Plans unveiled to help combat commuting 'summer of hell'

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NJ Burkett has more from Penn Station.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are laying out the broad strokes of a plan to deal with the continuous repair work scheduled for Penn Station, saying it will create the 'Summer of Hell.'

Riders say they are dreading the summer, when Amtrak will shut down several tracks to make urgent repairs in Penn Station.

The repair work will start on July 7 and run through the entire month of August. Nearly two months of misery that will force the Long Island Rail Road to cancel up to 20 percent of its trains.

Governor Cuomo says a number of alternatives are under consideration, including park and ride options and free bus service.

New Jersey Transit, on the other hand, is diverting multiple trains.

Governor Chris Christie announced on Tuesday that Midtown Direct service will terminate in Hoboken instead of Penn Station, except for Montclair-Boonton trains. He said there will be enhanced ferry and bus service -- Hoboken ferries and PATH lines will cross-honor New Jersey Transit tickets. Christie has ordered fare reductions of up to 60-percent for Midtown Direct riders

"I'm not happy about any of this, but these repairs have to happen now or later. The repairs need to be made. I am also heartened by Amtrak's announcement that they are bringing in a private firm to supplement the work," he said.

Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman issued a statement, saying in part:

"There are plenty of reasons why we reached this situation at Penn Station, but we are now taking the concrete steps, with funds we already have, required to fix it. The important thing for Amtrak now is that we exert the leadership and focus needed to improve the station's infrastructure over the summer and do what is necessary to achieve our common goal - ensuring that passengers will no longer be traveling on aging infrastructure or worrying about when they will get to or from their destinations."

Approximately 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.
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penn stationlirrlong island railroadnew jersey transitnjtransitcommutingmtaNew York City
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