NEW YORK - The MTA has rolled out its Penn Station plan for the Long Island Rail Road peak hours affected by Amtrak repairs at Penn Station, including free buses, ferries and HOV lanes.
The MTA, unlike New Jersey Transit, will not offer fare cuts for LIRR commuters during the July and August work periods. But to ease road congestion, the MTA is offering truckers a 50 percent toll reduction between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The MTA is also accelerating its cashless toll work at bridges and tunnels.
Roughly 20 percent of LIRR rush hour trains will be reduced. Of the 98 LIRR trains in the morning, two are being canceled, while three will be lengthened and others rerouted.
Three LIRR trains will terminate at Hunters Point, to connect commuters to the number 7 subway line. Five trains will be diverted to Atlantic Terminal and five more to Jamaica Station, to connect with subways there.
Of the 87 LIRR trains in the evening, seven will be canceled or combined. Three trains will originate at Atlantic Terminal, three at Hunters Point and four at Jamaica Station.
Three overnight trains will be cancelled from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., affecting approximately 90 riders.
The MTA expects Amtrak to bring six trains on the Empire Service into Grand Central Terminal. The MTA will also try other alternative means of transportation, including a ferry service that will cross honor with private ferry companies.
"This is all been done with the purpose of making sure that we eliminate or alleviate as much of the problems that are being caused," said Joe Lhota, with the Penn Station Task Force. "This crisis is an opportunity to look at new and different ways to make the commute as comfortable and as quick as possible."
Still, officials admit it will be challenging.
"It's going to be a long, hot summer," interim MTA executive director Ronnie Hakim said. "We want people to receive and really look at all the information that we're putting out so that they know what their options are and can think through what works best for where they're commuting to and from."
About 650,000 commuters depend on New York Penn Station every day, but over the past several weeks, derailments and signal failures have crippled the nation's largest rail terminal.
"We are all in it together," Hakim said. "The idea of this service plan is to be as responsive to our customers needs as possible."
CLICK HERE for full details on the MTA's LIRR plan.
Click here for details about NJTransit's plans for the summer work at Penn Station.