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Monday, September 1, 2014
Buses on call for strike
DEK: Authority would transport commuters to city from seven LIRR stations
By Michael Ganci

In the event of a Long Island Rail Road strike, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) would transport commuters via 350 school buses from seven depots on Long Island, including five in Nassau County, to subway stations in Queens.

Nassau depots, which would feature a free ride and free parking, would include Bellmore, Freeport, Hicksville, Manhasset and Seaford. Nassau Community College would be involved as well.

“The MTA expects the buses would be able to carry 15,000 customers — twice as many as the 7,000 people carried by buses during the 1994 LIRR labor outage,” MTA CEO and Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast said. “The buses would operate during rush hours only, and only in the peak direction of travel. They will run into New York City between 4 to 7 a.m. and return to Long Island between 3 to 7 p.m. Disabled customers will also be able to use Access-A-Ride vehicles available at those locations.”

The Bellmore, Freeport and Seaford buses would connect to the A subway station at Howard Beach. The Manhasset bus would take commuters to the 7 subway station at Mets-Willets Point/Citi Field. The Hicksville buses would connect with the M and R subway stations at Woodhaven Boulevard.

Additionally, park-and-ride locations would be set up at Citi Field (4,000 spots) and Aqueduct Racetrack (3,000 spots). Citi Field connects to the 7 subway station, while Aqueduct connects to the A subway station. Carpoolers would also be able to park at six state parks on Long Island, and at Farmingdale State College.

For those who chose to drive to New York City, there would be more than 100 public and private parking lots available within five blocks of subway stations in Queens and Brooklyn.

“The MTA is working closely with the state and Nassau and Suffolk counties to ease traffic as much as possible,” Prendergast added. “The High Occupancy Vehicle lane on the Long Island Expressway will be expanded to require three people in a vehicle, not just two.”

In the event of a strike, all non-emergency construction on highways would be put on hold to keep roads clear.

In a prepared statement, MTA officials said, “Realistically, there is no way to replace the Long Island Rail Road and the service it provides … Our top priority is reaching a fair and reasonable settlement to avoid a traffic nightmare that would paralyze Long Island.”

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