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Freedom Ticket pilot launching in Queens and Brooklyn this fall!

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http://www.amny.com/transit/freedom-ticket-pilot-launching-in-brooklyn-queens-this-fall-borough-president-adams-says-1.13078196

 

This is great news.

 

Residents living in the transit deserts of Brooklyn and southeast Queens are about to get a new commuting option.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will launch a pilot this fall that will bridge bus, subway and Long Island Rail Road service within New York City under one ticket, according to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and two MTA board members, who will announce the news on Wednesday.

The test of the “Freedom Ticket,” as it’s been called by transit advocates, will be implemented along select LIRR stations, mostly along the Atlantic Branch, including Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal, East New York and Nostrand Avenue stations, as well as Queens’ Laurelton, Locust Manor, Rosedale and St. Albans stations.

“I thank the MTA for stepping up their commitment to underserved riders in central and eastern Brooklyn,” said Adams, an early proponent of the pilot, in a statement. “The Freedom Ticket promises a greater freedom of movement and a more intelligent use of our transit system, prioritizing the needs of commuters in need of a break. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot program.”

By allowing riders to transfer seamlessly between the Long Island Railroad and the city’s bus and subway system, the Freedom Ticket could drastically cut hours from residents’ commutes every week while also tapping into underutilized LIRR service, according to the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC), which introduced the proposal in 2015.

“There is wonderful rail infrastructure running through Brooklyn and southeast Queens, but unfortunately it’s priced beyond the reach of many neighborhoods,” said Andrew Albert, an MTA board member and chair of the NYCTRC. “This will allow for a more direct ride for commuters while significantly cutting travel times.”

Under the pilot, riders will be able to buy single one-way tickets, weekly or monthly passes valid for both subway and LIRR trains. Fares will be more expensive than MetroCard rates, but likely significantly cheaper than the cost of purchasing both a MetroCard and LIRR ticket, according to estimates from the NYCTRC. 

Tom Prendergast, former MTA chairman, announced at his last board meeting, in January, that the agency will undertake a field study for the Freedom Ticket to get a sense of its impacts on service and pricing for fares.

“Using more of our capacity and giving people travel options, which is at the core of the Freedom Ticket, is something … that we can and should look at more closely,” said Prendergast. “This limited-duration field study will help MTA understand customer demand for Atlantic Terminal and any impacts on service and operations such a plan would have.”

An MTA spokeswoman said that the Freedom Ticket was still being studied by the agency and no timeline is set.

But Albert, who said that MTA board members were briefed on the plans last month, assured that details on the pilot will be unveiled in the spring. Once implemented, the test will be reviewed over the course of six months, according to Albert. 

“We have the LIRR seats, let’s sell them,” Albert said.

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Well it's nice to see that Albert is a thinking man over there at the (MTA). Let's sell them indeed, but don't give them away.  It's still a premium fare and should be charged as such, but anything over $8.75 is ridiculous IMO. 

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Commuter Rail fare should all come with free transfers to subway service, having two monthly passes (LIRR,NYCT) is ridiculous, and it's not like the passes are cheap anyways. I see people getting off at Jamaica, and Fordham, just to avoid the outrageous commuter rail fare to enter the city. Maybe by having free transfers for fare into Penn and GCT could deter people from getting off LIRR and MNR early( and free up space on subway)

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It would be really great if this works. It should then be expanded to all commuter rail stations in NYC.

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http://www.amny.com/transit/freedom-ticket-pilot-launching-in-brooklyn-queens-this-fall-borough-president-adams-says-1.13078196

 

This is great news.

 

Residents living in the transit deserts of Brooklyn and southeast Queens are about to get a new commuting option.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will launch a pilot this fall that will bridge bus, subway and Long Island Rail Road service within New York City under one ticket, according to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and two MTA board members, who will announce the news on Wednesday.

The test of the “Freedom Ticket,” as it’s been called by transit advocates, will be implemented along select LIRR stations, mostly along the Atlantic Branch, including Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal, East New York and Nostrand Avenue stations, as well as Queens’ Laurelton, Locust Manor, Rosedale and St. Albans stations.

“I thank the MTA for stepping up their commitment to underserved riders in central and eastern Brooklyn,” said Adams, an early proponent of the pilot, in a statement. “The Freedom Ticket promises a greater freedom of movement and a more intelligent use of our transit system, prioritizing the needs of commuters in need of a break. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot program.”

By allowing riders to transfer seamlessly between the Long Island Railroad and the city’s bus and subway system, the Freedom Ticket could drastically cut hours from residents’ commutes every week while also tapping into underutilized LIRR service, according to the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC), which introduced the proposal in 2015.

