What to Know
- The LIRR park-and-ride bus service being offered to customers is being scaled back, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota says
- People simply were not using that alternative in the first two days of the major renovation work at Penn Station
- Details will be announced once officials analyze data on which lots are being utilized
The MTA is scaling back its bus plan for Long Island Rail Road riders during the summer renovation work at Penn Station, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota tells News 4.
A network of 200 park-and-ride buses was being offered to LIRR commuters affected by the eight-week infrastructure improvement project, which is taking three of 21 tracks out of commission at Penn Station through Labor Day.
But the lots have been underutilized, Lhota says, and the service will be scaled back beginning next week. Details will be released once officials analyze how many people are using specific lots over the next few days.
LIRR will look at the lots with the least number of riders over the course of the week, as well as the ones furthest away from the Long Island Expressway, Lhota said.
Park-and-ride service will continue as scheduled for Wednesday morning's commute, but the scaleback could start sooner than Monday, depending on data analysis.
"So far, based on two days of voting, the people have voted they would much prefer the other approaches than the buses, so common sense would just require us to scale it back," Lhota told News 4 over the phone.
Meanwhile, ferries offered to LIRR riders from Glen Cove were also being underutilized, though there was some slight pick-up on Tuesday. Lhota says the MTA plans to do some more marketing around the ferry service.
Many of the LIRR customers who normally go into Penn Station again took the train to Atlantic Terminal on Day 2, according to Lhota. There was, as predicted, a "huge increase" of LIRR customers going to Atlantic Terminal, and some crowding issues along with it, Lhota said, but overall, "things were better than yesterday," he said.
On Day 1, there was some confusion, a bit of overcrowding and slow going at times, but no real debacles, either. Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said Monday he was afraid people might get complacent after a relatively smooth first day for commuters. But 24 hours after the start of the project, all appeared okay -- for now.
The work at Penn Station was initially scheduled for nights and weekends over a few years, but recent derailments and other problems that spotlighted the station's aging infrastructure convinced Amtrak to accelerate the schedule.