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February 8, 2017
BROOKLYN, NY, February 8, 2017: Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) hailed the commitment by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to move forward with a Freedom Ticket pilot program, which would allow commuters to pay a single reduced fare for travel within New York City on MTA buses and subways and on Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trains, on the LIRR’s Atlantic Branch in Brooklyn as well as a number of southeast Queens-based stations. The decision, reported by NYCTRC Chair Andrew Albert, was made subsequent to the MTA board’s January meeting, following months of advocacy from civic leaders and riders. Borough President Adams and the NYCTRC have championed this proposal since its release by the NYCTRC, citing its impact on reducing costs and travel times while expanding transit options for commuters in east Brooklyn and southeast Queens.
“I thank the MTA for stepping up their commitment to underserved riders in central and eastern Brooklyn,” said Borough President Adams. “The Freedom Ticket promises a greater freedom of movement and a more intelligent use of our transit system, prioritizing the needs of commuters in need of a break. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot program.”
“The MTA Board has been told we’d see the outline of the Freedom Ticket pilot in the spring, with expected implementation sometime this fall,” said Albert, a non-voting MTA board member. “There is wonderful rail infrastructure running through Brooklyn and southeast Queens, but unfortunately, it is priced beyond the reach of many residents. Freedom Ticket will allow a faster and more direct ride for several neighborhoods, and will cut the travel time significantly for many subway and bus users.”
The Freedom Ticket pilot will allow riders to purchase a single one-way ticket or a weekly or monthly pass valid for travel on both the subway and railroad trains for less than the price of an LIRR ticket and MetroCard pass for both. It has been noted that this program would build on the MTA’s CityTicket pilot program, which established a reduced fare on weekends within New York City limits on LIRR and Metro-North trains. Participating LIRR stations in Brooklyn will include Atlantic Terminal Brooklyn, East New York, and Nostrand Avenue. Participating LIRR stations in Queens will include Laurelton, Locust Manor, Rosedale, and St. Albans.
“The MTA’s plan to implement a Freedom Ticket study this fall shows the agency is responding to community calls for more affordable and convenient transit access in NYC communities hosting LIRR and MetroNorth,” said Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “The full implementation of such a program will significantly reduce travel times for users in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.”
Borough President Adams and the NYCTRC highlighted how the Freedom Ticket pilot program will take advantage of empty seats on existing transit infrastructure while reducing overcrowding on nearby bus and subway lines. According to LIRR statistics, 50 percent of seats are left empty on westbound Atlantic Branch trains during morning peak hours, while 59 percent of seats are left empty on eastbound Atlantic Branch trains during evening peak hours. Additionally, between the Jamaica and Rosedale stations, 47 percent of seats are left empty on westbound trains during morning peak hours, while 35 percent of seats are left empty on eastbound trains during evening peak hours. The Freedom Ticket pilot program will also have an impact on travel times for commuters. For example, it takes twice as long to get to Atlantic Terminal from the LIRR’s East New York station via subway compared to commuter rail; the estimated daily time savings for a round-trip commuter would be a minimum of 20 minutes.
According to Borough President Adams and the NYCTRC, the Freedom Ticket pilot program presents an opportunity to support neighborhood development and growth, especially as the City is now into the implementation phase of the East New York Community Plan. Furthermore, they believe it will be a significant asset in mitigating strain on the existing subway system, especially with the upcoming two-year closure of the L train’s Canarsie Tube and the temporary shutdown of the M train from the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station to the Middle Village-Metropolitan Avenue station.
Office of the Brooklyn Borough President
New York City Transit Riders Council
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
p: (718) 802 3700 | f: (718) 802 3778