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Old Posted Jan 13, 2019, 12:07 AM
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Relief for New York City’s Transit Deserts? Commuter Trains Might Help


- Railroad tracks that run through the Bronx. The tracks are used by Amtrak trains, but would be opened to new commuter trains under a billion-dollar expansion by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of rail service linking Manhattan with suburbs north of New York City. Four new train stations for the Metro-North Railroad would be built along the line in the eastern Bronx, where subway service is sparse and buses are often slow and unreliable.

- The aboveground rails that crisscross the city are increasingly being seen as a way to alleviate some of New York’s most pressing transportation problems. City leaders and transit advocates say commuter trains could be put into service to fill transit gaps and reduce congestion on subways, buses and roads. In neighborhoods where new train stations are built, new jobs, housing and development could follow.

- There are 38 Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road stations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, many in neighborhoods with sparse subway and bus service, according to a recent analysis by the city comptroller, Scott M. Stringer. But the comptroller noted that there is limited service at those stations, or tickets are priced so much higher than subway and bus fares that residents cannot afford them.

- Mr. Stringer and transit advocates have suggested pricing commuter trains within the city the same as subways $2.75 for a ride, including free transfers to subways and buses to encourage more riders. Transportation authority officials said they have been reviewing these issues and are conducting a pricing study on some Long Island Rail Road trains in Brooklyn and Queens. Since 2004, the price of commuter train trips within the five boroughs has been lowered on weekends through a program called City Ticket.


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