“There is wonderful rail infrastructure running through Brooklyn and southeast Queens, but unfortunately it’s priced beyond the reach of many neighborhoods,” said Andrew Albert, an MTA board member and chair of the NYCTRC. “This will allow for a more direct ride for commuters while significantly cutting travel times.”

Under the pilot, riders will be able to buy single one-way tickets, weekly or monthly passes valid for both subway and LIRR trains. Fares will be more expensive than MetroCard rates, but likely significantly cheaper than the cost of purchasing both a MetroCard and LIRR ticket, according to estimates from the NYCTRC. 

Tom Prendergast, former MTA chairman, announced at his last board meeting, in January, that the agency will undertake a field study for the Freedom Ticket to get a sense of its impacts on service and pricing for fares.

“Using more of our capacity and giving people travel options, which is at the core of the Freedom Ticket, is something … that we can and should look at more closely,” said Prendergast. “This limited-duration field study will help MTA understand customer demand for Atlantic Terminal and any impacts on service and operations such a plan would have.”

An MTA spokeswoman said that the Freedom Ticket was still being studied by the agency and no timeline is set.

But Albert, who said that MTA board members were briefed on the plans last month, assured that details on the pilot will be unveiled in the spring. Once implemented, the test will be reviewed over the course of six months, according to Albert. 

“We have the LIRR seats, let’s sell them,” Albert said.

I can see maybe a $4.00 -$5.00 price range.

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I can see maybe a $4.00 -$5.00 price range.

$4.00 - 5.00 at all hours is a bit generous.  Shouldn't be any cheaper than an express bus fare.  It's $4.25 now for the City Ticket, but there's a ton of availability on some trips on weekends. 

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$4.00 - 5.00 at all hours is a bit generous.  Shouldn't be any cheaper than an express bus fare.  It's $4.25 now for the City Ticket, but there's a ton of availability on some trips on weekends. 

"There is wonderful rail infrastructure running through Brooklyn and Southeast Queens, But unfortunately it's priced beyond the reach of many Neighborhoods" Where talking mainly Far Rockaway to Brooklyn trains anyways a glorified subway route. A $1-2 more isn't enough for nice seats? These trains are running on the light side as is beside target peak times in the AM/PM and Games. I guess my question for you is what is the affordability pinpoint? What can people afford and make it attractive to them? Do you personally want it to be attractive may be more appropriate of a question.

Edited by RailRunRob

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"There is wonderful rail infrastructure running through Brooklyn and Southeast Queens, But unfortunately it's priced beyond the reach of many Neighborhoods" Where talking mainly Far Rockaway to Brooklyn trains anyways a glorified subway route. A $1-2 more isn't enough for nice seats? These trains are running on the light side as is beside target peak times in the AM/PM and Games. I guess my question for you is what is the affordability pinpoint? What can people afford and make it attractive to them? Do you personally want it to be attractive may be more appropriate of a question.

I think some of the elected officials proposed the same idea of $6.50, and the reason is that just because people don't live near a subway, that doesn't mean that they should be given a premium service at dirt cheap rates.  It is faster than the subway, and when running properly, the LIRR is quite reliable, though reliability is really more of a MNRR trait.  Additionally, if you make it too cheap, the system can become overburdened.  It is a commuter rail, not a subway.  I don't know why people don't understand the difference between commuter services and other services but they are designed to be faster for those who are willing to pay more.  It isn't meant for the masses to begin with.  

 

I would compare it to flying.  There's first class and there's economy class.  You should pay more if you want better service and/or amenities.

 

It also has to do with living in two fare zones.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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They should accept Unlimited Metrocard on off-peak trains (Atlantic branch and SE Queens) but charge a premium (that's still less than the regular LIRR fare) on peak trains.  Otherwise you may run into a capacity problem on peak trains.

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They should accept Unlimited Metrocard on off-peak trains (Atlantic branch and SE Queens) but charge a premium (that's still less than the regular LIRR fare) on peak trains.  Otherwise you may run into a capacity problem on peak trains.

How exactly would they accept unlimited Metrocards??? In other words, you think the fare should be $2.75 off-peak? That's absurd.

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This pilot could work for off-peak travel, as many people going through Jamaica do go to certain areas of Brooklyn. We'll see how it goes. I'm curious if they would try it out for travel to Penn, or if not, for travel up to LIC/Woodside.

 

I don't have a problem with the fare, mainly because it doesn't go to the CBD's (one can argue that Downtown Brooklyn is a CBD, I guess). Pricing it compared to an express bus ride I think might be too much, as the LIRR is trying to get people away from the subway. $4- $5 sounds reasonable. It should only be priced similar to an express bus if it were to go into Manhattan (that sort of ticket should be priced higher than the express bus, at the very least $7.00, no more than $8.00 though). I know that it isn't being tested out in the pilot, but just my view.

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 It is a commuter rail, not a subway. 

