New York – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning service changes, but instead of service cuts, the agency is actually planning to add service to its network.
The announcement of what the agency called “service investments” was made Thursday afternoon and will involve adding and extending service on some 40 bus, subway and commuter rail lines, including Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.
The changes will include the following, according to a release from the MTA:
-New York City Transit will add five new bus routes, restore one route, extend 13 existing bus routes and add midday, night or weekend service on 11 bus routes in all five boroughs. The temporary extension of the G subway line to Church Avenue during reconstruction of the Smith/9th Street station will be made permanent.
-Metro-North Railroad will enhance service on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines to reduce crowding and better serve growing off-peak and weekend ridership with increased half-hourly frequency. West of the Hudson, a new round-trip peak train will be added on the Pascack Line.
-The Long Island Rail Road will provide increased service from Ronkonkoma every 30 minutes on weekdays after the morning rush and during some weekend periods. Extra trains will accommodate increased rider demand on the Long Beach, Port Jefferson and Montauk branches. Trains from Atlantic Terminal will also be extended until 2 a.m.
The need for expanded service, they say, is due to increased ridership – especially on the trains and subways.
“Subway ridership today is the highest it’s been in 62 years,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said.
Officials said the spike in customers has been especially apparent in non-rush hours, which has prompted increased focus on night, weekend and off-peak service.
“The service investments we are announcing today will give our customers more connections to where they want to go, more options on nights and weekends, and more reason to stay out of their cars and take buses, subways and commuter trains instead,” Lhota said.
Meanwhile, proposed fare hikes will be moved back from January 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013.
Lhota said the improvements, which will likely be phased in over several months, announced Thursday will cost $29 million.
The MTA said revenue generated by increased ridership and savings from the its “continued rigorous efforts to contain costs” will pay for the costs.
The changes will be formally presented to the MTA Board next week.
Source: 1010 WINS