recovery operations are underway.
New Ticket & Fare Policies
A reminder, once again, of the new ticket and fare policies that went into effect on December 30, 2010:
- One-way and round-trip tickets (purchased on or after December 30, 2010) are valid for 14 days, including date of sale.
- Ten-trip tickets (purchased on or after December 30, 2010) are valid for 6 months from date of sale.
- A $10 refund processing fee will be charged for each refund transaction for all tickets purchased on or after December 30, 2010.
- Round-trip tickets will no longer be sold onboard trains; only one-way tickets will be sold onboard trains.
- Step-up fees and extension-of-ride fees have been rounded up to the nearest dollar.
Remember, monthly tickets still provide up to a 50% discount compared to the price of single-ride tickets. Weekly tickets, good Saturday through Friday, are still good for a 30% savings over the cost of single ride tickets. The Family Fare of no more than $1 apiece each way for up to 4 children (ages 5-11) traveling with an adult is still a bargain for a family day/weekend trip to the City. Please check the LIRR website for details or call 718-217-5477 (718-217-LIRR) if you have further questions.
Meet the Managers
A new program called “Meet the Managers” kicks off this month and the first session takes place in Penn Station on Tuesday, January 25, from 4 PM to 7 PM. Our 2011 version of this program will focus on a new branch each month. This month, Port Washington Branch, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside station customers can take their questions, suggestions and concerns directly to the people in charge. Then on Tuesday, February 15, from 4 PM to 7 PM, LIRR managers will answer customer questions about the Ronkonkoma Branch (including east to Greenport) at the next “Meet The Managers.”
Transit Benefits Extended - $avings for LIRR Commuters
Action by Congress has extended employer-sponsored tax-free transit benefit programs at the $230 level for another year. This Federal program lowers the cost of getting to and from work via public transit by allowing a pretax deduction of up to $230 monthly for commuting costs. LIRR commuters could see annual savings of up to $1,000 through this program. For further information check with your employer or link to: www.mta.info/mta/farebenefits.htm.
Getting Away but Staying Near
Dream of getting away to sunny climes? The LIRR is your way to Greece and many other warm destinations this season.
We invite you to check out our NY Times Travel Show package. From February 25-27, more than 500 exhibitors from more than 150 countries will be at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center offering a view of their home countries.
The LIRR discount package includes up to 30% savings on a getaway day featuring food tastings, giveaways, contests, sweepstakes and more. How about a shopping getaway?
Just across the street from Penn Station is the world’s largest department store, and the LIRR’s Macy's VIP Shopping package includes a Macy’s VIP Coupon good for a 10% discount on just about everything in the store. For further information on “getting away but staying near” with the LIRR check out our website.
December’s OTP was 92.12%. The overall OTP for 2010 was 92.61%.
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