 

Well, yes, but within city limits, where there is infrastructure and capacity, this becomes a meaningless distinction. There is no reason subway-like frequencies at a subway-like fare can't be run on MNRR and LIRR lines within the city -- other than in-city tunnel capacity (and that constraint doesn't apply to the Atlantic branch). And capacity can be partially ameliorated by eliminating some current local commuter trains that make in-city stops in favor of the new subway-like service. If the concern is that commuter cars are too plush for the masses, new cars can be ordered that are as spartan as subway cars inside but meet FRA strength requirements.

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I think some of the elected officials proposed the same idea of $6.50, and the reason is that just because people don't live near a subway, that doesn't mean that they should be given a premium service at dirt cheap rates.  It is faster than the subway, and when running properly, the LIRR is quite reliable, though reliability is really more of a MNRR trait.  Additionally, if you make it too cheap, the system can become overburdened.  It is a commuter rail, not a subway.  I don't know why people don't understand the difference between commuter services and other services but they are designed to be faster for those who are willing to pay more.  It isn't meant for the masses to begin with.  

 

I would compare it to flying.  There's first class and there's economy class.  You should pay more if you want better service and/or amenities.

 

It also has to do with living in two fare zones.

Man, I'm so happy to be back in the Country I missed our back and forths very much!  

To your point with Economy and 1st class. Understand from a utilitarian and planning perspective these are Machines where talking about here they can be repurposed in anyway we'd like them to. In order for there to be a need for a 1st class, the demand and use needs to be there in the first place. Just got back from London heavily travel route long route 1st class makes sense im going to LA next week yeah 1st class there selling seats I need space. A New York to Washington, Boston even Chicago meh. Short route seats vacant. The point is I can reconfigure the 767 in anyway id like. Take 1st class out and fit a few more seats lower the fare to break even and possibly make a profit. These arent Babylon or Ronkonkoma trains. These are trains running light for the most part why not entice a few more people. The Rockaway line is what 18-20 miles it's a short local route 15 stops. Besides the run between Jamaica and ENY, it stops very often. I use this route a lot to JFK. Second, this is the step in the right direction to right a wrong how many times have plans fell short of providing service to this area? These are working class areas there not that bad off but there not a Bayside on Forest Hills either. Places like Rochdale come to mind.  $4.25-$5.00 you don't think is enough to fill empty seats? Over double ($5.50) fair defeats the purpose. Folks would have just taken some of the express bus routes for more than that. 

The bottom line is you have a City bursting at its seams and underutilized transportation infrastructure. It makes sense. I don't see the riders coming in from Long Island impacted much at all most trains coming in from points east skip these stops anyway in route to Jamaica and then Penn there might be some overlap on a few AM and PM trains to Jamaica. It's worth a try lets see how it works.

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This pilot could work for off-peak travel, as many people going through Jamaica do go to certain areas of Brooklyn. We'll see how it goes. I'm curious if they would try it out for travel to Penn, or if not, for travel up to LIC/Woodside.

 

I don't have a problem with the fare, mainly because it doesn't go to the CBD's (one can argue that Downtown Brooklyn is a CBD, I guess). Pricing it compared to an express bus ride I think might be too much, as the LIRR is trying to get people away from the subway. $4- $5 sounds reasonable. It should only be priced similar to an express bus if it were to go into Manhattan (that sort of ticket should be priced higher than the express bus, at the very least $7.00, no more than $8.00 though). I know that it isn't being tested out in the pilot, but just my view.

If we're really going to go all the way, I would also say that the (MTA) should introduce a monthly express bus pass.  Having to get a pass every week or two is a PITA, and it should be offered since there is already a monthly pass for everything else. I also agree about a $7.00 charge for peak service.  

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No they should charge a premium at all times. Fares should not exceed $5.50 (zone 1-3) as a incentive for people to take LIRR with a free transfer to subway in Manhattan

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Well, yes, but within city limits, where there is infrastructure and capacity, this becomes a meaningless distinction. There is no reason subway-like frequencies at a subway-like fare can't be run on MNRR and LIRR lines within the city -- other than in-city tunnel capacity (and that constraint doesn't apply to the Atlantic branch). And capacity can be partially ameliorated by eliminating some current local commuter trains that make in-city stops in favor of the new subway-like service. If the concern is that commuter cars are too plush for the masses, new cars can be ordered that are as spartan as subway cars inside but meet FRA strength requirements.

Right we talked about this awhile back. Kinda like an another division that can cover the city stops with the RX line being intergraded. Add the Atlantic and Far Rockaway like to Rosedale and that's a great start.

Here's the idea below.

 

QVRE0mT.png

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Man, I'm so happy to be back in the Country I missed our back and forths very much!  

