Over 5,000 Long Island Railroad workers could walk off as early as July 20, stranding 300,000 daily commuters.
Unions and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have committed to return to negotiations. In the meantime, MTA has released a contingency plan to bus, shuttle, and ferry thousands of commuters.
To date, MTA has reached out to 1,400 businesses to ensure at least 18,000 employees can telecommute in the event of a strike. Efforts to allow for more commuters are ongoing but with the various parking lots, shuttles to subway lines, buses and ferries does not come close to 300,000.
MTA will be releasing real-time information on mta.info and MTA apps in the event of a strike, alerting commuters of available spots on the various modes of transportation so they can get to work.
Free Ferry Service
MTA is providing ferries from Glen Cove in Long Island to East 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan.
There will be three ferries departing from Glen Cove for morning peak hours (4-7 a.m.) and three returning from Midtown during evening peak hours (3-7 p.m.). Rides are 40 minutes each way and each ferry has about 500 seats. LIRR tickets will be cross honored.
MTA has 350 buses prepared to run from seven LIRR stations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties during rush hours at peak directions. They will run into New York City between 4-7 a.m. and return to Long Island between 3-7 p.m. Disabled customers will also be able to use Access-A-Ride vehicles available at those locations.
MTA expects to carry about 15,000 customers by bus.
In Suffolk County buses will pick up customers at Ronkonkoma and Deer Park LIRR stations and connect to the 7 subway station at Mets-Willets Point/Citi Field.
In Nassau County buses will pick up passengers at the Manhasset LIRR station and connect to the 7 line at Mets-Willets Point/Citi Field.
Buses will pick up customers at Seaford, Bellmore, and Freeport LIRR stations, and Nassau Community College, and connect to the A line at Howard Beach.
Buses will also pick up customers at Hicksville LIRR station and connect to the M and R subway station at Woodhaven Boulevard.
Two parking lots in Queens will let commuters park and ride the subway into the city. The parking lot at the Aqueduct Race Track is free (N Conduit Ave, adjacent to the Belt Parkway), and will let drivers transfer to the A line.
The Citi Field parking lot on the south side of Roosevelt Ave. costs $5 per day and will let drivers transfer to the 7 line.
Real time alerts will be sent out through social media to alert if the parking lots are full.
The following parking lots will provide 8,400 spots where people can meet up to carpool:
Suffolk County: Farmingdale State College, Belmont State Park, Sunken Meadow State Park, Heckscher State Park.
Nassau County: Valley Stream State Park, Hempstead Lake State Park, Bethpage State Park.
On a teleconference call Friday, MTA CEO Tom Prendergast said, like Sandy, the strike falls under emergency conditions and costs for the contingency plan have not been calculated.
“Our goal is on keeping service running,” Prendergast said.