On Friday, the MTA said it was prepared to buses and ferries to counter a potential strike as early as July 20 if the transit authority and labor leaders for LIRR workers can't agree on a new contract. Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority detailed its plan to accommodate commuters who might be stranded if labor negotiations with Long Island Rail Road unions are derailed.
On Friday, the MTA said it was prepared to offer bus and ferry services to counter a potential strike as early as July 20 if the transit authority and labor leaders can't agree on a new contract.
The disclosure preempts possible concerns from customers who were affected by the last LIRR worker strike in 1994.
"There were no park-and-ride lots, no ferries, no real-time monitoring, no telecommuting,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said in a statement last week. “Today, the MTA has a far stronger, more robust, multifaceted plan."
Officials said they had a network of 350 Long Island-based buses companies lined up to shuttle as many as 15,000 customers with LIRR tickets at select locations during rush hours — towards New York City between 4 and 7 a.m., and back to Long Island between 3 and 7 p.m.
A ferry service would also run three times in the morning from Glen Cove to East 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan, and three times back in the evening. As many as 1,000 rider can board at no cost for a trip estimated to take 40 minutes each way.
Those choosing to drive will come across less construction, as the state announced it would suspend any non-emergency work if there were a strike.
Drivers can also still take the High Occupancy Vehicle lane along the Long Island Expressway, but will require three people per car instead of the usual two.
The MTA said it would also offer 4,000 parking spaces at CitiField and 3,000 at the Aqueduct Racetrack while providing regular availability reports through social media.
Prendergast also said the MTA had secured commitments form local business that they would allow at least 18,000 workers to work from home if there were to be a strike.
An estimated 300,000 riders use the LIRR system every day.