Grand Central's Horses
The MTA Bus Company is well along the road to greening its operation through the incorporation of sustainable technology. Aside from the vital fact that MTA buses remove tens of thousands of cars from area streets and highways, the agency has been at the developmental forefront of technologies and practices intended to make municipal bus transportation as ecologically benign as possible.
Customers are already familiar with the agency's fleet of Hybrid-Electric buses. Currently, more than 360 hybrid buses are operating for MTA Bus Company-- buses that, on average, are 30 percent cleaner than their conventional diesel counterparts. Hybrids have also proven to be more fuel efficient with a clear advantage in the stop-and-go driving conditions seen throughout the New York metropolitan area.
While the hybrids are common sights on the streets these days, the technology is still evolving, particularly in the area of storage batteries. MTA Bus Company is currently testing Orion Hybrid/Electrics with a lithium-ion battery array in place of the lead-acid batteries. These lithium batteries have a longer life-span, the ability to capture more of the braking energy from the bus, and is much lighter, trimming about 3,200 pounds off the 4,000 pound weight of the lead-acid batteries.
In order to further increase the efficiency of the hybrids, MTA Bus Company has changed the propulsion management software to dial back the acceleration rate so that the bus consumes less fuel. As oil prices climb higher this becomes even more important.
Of course, in an agency as large as MTA Bus Company, the agency looks for improvements in all areas, including the recycling of usable parts from buses that are being retired. Bus Company President Joseph Smith has taken a hard look at how his department disposes of items. "In the past we had been scrapping our buses intact, but that makes little sense when we are still operating similar vehicles. An item as simple as a bus window costs upwards of $900.00 apiece. That's money we're saving by removing the windows from scrap buses and reusing them when needed," Smith explained.
Guided by a responsibility to the environment and the need to make more efficient use of funding, MTA Bus Company will continue to look hard to find savings in other areas as the agency continues to attract more riders. New battery technology and the recycling old bus parts are impressive, but it won't end there.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is reminding customers that fares and tolls will increase at the beginning of March.
The need for additional revenue, which had been assumed in MTA budget forecasts beginning in 2009, was confirmed in July 2012. The MTA announced specific fare and toll increase proposals last October. The proposals were reviewed at a series of eight public hearings and four public video submission sessions held throughout the region in November. The MTA Board adopted the increases on December 19.
Fare and toll increase details follow for each of the MTA's services.
New York City Subway, Buses in New York City, Staten Island Railway & Access-A-Ride
New fare rates for subways, buses, Staten Island Railway (SIR) and Access-A-Ride will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, March 3.
The base fare for subways, local buses, SIR and Access-A-Ride is rising to $2.50 from $2.25; the base fare for express buses is rising to $6.00 from $5.50. The pay-per-ride bonus discount will be reduced to 5% from 7%, but will now be available for adding as little as $5 onto a MetroCard, down from $10 previously. A Single Ride Ticket purchased from MetroCard Vending Machines is rising to $2.75 from $2.50.
The 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCard will cost $112, up from $104. The 7-day unlimited-ride MetroCard will cost $30, up from $29. The 7-day express bus plus MetroCard will cost $55, up from $50. Unlimited-ride MetroCards purchased on March 2 or earlier must be activated by Monday, March 11, to obtain full value. Those activated after that date will allow travel through April 9 for 30-day cards and March 17 for 7-day cards. Any remaining time will be refunded on a pro-rated basis.
A $1 fee will be charged for each new MetroCard purchased at a MetroCard Vending Machine or station booth. At commuter rail stations, the $1 card fee will be applied to MetroCards providing bus and/or subway travel only; the $1 fee will not be applied to Joint Rail MetroCards providing subway, bus and commuter rail service. Customers can avoid this fee by keeping their MetroCard and refilling it at any vending machine or station booth. MetroCards now can be refilled with any combination of unlimited-ride time and/or pay-per-ride dollars. Customers turning in an expired or damaged card will be provided a new card at no charge. There are also exemptions for those who buy cards at out-of-system merchants or participate in the EasyPayXpress program or a pre-tax benefit program.
More information about fares on subways, buses and SIR can be found here: http://mta.info/nyct/fare/NewFares.htm
Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad
New fares went into effect on the LIRR and Metro-North on Friday, March 1 for monthly, one-way, round-trip, and 10-trip ticket holders. For those using weekly tickets, which are always valid from Saturday through the following Friday, new fares take effect on Saturday, March 2.
