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Grand Central Centennial Continues in 2013

On Monday, February 25, MTA New York City Transit brings FASTRACK to Upper Manhattan on the A Subway Line Icon Line.  There will be no service on the A Subway Line Icon between 168th Street and 207th Street from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., for four consecutive weeknights from Monday, February 25 to early Friday morning, March 1.  A Subway Line Icon trains will operate between Lefferts Blvd/Howard Beach and 168th Street.

Click here for more information.

MetroCards can now be refilled with a combination of both unlimited-ride time and pay-per-ride dollar values. This means customers can always refill their existing MetroCards instead of having to buy new ones.

 

MetroCard Gold image

Customers who hold unlimited-ride MetroCards, such as a 7-day, or 30-day or 7-Day Express Bus Plus pass, can now refill them by adding a dollar value, which will be used to pay per ride once their unlimited time expires.

 

Customers who hold pay-per-ride MetroCards can now refill them with 7-Day, 30-Day, or 7-Day Express Bus Plus passes. The Pass will be activated on the next use, and will continue until it expires, at which time the dollar value will be available again to pay per ride.

All MetroCard Vending Machines are now able to process both types of refills, allowing customers to refill their cards instead of throwing away cards that have run out of time or value.

The change comes in advance of the new $1 New Card Fee the MTA will begin charging March 3 for the purchase of a new MetroCard. This means customers will not have to pay the fee if they change the type of MetroCard they use.

“This card is the most flexible MetroCard ever offered and the best way to avoid paying the $1 New Card Fee by refilling and reusing your current card,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast. “We produce almost 160 million MetroCards each year at an annual cost of nearly $10 million. Many of the cards often end up as litter in the system, so by refilling your MetroCard, you’ll reduce expenses and help the environment.”

A MetroCard that holds both dollar value and unlimited ride time will use the unlimited time first. The dollar balance remains on the card to be available again once the unlimited time on that card expires. Also, each MetroCard can hold one additional refill of unlimited ride time that will take effect once the first unlimited period expires.

The new card provides the added flexibility for customers who now only need one MetroCard throughout the region. If you have an active Unlimited Ride pass with dollar value added to it and want to use an express bus, the PATH system or AirTrain, the value on the card will be available to pay for your additional fare.

MetroCards can be refilled with time and value before the expiration date printed on the card for about a year. If the card is about to expire or is recently expired, the MetroCard Vending Machine will offer the customer a new MetroCard with the same time and value on it at no charge. You can also visit any station service booth, where an agent can perform these transactions.

The $1 New Card Fee will not apply to people who buy MetroCards from vendors outside the subway system, reduced fare customers, users of EasyPayXpress, transit benefit organization customers who get MetroCards directly from employers or their benefit providers, and customers who purchase a combination railroad/MetroCard ticket.

Three simple rules for refilling your MetroCard

  1. When you purchase a 7-Day or 30-Day Unlimited Ride Pass, it will be activated the next time you use your Card;
  2. As soon as you’ve activated your Pass, you can refill your card with a second one, of either duration, to be used after your current Pass expires;
  3. You can refill your Card with Pay-per-Ride Value at any time. It will be available for use whenever there’s not a Pass on your card.

For example, if you have $5 in value remaining on your MetroCard and add a 7-day unlimited ride pass, the next time you use your card, it will activate the unlimited rides and the $5 value will only become available when the 7-day time period expires. Note again however, that if a customer wants to access locations where a 7-Day pass is not accepted such as express buses, PATH or AirTrain stations, the appropriate fare will be deducted, as long as there is enough monetary value on the card.

Refilling is easy at MetroCard Vending Machines:

  • At the MVM, select “MetroCard;”
  • Then select “Refill your Card;”
  • Insert your MetroCard;
  • The MVM will show you exactly what amount of time and/or value is on the card;
  • Select “Add Value” or “Add Time” and follow the instructions. That’s it!

Look for a brochure at any station for addition information.

On a scale of one to ten, a bride-to-be's loss of an engagement ring has to be right up there at the top. Losing it in the subway? Off the charts! But take heart, there are good people out there and NYC Transit has a top-notch team whose top priority is reuniting forgetful bus and subway customers with their lost belongings. And they are kept busy.

A young woman lost her ring in November on an N train in Brooklyn. Luckily, it was turned in to the station booth and sent to New York City Transit's Lost Property Unit.

The ring's owner used the Transit Lost and Found webpage to notify the unit of her loss and soon a match was made. The date, time, place and description (she even had a photo) all matched and she was happily reunited with her special ring. “That was a really happy ending,” said William Bonner, Supervisor of NYC Transit's Lost Property Unit.

Bonner oversees a staff of seven as they continually log in items and deal with sometimes, very distraught customers. But there have been a lot more happy customers, as Bonner and his team are finding more ways to get things back to their owners.