To your point with Economy and 1st class. Understand from a utilitarian and planning perspective these are Machines where talking about here they can be repurposed in anyway we'd like them to. In order for there to be a need for a 1st class, the demand and use needs to be there in the first place. Just got back from London heavily travel route long route 1st class makes sense im going to LA next week yeah 1st class there selling seats I need space. A New York to Washington, Boston even Chicago meh. Short route seats vacant. The point is I can reconfigure the 767 in anyway id like. Take 1st class out and fit a few more seats lower the fare to break even and possibly make a profit. These arent Babylon or Ronkonkoma trains. These are trains running light for the most part why not entice a few more people. The Rockaway line is what 18-20 miles it's a short local route 15 stops. Besides the run between Jamaica and ENY, it stops very often. I use this route a lot to JFK. Second, this is the step in the right direction to right a wrong how many times have plans fell short of providing service to this area? These are working class areas there not that bad off but there not a Bayside on Forest Hills either. Places like Rochdale come to mind.  $4.25-$5.00 you don't think is enough to fill empty seats? Over double ($5.50) fair defeats the purpose. Folks would have just taken some of the express bus routes for more than that. 

The bottom line is you have a City bursting at its seams and underutilized transportation infrastructure. It makes sense. I don't see the riders coming in from Long Island impacted much at all most trains coming in from points east skip these stops anyway in route to Jamaica and then Penn there might be some overlap on a few AM and PM trains to Jamaica. It's worth a try lets see how it works.

 

 

Well, yes, but within city limits, where there is infrastructure and capacity, this becomes a meaningless distinction. There is no reason subway-like frequencies at a subway-like fare can't be run on MNRR and LIRR lines within the city -- other than in-city tunnel capacity (and that constraint doesn't apply to the Atlantic branch). And capacity can be partially ameliorated by eliminating some current local commuter trains that make in-city stops in favor of the new subway-like service. If the concern is that commuter cars are too plush for the masses, new cars can be ordered that are as spartan as subway cars inside but meet FRA strength requirements.

It's one thing to entice riders, and another to turn commuter trains into subways.  I think the two are being confused.  The MNRR and LIRR have their purpose within the city, and there are those of us who use them not just because they are punctual, but because they are NOT the subway.  I purposely live in a neighborhood without a subway (and I'm not the only one either) because I don't want to deal with everything that comes with commuting via the subway. Commuter trains are more a pleasant ride and they're less crowded.  What we should be doing is addressing the subway problem and not trying to have other services become something that they were not designed to be, and turning them into subways and everything that comes with the subways... Delays, crowds, filth, the homeless and so on.  I do not support extremely low fares for such a premium service.  We live in a capitalist society and we have tiered services for just about everything for a reason.  I don't want watered down quality.  Those who can't afford the premium fare still have the option of using the subway.  We're not talking about having damn there everyone pile on to the LIRR or MNRR.  We're talking about attracting some rides to use the service, not making it for the masses.  

 

Additionally, it costs more to operate commuter rail services. Fares that are too low will mean the (MTA) running more service at a loss. 

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Additionally, it costs more to operate commuter rail services. Fares that are too low will mean the (MTA) running more service at a loss. 

 

It doesn't have to. Strike a labor deal that lets in-city trains use one conductor, put turnstiles in, and costs would go down.

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It doesn't have to. Strike a labor deal that lets in-city trains use one conductor, put turnstiles in, and costs would go down.

And who is going to pay for all of that? The city has these grand ideas, but they don't want to pay for such things.

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It doesn't have to. Strike a labor deal that lets in-city trains use one conductor, put turnstiles in, and costs would go down.

^This to the nth degree!

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And who is going to pay for all of that? The city has these grand ideas, but they don't want to pay for such things.

Maybe turnstiles are not needed but proof of purchase is needed, such as SBS Machine, or InThe future tap on tap off machine. The sole conductor will just be performing ticket checks as a secondary function. Edited by Mtatransit

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Maybe turnstiles are not needed but proof of purchase is needed, such as SBS Machine, or InThe future tap on tap off machine. The sole conductor will just be performing ticket checks as a secondary function.

Either way, I predict a fare similar to the express bus or higher at $7.00 for peak and maybe $6.50 for off-peak, with a transfer thrown in. If anything, maybe what the focus should be on is making those stations accessible that currently aren't.  The price is one thing, but accessibility also plays a big role.  One of the reasons that the Metro-North stations in my neighborhood have been successful in terms of increase in ridership has been having the Rail link Shuttle buses that take you directly to the station.  That's another expense that needs to be examined. Where do the buses come from?  I don't know if having the existing services cut it because if the buses aren't reliable, then it doesn't work.  You should have shuttle buses that serve that purpose solely.  For $7.00, you could include such a service or a free transfer to keep the costs down.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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The Freedom Ticket fare is going to be $6.50. Monthlies will be $215. 

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