On average, most commuter rail tickets have increased between 8.2% and 9.3%, depending on ticket type and distance traveled. The discounted CityTicket fare for one-way weekend travel within New York City has increased to $4.00 from $3.75, starting March 2.
More information about fares on Long Island Rail Road can be found here:
More information about fares on Metro-North Railroad can be found here:
MTA Bridges and Tunnels
New toll rates on the seven bridges and two tunnels that are operated and maintained by the MTA will go into effect at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 3. At most crossings, tolls are rising to $5.33 from $4.80 for E-ZPass customers and to $7.50 from $6.50 for cash customers.
For more details about ways to save on tolls, click here.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo welcomed the announcement of nearly $200 million in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) with
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo welcomed the
Superstorm Sandy recovery.
The $193.1 million in total funding includes initial reimbursement from the FTA for costs incurred by New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad during preparation for the storm through January 29. The funding also includes millions of dollars to rebuild MTA’s bridges and tunnels and various other facilities. It is the first round of funding the MTA has received to help recover from Sandy and rebuild stronger.
$141.6 Million for New York City Transit
The MTA has secured $141.6 million in vital funding from the FTA’s new Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program to help repair, reconstruct and replace MTA New York City Transit equipment and facilities that were badly damaged.
The funds will cover costs associated with pre-storm preparations of the subway, bus and Staten Island Railway system such as placing sandbags, covering vent openings and clearing drains. The FTA funds will also pay for initial capital work and repairs necessary at the Coney Island Yard, which was severely flooded as a result of the storm. New switch motors needed to be installed and 30 track switches needed to be tested and put back in service. The funds will also cover the costs of implementing a “bus bridge” that provided shuttle service for customers between Manhattan’s east side and three Brooklyn subway stations on November 1 and 2. The funding will also cover the initial scope and design efforts for additional restoration work, including work in under-river tubes, replacing signal interlockings and repairing line equipment such as fan plants and pump rooms. This work, which is part of a larger capital repair program needed to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy, will require future funding commitments.
“These federal dollars will help cover the costs of pre-storm preparations and initial recovery work that made it possible for the MTA to restore service as quickly as possible after the storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “The FTA’s quick action will help rebuild our battered transit infrastructure and restore full service for the millions of commuters who rely on the MTA every day.”
“Prior to the onset of Sandy, our goal was to restore service as quickly and safely as possible, and we were able to do that. These federal funds will go a long way to help the MTA pay for the initial costs associated with that effort,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast. “But much work remains and we will continue working on the next series of improvements, entering into contracts for projects that are essential to our customers including the full restoration of service to the Rockaways and to South Ferry station.”
$17.9 Million to Restore A Line in Rockaways
The $141.6 million funding for New York City Transit includes $17.9 million for initial work to restore the heavily damaged A line in the Rockaways, parts of which were washed away during Sandy. Sandy damaged 3.6 miles of the A line between Howard Beach and the Rockaways section of Queens as its tidal surge washed away fencing and stone ballast, dumped tons of debris onto tracks and platforms, ripped away cables and left the entire signal system underwater. The A line is anticipated to reopen in summer 2013.
“The devastation in the Rockaways has forced more than 30,000 daily subway riders to find alternate means to get around, and the sooner we can restore the A train to them, the better off they will be,” Governor Cuomo said. “We should be grateful for the efforts of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff to begin the flow of essential funding to repair this and other critical transportation systems damaged by Sandy.”
$20.9 Million for Long Island Rail Road
The MTA has been awarded $20.9 million by the FTA the Long Island Rail Road’s initial costs of preparing for and recovering from Sandy. During Sandy, the LIRR suspended service, moved over 1,000 train cars to elevated areas, secured hundreds of grade crossings over 700 miles of track, and protected low-lying properties from flooding. Once the storm passed, LIRR crews worked around the clock to clear more than 600 trees and utility poles, boats and other debris from rights-of-way; to restore washed-out tracks and repair third rails, switches and signals; and to repair more than 20 electrical substations flooded and damaged by the storm. The first limited service was restored two days after Sandy hit. The LIRR is working with the FTA to pursue reimbursement for the most serious infrastructure damage caused by the storm, which occurred when corrosive salt water flooded the East River tunnels, the West Side Yard, the Long Island City Yard and the Long Beach Branch.
“The Long Island Rail Road took extraordinary steps to keep its equipment out of harm’s way before the storm, to assess damage as the storm passed through Long Island and to begin restoring train service just two days later,” Governor Cuomo said. “The FTA has begun the important work of delivering federal funding to reimburse the LIRR for its vital efforts.”
