NEW YORK, June 20 (Reuters) - Many commuters from New York’s Long Island suburbs will get discounted fares to make up for expected disruptions while Amtrak makes repairs this summer at Pennsylvania Station, the busiest U.S. train hub, state officials said on Tuesday.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which operates the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), will provide average discounts of 25 percent for passengers whose direct trains into Manhattan’s Penn Station are diverted to two stations in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
Other LIRR riders will also get discounts, and all passengers during the morning rush will get free transfers to New York City subways at the two stations, Atlantic Terminal in the New York City borough of Brooklyn and Hunterspoint Avenue in the borough of Queens. The MTA also runs the city’s subway system.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday urged transit officials to provide discounts during what he has called the “summer of agony.” Amtrak will take three key tracks out of service, throwing commutes across the region into disarray.
Amtrak’s plan to repair Penn Station’s aging infrastructure, from July 10 through Sept. 1, will disrupt schedules and routes for NJ Transit from New Jersey as well as the LIRR because they both rent tracks and station space from Amtrak.
New York officials originally said their alternate plans were focused on providing extra services for riders, while NJ Transit offered discounted fares along with alternate routes.
The work was originally scheduled to take years but was expedited after recent derailments and other problems left hundreds of thousands of commuters delayed throughout the greater New York area because of decaying infrastructure.
Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim, interim MTA director, said on Tuesday the agency believes the fare cuts “will mitigate the inconvenience that our customers may experience, and have the added benefit of drawing customers away from Penn Station while Amtrak performs repair work.” (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)