People seem to be losing more things; in 2011, the unit logged in 23,223 items. However in 2012, the staff took in 24,445 items. On the other hand, more items continue to be claimed. In 2011, 7,438 returns were made compared to 8,093 in 2012. Bonner credits the website with making returns easier and more efficient. People filled out 22,072 online claims forms in 2011 as opposed to 23,933 in 2012. Clearly customers are using the online forms to assist in the retrieval of their items.

Nowadays, electronics top the list of lost items – kindles, nooks, ipads, and smartphones are turned in daily. Any cash that is turned in is carefully counted, documented and banked. No money is kept at the Lost Property Unit. “Cellphones and wallets are plentiful,” said Bonner. “But with those items you can find a name or phone number and contact the owner directly. Other things are not so easy.”

For some unknown reason, empty animal carriers are turning up more and more on buses and subways. Bonner says, “Seems like people are taking the animals out and then walking off leaving the carrier under the seat.” Happily, so far, no animals have been left behind.

At the beginning of the school year, tons of backpacks with tons of textbooks were left on buses and subways by forgetful school children. If Bonner and his team can't find the child's name, they look for the school's name on the text books and contact the school. Kids won't get out of homework that easily.

Likewise, Bonner has a liaison with the Department of Education for forgotten musical instruments. But, privately owned instruments have to wait for their owners to file a claim. Many of the flutes, violins and trumpets that are turned in are held for a time and then auctioned off along with many of the other unclaimed items. Depending on their value, items are kept anywhere from three months to three years and then auctioned off in lots by Transit's Asset Recovery Unit.

If you lose something on a bus or subway, go to the New York City Bus and Subway page at www.mta.info and click on Lost and Found or follow simply click here and file a claim with as much information as possible. “Being as specific and detailed as you can in your description is key to the attempt to reunite you with your lost item,” said Bonner. Also, keep your reference number handy for tracking and claiming your item. And that will make for more happy endings.

The Transit's Lost Property Unit is located on the ACE line at 34th Street-Penn Station (8th Avenue) on the lower mezzanine. It is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The unit is closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

The ceremonial cutting of a bright blue ribbon marked completion of the five-month construction project at the M Line's Knickerbocker Avenue Station. The event was led by MTA NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast and attended by several community leaders.

Work on the two-platform, double track station was part of the $47 million project being performed at five elevated stations along the M line. With the completion of work at Knickerbocker, Central Avenue will also receive a station renewal, beginning in March and scheduled for completion in August 2013. Component work is also being performed at three M Line stations in Queens (Seneca Avenue, Forest Avenue and Fresh Pond Road)

“The combination of funding from the Federal Transit Administration and the MTA Capital Program made this work possible, as well as the significant improvements being made to the other four stations.” said Prendergast. “The MTA is a massive system and we work and invest continually to maintain a safe and aesthetically pleasing environment for our customers.”

During the five-month shutdown of the station, NYC Transit Division of Government Affairs and Community Relations maintained close contact with the local community board, elected officials, and nearby business owners keeping them informed on the progress of the project.

Closed to service on August 18, 2012, work at Knickerbocker Ave. included:

  • Full reconstruction of the control house
  • Refurbishment of the station agent booth
  • Full replacement of street and platform stairs
  • Installation of new windscreens, including MTA Arts for Transit artwork Structural repairs throughout the station
  • Installation of new drainage system
  • Repair of column bases

While the artwork has not yet been installed, Artist Cal Lane was commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design to create original artwork for the Knickerbocker Avenue station. The artwork, which will be installed in October, 2013, consists of 28 steel sculptured panels to be installed in the station's windscreens.

Each sculptured panel will be composed of a series of steel shovel patterns arranged in a shape reminiscent of Gothic architecture. The artwork will be hand cut into lace-like contemporary work that reflects architecture on the facades of the surrounding buildings in the neighborhood.

At Seneca Avenue, Forest Avenue and Fresh Pond Road stations, customers will see improvements to the control houses, stairs, platforms, support columns and flooring.

MTA customers who don't like pre-paying for tolls, maintaining a minimum balance or supplying a credit card can now choose a new payment plan called E-ZPass® Pay Per Trip where tolls are deducted from your bank account once the trip is taken using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system.

 

E-ZPass Pay Per Trip Logo

“We believe this is a feature customers will welcome,” said Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara. “We listened to customers who were reluctant to use E-ZPass because they don't like pre-paying for tolls and the result is MTA's new Pay Per Trip.”

 

The plan allows customers to link their MTA E-ZPass account to a checking account and pay for tolls on the day the electronic pass is used. There is no pre-paid balance required as there is with other E-ZPass plans.

While it is not necessary to link an account to a credit card, Pay Per Trip accounts without a backup payment source must pay a $10 tag deposit fee. Pay Per Trip is only available for individual account holders.