"This funding is critical to help the LIRR recover financially from some of the costs from Sandy,” Prendergast said. “We are pursuing every available dollar to reimburse the LIRR for Sandy-related costs. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this issue."
$14.9 Million for Metro-North Railroad
The MTA will receive $14.9 million to begin reimbursement for Metro-North Railroad’s preparation, emergency response and service restoration costs from Superstorm Sandy. Some $2.7 million of the funding is allocated for the Connecticut portion of Metro-North’s New Haven Line. The FTA’s Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program will cover $11.2 million of the operating costs Metro-North incurred to prepare for the storm, make immediate repairs and re-establish service. The federal funding reimburses Metro-North for moving equipment to safe locations, filling and placing sandbags, operating test and patrol trains, cleaning cars for service restoration, assessing safety and environmental conditions, and providing up-to-date information to customers throughout the storm and its aftermath. The FTA funding also includes another $3 million to repair 17 rail cars and seven locomotives damaged by flood waters, as well as $720,000 to remove fallen, damaged and compromised trees that are in close proximity to critical infrastructure along miles of right-of-way. Metro-North is working with the FTA to pursue reimbursement for long-term capital investments necessary to restore Hudson Line infrastructure to pre-storm conditions, such as restoring the shoreline and right-of-way as well as power, signal and communications infrastructure.
“Metro-North is the largest commuter railroad in America, and its actions to protect its fleet and restore service after the most devastating storm in its history were critical to New York’s recovery from the storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “This federal funding is crucial to begin reimbursing the railroad for the significant costs it incurred through that work.”
“This reimbursement recognizes the tremendous effort put forth by Metro-North employees who worked around the clock to prepare for the storm and to protect the railroad,” Prendergast said. “We are gratified that the FTA has acted so quickly to begin making the railroad whole for its efforts.”
$3 Million for Bridges and Tunnels
The MTA will receive $3 million in expedited funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for work at its seven bridges and two tunnels. About $2.7 million of the FEMA funds will go towards costs associated with dewatering the Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) and Queens Midtown tunnels, which were collectively flooded with approximately 72 million of gallons of brackish, oily water when Sandy struck October 29. The remaining $351,611 will cover costs associated with downed light posts, signs, trees, and damage to service buildings and toll plaza infrastructure across the nine facilities. MTA Bridges and Tunnels is working with FEMA to pursue reimbursement for the remainder of its post-Sandy emergency recovery costs, as well as costs associated with permanent repairs. At the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel, some partial temporary work must still be completed or is complete but not yet funded.
“We saw how New York suffered when both the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown tunnels were out of commission after Sandy, and we saw the enormous amount of work MTA Bridges and Tunnels did to get them open again,” Governor Cuomo said. “The work is far from done, however. This money represents a first, important commitment by FEMA, and it will help ensure these vital transportation links are fully restored.”
“We are grateful for the governor’s continuing support to return these two critical transportation links to the condition they were in before Sandy,” said Prendergast said. “These tunnels were devastated from floor to ceiling, and it is no small feat to try and make these complex and time-consuming repairs while continuing to move an average 119,000 vehicles through them each day.”
As Long island Rail Road crews work around-the-clock to repair 3,700 feet of railroad track damaged when a train derailed on Monday customers should expect some train cancellations during the AM peak and during the PM peak on Wednesday, March 20, Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22.
Each day, out of a normal compliment of 144 AM peak trains, the LIRR is canceling 11 trains, diverting 5 from Penn Station to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn while four other trains will only go as far as Jamaica. During the PM peak, when the Railroad normally runs 128 trains, it is canceling 7 trains and originating one train's run at Jamaica instead of Hunterspoint Avenue. The specific trains being cancelled or diverted are listed below.
The damage put one of four tracks connecting Jamaica and Penn Station out of commission, thus preventing the LIRR from running its full schedule of rush hour trains. Off-peak schedules are not affected. An investigation is under way regarding the cause of the derailment.
Once the damaged trains were re-railed and moved to repair shops, track crews started removing and replacing damaged track, running rail and electrified third rail. They are equipped with specialized concrete track-laying machinery that will remove and replace some 1,600 damaged concrete ties. Once the new concrete ties are in place, the running rails and third rail are then re-installed on this almost three-quarter mile stretch of track.
The following AM Peak trains will be cancelled or diverted on Wednesday, March 20, Thursday, March 21, and Friday, March 22. Customers should anticipate delays and allow for extra travel time.
- The 5:56 AM train from Babylon, due Penn at 6:59 AM, will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.
