MTA announces new discounted LIRR Far Rockaway ticket

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023
MTA announces new discounted LIRR Far Rockaway ticket
The MTA announced the LIRR Far Rockaway station will now be part of the CityTicket, which gives riders a discount if they ride inside NYC. Reporter Tom Negovan has more.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The MTA announced Tuesday that the LIRR Far Rockaway station will now be part of the CityTicket, which gives LIRR riders a discount if they ride the commuter railroad inside NYC.

The station had previously been kept off the CityTicket discount because the rest of the Far Rockaway Branch actually travels through Long Island.

But new geolocation technology will allow the MTA to know if a LIRR rider boards in Far Rockaway, where they will be eligible for the discount, as opposed to if they board at the Nassau stations, where they are not.

"This is something that we have wanted to do for such a long time," said LIRR Interim President Cathy Rinaldi. "But we had to wait for the technology to catch up."

Riders boarding at the Far Rockaway station will now be eligible for a flat $5 fare off peak or on weekends, down from $9.25. And a $7 on peak fare, down from $12.50. Those discounts range from 34% to 46%.

CityTicket was introduced in 2004 to provide fare equity for intra-NYC commuters in areas not served by NYC Transit, who traditionally pay more to ride LIRR. Far Rockaway was the last station in the city still paying the higher LIRR fees.

"Southeast Queens has long been neglected by our public transit system, the journey to Manhattan can take hours," said Selvena Brooks-Powers, Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee.

The new tickets will be sold only at the Far Rockaway station and on the TrainTime app.

The new discount for LIRR riders comes as the MTA discontinues another discount program when new fares go into effect Sunday.

LIRR's 20-Trip Ticket, which costs about 20% less than the current cost of 20 peak trips, is being eliminated. Used by about 14,000 riders monthly, it was launched in March 2022 to appeal to riders no longer commuting five days a week and not needing a monthly pass.

The MTA says the 20-Trip Ticket was only supposed to be a temporary "promotional fare to encourage post-pandemic ridership recovery" and is now being discontinued as the railroad looks to bring its customers back to monthly passes. By contrast, LIRR sells about 41,000 monthly commuter passes each month.

"The governor and the legislature attacked the problem of the MTA's budget deficit -which was in excess of a billion dollars-but part of the solution was the small fare increases that we have always done," said MTA Chairman Janno Leiber.

In yet another fare hike-related change for Long Island commuters, riders of NICE Buses in Nassau County are learning their base fare will be increasing from $2.75 to $2.90 when the MTA's subway and bus fare hike takes effect Sunday. It will be the first increase in NICE's base fare in eight years.

NICE Bus riders get free transfers onto NYC Transit buses and subways through their shared use of MetroCard. So when NYC Transit fares increase, NICE Bus fares must as well. Forty percent of NICE Bus riders also take NYC Transit and benefit from the transfer. About 65,000 Nassau County residents ride NICE Buses daily.

By contrast, it only costs $2.25 to ride Suffolk County Transit, which does not accept MetroCard and has no plans to increase bus fares.

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