Buses, Ferries to Help LIRR ‘Summer of Hell’ Delays

Long Island Rail Road (Photo by MTA).

Long Island Rail Road riders are taking buses and ferries into Manhattan amid train service disruptions caused by Amtrak emergency repair work at Penn Station starting Monday and running through Sept. 1.

The LIRR is also adding two extra cars to all trains, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is offering LIRR riders free subway rides from the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and the Gov. Andrew Cuomo suspended all non-emergency road work on state roads from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the next two months to help alleviate traffic from added commuters driving into the city.

“We’ve become the victim of Amtrak and what they need to do in Penn Station, and the MTA decided to look at this situation and take it head-on,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota. “We’ve developed an array of options available for all the Long Island Rail Road passengers.”

Cuomo had dubbed the anticipated repair delays the “summer of hell” for LIRR commuters because the work will reduce the number of tracks available to run rush-hour trains in Penn Station, the nation’s busiest rail hub. The expected delays follow a series of unanticipated service disruptions that have gotten so bad, some LIRR commuters recently sued the railroad.

Among the mass-transit alternatives being offered to LIRR riders are ferries to and from Manhattan departing from Glen Cove, Hunterspoint and Long Island City. The railroad is also offering 200 buses from park and rides in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Or, commuters can take the LIRR to the Atlantic Terminal and transfer to any subway line free of charge.

Some fares will be reduced up to 25 percent for affected commuters. Off-peak and weekend trains will not be impacted by the Amtrak work.

Commuters are advised to sign up for MTA alerts, buy tickets ahead of time and travel closer to the start or end of rush hour to avoid crowds. Additionally, on a platform with heavy crowds, commuters should spread out to avoid congestion.

MTA Interim Executive Director Veronique Hakim said the MTA is understanding of people’s’ concerns.

“We do want to keep our customers up to date and aware of everything that we have to deal with over the summer and we very much appreciate people’s’ patience in this next travel period,” Hakim said.

The LIRR urged riders to visit their new website, lirrsummerschedule.com, to help commuters navigate the changes.