- The 6:14AM train from Massapequa Park, due Penn at 7:08 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 6:12 AM train from Babylon to Penn, which will make an added stop at Rockville Centre; and the 6:26 AM train from Massapequa Park to Penn.
- The 6:31AM train from Lindenhurst, due Penn at 7:33 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 6:32 AM train from Babylon, due Penn at 7:37 AM.
- The 6:57 AM train from Freeport due Penn at 7:40 AM is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 6:56AM train from Wantagh due Penn at 7:43 AM, making added stops at Freeport, Baldwin and Rockville Centre.
- The 7:29 AM train from Freeport, due Penn at 8:13 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 7:26 AM train from Wantagh, due Penn at 8:16 AM, making an added stop at Freeport; and by the 7:10 AM train from Babylon, due Penn at 8:20 AM, which will make added stops at Baldwin and Rockville Centre.
- The 7:48 AM train from Wantagh, due Penn at 8:40 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 7:29 AM train from Babylon, due Atlantic Terminal at 8:43 AM. Customers for Penn Station must change at Jamaica for a NY train.
- The 7:37 AM train from Babylon, due Penn at 8:48 AM, will be canceled at Jamaica. Customers will be accommodated by the next westbound train to Penn.
- The 8:10 AM train from Freeport, due Penn at 8:50 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 8:25 AM train from Freeport, due Penn at 9:08 AM, and by the 7:45 AM train from Babylon, due Penn at 8:56 AM, which will make added stops at Freeport, Baldwin and Rockville Centre.
- The 8:25 AM train from Freeport, due Penn at 9:08 AM, will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.
Far Rockaway Branch
- The 8:03 AM train from Valley Stream, due Penn at 8:42 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 7:49 AM train from Far Rockaway, due Penn at 8:42 AM, making added stops at Valley Stream, Rosedale, Laurelton, Locust Manor, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside.
- The 8:21 AM train from Far Rockaway, due Penn at 9:17 AM, will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.
- The 6:58 AM train from Hempstead due Penn at 7:52 AM will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal. Customers will be accommodated by the 6:39 AM train from Ronkonkoma due Penn at 8:00 AM will make an added stop at Forest Hills.
- The 7:12 AM train from Hempstead, due Penn at 8:03 AM, will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal.
Long Beach Branch:
- The 7:23 AM train from Long Beach, due Penn at 8:22 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 7:39 AM train from Long Beach, due Penn at 8:32 AM, and by the 7:49 AM train from Far Rockaway, due Penn at 8:42 AM, which will make added stops at Valley Stream, Rosedale, Laurelton and Locust Manor.
- The 8:03 AM train from Long Beach, due Penn at 8:54 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 8:08 AM train from Long Beach, due Penn at 9:02 AM.
- The 7:12 AM train from Speonk, due Hunterspoint Ave. at 9:11 AM, will be canceled at Jamaica. Customers will be accommodated by the 9:12 AM train from Jamaica, due Hunterspoint Ave. at 9:28 AM.
Oyster Bay Branch:
- The 7:13 AM train from Oyster Bay, due Long Island City at 8:34 AM, will be canceled at Jamaica. Customers will be accommodated by the 8:19AM train from Jamaica, due Long Island City at 8:44 AM.
Port Jefferson/Huntington Branch:
- The 5:59 AM train from Port Jefferson, due Hunterspoint Ave. at 7:41 AM, will be canceled at Jamaica. Customers traveling to Hunterspoint Ave. will be accommodated by the 7:31 AM train from Jamaica, due Hunterspoint Ave. at 7:49 AM
- The 6:25 AM train from Hicksville, due Penn at 7:11 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:44 AM train from Port Jefferson, due Penn at 7:20 AM, making an added stop at Hicksville at approximately 6:41 AM; and by the 6:15 AM train from Huntington due Hicksville at 6:33 AM, making added stops at Carle Place, Merillon Ave and New Hyde Park.
- The 6:54 AM train from Central Islip, due Penn at 8:06 AM, is canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 6:56 AM train from Ronkonkoma, due Atlantic Terminal at 8:17 AM.
The following PM Peak trains will be cancelled or diverted on Wednesday, March 20, Thursday, March 21, and Friday, March 22. Customers should anticipate delays and allow for extra travel time.
- The 4:52 PM train from Penn Station due Babylon at 5:55 PM has been cancelled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:03 PM train from Penn Station due Wantagh at 5:53 PM with a stop at Rockville Centre and all local stops to Babylon.
- The 5:19 PM train from Penn Station due Wantagh at 6:06 PM has been cancelled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:24 PM train from Penn Station due Freeport at 6:10 PM with stops at Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Rockville Centre, and all local stops to Wantagh.
