A proposal to reduce the cost of Long Island Rail Road tickets for riders in Brooklyn and Queens could ease the burden for city residents who live far from the subway. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Transit Reporter Jose Martinez says the MTA is seriously looking at the idea..
In the so-called "transit deserts" of southeast Queens and Brooklyn, there is no subway service.
The Long Island Rail Road could be an alternative, but the cost of a train ticket is simply too high for many residents.
"Sometimes, I want to go to the city, you know, just to walk around, but the thought of the prices on the train, it's just like, 'You know what, I'm just going to stay home or I'll walk around where I live,'" said one local resident.
But that might change. The MTA is studying whether to introduce a so-called Freedom Ticket. It would allow commuters at some LIRR stations in the city to pay a reduced rate.
The savings could be huge. A rush-hour LIRR train from St. Albans to Jamaica in Queens now costs $5.25 if the ticket is bought at the station, $11 if bought on the train. The trip from Far Rockaway to Atlantic Terminal cost $11.50 at the station, and up to $18 for a ticket bought on board.
"It could definitely make things easier for some people that could use that kind of help," said one local resident.
The MTA has acknowledged it is studying how much of a discount to offer.
"It will allow us to evaluate alternative pricing in a part of the system where we have capacity," former MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said last month.
The Transit Riders Council says the agency has already picked out the stations that would sell the Freedom Ticket.
"In southeast Queens, the stations that will be in the pilot will be Rosedale, Laurelton, Locust Manor, St. Albans. And then the stations in Brooklyn would be East New York, Nostrand Avenue and Atlantic Terminal," said Andrew Albert, chairman of the NYC Transit Riders Council.
"This is not building a new station. It's not building a new track. It's just freeing up the resources that we have," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. "And that's why it's a freedom ride and a Freedom Ticket."
It seems unlikely the Freedom Ticket would equal the cost of a bus or subway ride, because the MTA would lose too much revenue.
The Riders Council says that with the right discount, its idea could be a wash for the MTA at a time when transit fares are about to rise.
While the next fare increase kicks in March 19, the Freedom Ticket isn't likely to arrive until the fall at the earliest.