MTA’s Proposed 2015 Budget Includes Systemwide Service Enhancements
July 29th, 2014
The MTA's new budget plan includes a number of service enhancements for New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers.
The service enhancements are all part of the MTA’s 2015 - 2018 financial plan, which includes $363 million in safety improvements, $125 million in increased operations and maintenance costs and $20 million in added service systemwide.
For subway riders the initiatives include extended weekend service along the J line from its current terminus at Chambers St to Broad St. Extending the line will improve connectivity by providing Williamsburg and Bushwick customers with a transfer at Fulton St. On average, 14,000 weekend customers will benefit from this added service when it is implemented in mid-2015.
And weekend service is going to get better for LIRR riders, too. Restoration of West Hempstead Branch weekend service will be implemented as soon as this fall. Starting on Saturday, November 22, weekend service returns to the West Hempstead Branch for the first time in four years with trains running, as they had in the past, every two hours between West Hempstead and Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn with connecting service at Valley Stream and Jamaica. Service was cut in 2010 as part of an MTA austerity plan in the face of a large budget gap.
As for Metro-North customers...
Starting this fall, the Railroad will slash parking fees at its West-of-Hudson stations to lower the cost of commuting and make the railroad an even better commuting option for residents of Orange and Rockland counties.
The one-year pilot program, announced at Monday's MTA Board meeting, will offer a “12 for 1” annual parking permit, with 12 months of parking available for the cost of just one month – a 91% reduction. This reduces the cost of annual parking from $235 to just $20.
Other systemwide improvements for New York City Transit include extending bus routes B13 and B83 in Brooklyn and the Bx5 in the Bronx in order to get riders to popular shopping centers.
And two new Select Bus Service routes will be added in the coming months as part of the MTA's ongoing partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation.
Transit's $15.5 million worth of investments also includes improved intermodal connectivity. As mandated by the City Council, NYC DOT will provide ferry service every 30 minutes at all times 7 days a week starting next spring. NYCT bus and Staten Island Railway trips will be added or adjusted to connect to the new ferry trips.
The $3.4 million package of improvements for Long Island Rail Road includes upgrades on Huntington, Port Washington, Babylon, Hempstead, Oyster Bay and Montauk branches as well as service to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Barclays Center. Also included in the package is the addition of two cars to six rush hour trains that are at or near capacity.
As ridership continues to grow on Long Island Rail Road (in June the LIRR carried more customers than it has in any month in almost six years it continues to on Metro-North Railroad, as well.
On the Port Jervis Line, ridership is up four percent since the beginning of 2014 alone. The parking fee reduction is intended to recapture some of the ridership lost in recent years.
In addition, beginning in late 2015, Metro-North plans to initiate a new outbound, midday Port Jervis Line train to close a nearly three-hour service gap.