- The 5:40 PM train from Penn Station due Seaford at 6:30 PM has been cancelled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:47 PM train from Penn Station due Freeport at 6:31 PM with a stop at Rockville Centre, and all local stops to Seaford.
Far Rockaway Branch:
- The 5:32 PM train from Penn Station due Far Rockaway at 6:24 PM has been canceled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:49 PM train from Atlantic Terminal due Far Rockaway at 6:46 PM. Penn Station customers should take the 5:46 PM Huntington-bound train from New York to connect with the Far Rockaway train at Jamaica.
Long Beach Branch
- The 5:20 PM train from Penn Station due Long Beach at 6:11 PM has been cancelled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:23 PM train from Penn Station due Long Beach at 6:18 PM with stops at Jamaica, Locust Manor, Laurelton, Rosedale, Valley Stream, Lynbrook, and all local stops to Long Beach.
Port Jefferson Branch:
- The 3:27 PM train from Penn Station due Huntington at 4:33 PM has been cancelled. Customers will be accommodated by the 3:43 PM train from Penn Station due Huntington at 4:49 PM with stops at Woodside, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, and all local stops to Huntington.
- The 5:47 PM train from Hunterspoint Ave. due Port Jefferson at 7:30 PM will instead originate from Jamaica tonight at 6:07 PM. Hunterspoint Ave. customers for this train will be accommodated by the 6:08 PM train from Hunterspoint Ave., due Port Jefferson at 8:00 PM.
Port Washington Branch:
- The 5:11 PM train from Penn Station due Port Washington at 5:47 PM has been cancelled. Customers will be accommodated by the 5:14 PM train from Penn Station due Great Neck at 5:45 PM with a stop at Bayside and all local stops to Port Washington, excluding Mets-Willets Point.
A herd of thirty large, peaceful, magnificent, and magical horses will be pastured in Grand Central Terminal.
Video credit: Jay Buim
It’s all part of Heard-NY, a much-anticipated seven-day performance produced by MTA Arts for Transit and Creative Time in honor of GCT’s centennial. The “horses” are sixty dancers from The Ailey School inhabiting “Soundsuits” created by renowned artist Nick Cave.
Every day at 11 a.m and 2 p.m. from Monday, March 25 to Sunday, March 31, the herd will perform specially choreographed movements to live music as they cross the Terminal, swaying and swishing their long, colorful, embellished coats.
“MTA Arts for Transit and Creative Time are launching Nick’s first large-scale public art project in New York,” says Sandra Bloodworth, director of MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design. “We’re excited to present this historic event celebrating Grand Central’s Centennial in a monumental way with this contemporary art experience that engages the public in the celebration. Nick, an artist we have long admired, along with the Ailey School students, are creating an ephemeral experience that will be remembered by its audience as an enchanting moment in New York City’s history.
Known for his elaborate costume-sculptures that mix fantasy, found objects, and cross-cultural references, Cave has created life-size “horses” with raffia coats that create calm, swooshing sounds as they move. Cave hopes that the magical presence and sound of his special heard will lull rushing New Yorkers into a more peaceful, contemplative state of mind: “I’m trying to create a moment that brings us back to dreaming and fantasy, to a state of mind where we can think about alternative ways of being.”
Between performances, the Soundsuits will be displayed in Vanderbilt Hall so Cave’s sculptures can be enjoyed up close. Using patterns and materials evoking India, Tibet, Morocco, and other parts of the world, the richly layered references embedded in Cave’s herd is likely to resonate strongly with the one that thunders across the GCT concourse daily, just as Pegasus thunders across the heavens as depicted in the sky ceiling of the Main Concourse.
“A lot of people are working together behind the scenes to make the magic take place next week,” explains Amy Hausmann, Arts for Transit assistant director. “Heard-NY could not happen without our enthusiastic and supportive partners – the volunteers who are helping on-site, our colleagues at MTA Marketing and Transit who helped with the promotion in stations and on trains, Jones Lang LaSalle, Metro-North and the entire Grand Central team – security, MTA Police, and the Fire Brigade plus the incredible staff at Creative Time and Arts for Transit, especially Jessica Wallen who coordinated AFT’s efforts for this project. The collaboration has been tremendous.”
So, enjoy looking for the horses. You may find the entire herd in Vanderbilt Hall, see groups in the main concourse, or discover a few elsewhere in the Terminal. As you pause, think about the time when horses were a part of daily city life and when horsepower was just that.