Pay Per Trip and other new initiatives such as the MTA Cash Reload Card make

E-ZPass even easier for customers to use. The MTA Cash Reload Card allows customers to replenish their E-ZPass account with cash at 2,500 Visa ReadyLink retail merchants throughout the metropolitan region, eliminating the need to go to one of three walk-in centers.

E-ZPass continues to be the best way to pay for tolls. When new tolls take effect March 3, the E-ZPass discount versus the cash toll will be even deeper with a savings of $2.17 per trip at most MTA crossings. “E-ZPass is the most efficient toll collection method and the best value for our customers,” said Ferrara. “We hope Pay Per Trip and the MTA Reload Card encourage even more people to try E-ZPass.”

Customers who want more information on Pay Per Trip and the MTA Reload Card can call the New York E-ZPass Service Center toll free number at 1-800 333-8655 or visit the Bridges and Tunnels homepage at www.mta.info. To view frequently asked questions about Pay Per Trip click here .

The Grand Central Terminal Centennial celebration continues throughout 2013, with a wide variety of events and activities that underscore the Terminal's impact on New York, as well as the history and enduring appeal of rail travel.

  • Feb. 2-March 15, 2013 -- Grand By Design: A Centennial Celebration of Grand Central Terminal (8 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily, Vanderbilt Hall in GCT) -- This multimedia exhibition, organized by the New York Transit Museum, continues through March 15, 2013 in Grand Central's historic Vanderbilt Hall.
  • March 6-July 7, 2013 -- On Time/Grand Central at 100 (8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Mon - Fri; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends, New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at GCT) -- Curated by MTA Arts for Transit, this exhibition features more than a dozen contemporary artists who capture and reimagine the passage of time during Grand Central's first 100 years. Includes work by Penelope Umbrico, Jim Campbell, Paul Himmel, Lothar Osterburg, Alexander Chen, Dara Friedman, Ian Dicke and more.
  • March 25-31, 2013 -- Nick Cave: Heard-NY (time TBA, Vanderbilt Hall in GCT) -- In a groundbreaking installation and performance piece by internationally acclaimed artist Nick Cave, thirty colorful “horses” take up residence in Grand Central Terminal and periodically break into movement. Choreographed exclusively for the Terminal, this is Cave's first public project in New York City. Co-presented by MTA Arts for Transit and Creative Time.
  • April 10, 2013 -- Keeping Time/Poets & Musicians Honor Grand Central (7 p.m., Vanderbilt Hall in GCT) -- A free special event featuring poets from the re-launched Poetry in Motion program including Billy Collins, Aracelis Girmay, Jeffrey Yang and others, and performances by Music Under New York musicians that highlight the cultural inspirations of the world's most famous train terminal. Presented by MTA Arts for Transit and the Poetry Society of America.
  • April 11, 2013 -- Grand Central Talks (12 noon, 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., Vanderbilt Hall in GCT) -- Authors, experts and historians discuss the development and construction of Grand Central Terminal, and consider the changes it made on New York City and the transportation industry. Organized by Metro-North Railroad and the New York Transit Museum with assistance from the New York Public Library.
  • May 10-12, 2013 -- Grand Centennial Parade of Trains Weekend (time TBA, Vanderbilt Hall and select platform tracks in GCT) -- Visit Grand Central for a weekend filled with the return of historic trains (including the 20th Century Limited) that travelled in and out of the Terminal and across the country in the heyday of luxury rail travel. Also featured: Metro-North Railroad equipment past and present; “railroadiana” displays and exhibits; and interactive family fun that will appeal to transportation enthusiasts of all types.
  • May 22, 2013 -- Grand Getaway Day (Vanderbilt Hall in GCT) -- Metro-North Railroad presents a showcase of the hottest vacation getaways available in its numerous destinations in New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut.
  • July 27-Nov. 3, 2013 -- The Next Level: Photographs by Hiroyuki Suzuki (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon - Fri; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends, Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at GCT) -- The future of New Yorkers' travel patterns in the next century is under construction now at Grand Central Terminal, eighteen stories beneath the ground. This behind-the-scenes look at the East Side Access project features captivating photos by Hiroyuki Suzuki.

Additional events in 2013 will include:

  • Winter 2013New Grand Central Tour Program – Metro-North Railroad will offer a new docent-led daily tour of Grand Central Terminal that complements the agency's official and popular audio tour program. Additional details to be announced.
  • Summer 2013 -- Preserving a Landmark; Creating a Legacy -- This summer, Metro-North Railroad unveils and dedicates a restored entrance to the Terminal at 89 E. 42nd Street. Additionally, resulting from a collaborative effort with the New York City Department of Transportation and the Grand Central Partnership, exterior enhancements will be completed on the Pershing Square viaduct at 42ndStreet and Park Avenue. Additional details to be announced.