2009-07-24 / Top Stories

Thompson To MTA: Expand CityTicket To Give Transit Users More Options

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. is calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to expand its CityTicket program and improve mass transit alternatives for New Yorkers.

"The MTA needs to adopt a service change that will greatly assist many New Yorkers by making mass transit service more convenient and less costly for passengers traveling late at night and in the early morning hours," Thompson said.

CityTicket is a flat $3.50 fare for Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Commuter Railroad travel within New York City on weekends. The MTA initiated the CityTicket program in 2004 with the goal of reducing costs for transit users and assisting residents of neighborhoods that historically have been underserved by other mass transit.

In a letter to MTA Interim Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Helena E. Williams, Thompson urged the MTA to expand CityTicket to weekdays, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., on a six-month pilot basis. You can view the letter at www.comptroller.nyc.gov.

Travelers who switch from subway or bus to commuter railroad during late night and early morning hours could save considerable time—for example, 20 minutes on a trip between Penn Station and Flushing compared to the subway, Thompson noted. And, riders would know exactly when a train is scheduled to depart, as opposed to subways and buses, which have long, sometimes unpredictable headways during the late night and early morning hours.

"Even if there is a small net revenue loss, I believe that the advantages to the public in late night intra-New York City travel on the commuter railroads would be well worth it," Thompson wrote.

Thompson also recommended that the MTA reverse its current restriction preventing Far Rockaway riders from using CityTicket fares on the Long Island Rail Road.

"The MTA's current policy preventing CityTicket use from Far Rockaway is of particular concern to me not only because Far Rockaway is primarily a lowand moderate-income community, but it is also geographically separated from the rest of New York City," he wrote.

"A change in this policy would save time and money for the residents of this community," he continued. "Far Rockaway residents would welcome, and surely deserve, a modest reduction in train travel time to points off the peninsula."

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