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Discounts for Queens LIRR Riders Coming May 1

Forest Hills LIRR station (LIRR)

Feb. 25, 2020 By Kristen Torres

Commuters on the Long Island Rail Road traveling from the outer parts of Queens will see savings come this summer, with discounted fares set to take effect on May 1.

LIRR riders will get a 20 percent discount on monthly passes and a 10 percent discount on all trips within the city. The MTA board is set to give its final approval for the plan later this week, according to Assembly Member Ed Braunstein, who spearheaded the initiative.

Baunstein floated the idea of a LIRR discount last year when congestion pricing for commuters was included in the executive budget.

“We wanted to find ways to encourage residents in the outer boroughs to use mass transit, especially since many live beyond the MTA,” Braunstein said.

Once the discounts begin, passengers riding from northeast queens to Manhattan will save nearly $50 a month—with monthly passes reduced from $234 to $187.

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Larry Penner

What happens due to equipment malfunction, inclement weather, switching or crossing gate problems on the LIRR. There are increases in the frequency of service disruptions due to storm and signal problems in the East River Tunnels. Others occur between the Tunnel Portals and Harold Interlockings west of Woodside. All result in canceled and combined trains. People stand in the aisles. Conductors can’t check tickets. Train trips take longer with more boarding time needed. Exiting trains at Penn Station takes longer. Imagine the chaos with thousands of additional riders? How many Port Washington trains which run express from Great Neck to Penn Station might have to make added stops at Little Neck, Douglaston, Bayside, Auburdale, Broadway, Murray Hill, Flushing and Woodside to accommodate new riders? Each added stop could add one to two minutes for total travel time. Imagine the overcrowding when trains stop at Willets Point to accommodate future LaGuardia Air Train passengers.

There is no room to run additional trains. Three of four tunnels running inbound am and outbound pm rush hours have tight spacing between trains. One tunnel is shared by the LIRR, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak for reverse train movements with tight spacing. There is no platform space to accommodate additional trains, as Penn Station operates at 100 percent capacity. When one of the four tunnels is unavailable, the result is delays and cancellation of trains.

The few Queens LIRR stations with parking lots are full. Some have feeder bus service. Unless you are within walking distance, many have to park blocks away creating conflicts with local residents. How many Nassau County residents will now drive to Queens for access to the same discounted tickets? They will add to even more local neighborhood conflicts for parking spaces.

Larry Penner — transportation historian, advocate and writer who previously worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for grants supporting billions in capital projects and programs on behalf of the MTA NYC Transit bus and subway, NYC DOT Staten Island Ferry and 30 other transit operators in NY & NJ)..



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