• Will They Ever Return?

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Red Wing wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 8:57 am I think Hybrid will be more common. You come in once or twice a week.
Great forecast of 20% to 40% utilization for the transit agencies, Mr. Red Wing.

Most of my neighbors (I haven't been locked up in a "retirement community" - yet) who have received the "RTO summons" are only "going in" just that - once or twice a week.

OK; so the "new normal" workplace still has the workers "touching base" periodically, but if even twice a week, that only represents a 40% recovery for the transit agencies, the "ancillaries" such as the bars and restaurants, and even the landlords when only 40% of a tenant's workforce is expected to be on-site at any time, will start seeing vacancies as existing leases expire.

Even as COVID becomes an unpleasant memory (I think my Mother and Father had a pleasant memory or two from "The War"; I distinctly recall being told "President Roosevelt has died; it's now President Truman, a "big Bomb has been dropped", and "the War is over"), the most lasting effect will be this workplace revolution.
  by scratchyX1
 
The agencies which are able to increase service to regional rail integrated with other mobility options will be the ones with long term success.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Red Wing wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 8:57 am I think Hybrid will be more common. You come in once or twice a week. My employer wants the door unlocked every business day. For me I'm more willing to take the public transit option for once a week verse everyday, but I'm sure more people will use the less filled roads and switch to car.
I thought MTA Maryland covered that with a M-W-F weekly pass... but I was confusing it with the 5-day weekly...

That said, how much would it cost over a weekly? Highly theoretical here, because NYC: Yonkers to GCT, then to Wall Street. Roughly 45 min commute (bet a lot would love that).

A weekly would be a 10-trip, $115 peak fare, with a $33 chaser for a 7-day Metrocard. $148 total.
M-W-F, $2.75/trip subway plus $11.50/trip train peak. $28.50 daily... $85.50 weekly. Okay, that's a chunk of significant change there.

Compare with MTA Maryland (Odenton to Baltimore, then bus down to the inner harbor, same timing): M-F weekly is $52.50 (includes free rides on bus) VS $2/trip+$7/trip... $54 M-W-F. Just slightly cheaper doing the 5-day weekly.

Huh. NYC may be on the lower end of my estimates.
  by eolesen
 
Pricing is going to have to change if agencies want to attract the hybrid workers. Metra in Chicago has been doing that.

A monthly unlimited pass downtown runs $240 a month. Two ten-ride cards costs about $160 which would cover ten days a month. Not unreasonable but still a big cash outlay and who knows when the next lockdown will be (sore subject with some of us: I had over $500 in ten rides (valid for a year) that expired because a year into the pandemic our offices were still closed and Metra didn't refund them).

During COVID, they added a $10 all-day pass that drops that commuting cost considerably. If I were still going in, I'd use that. Fortunately I can use an alternative office that's closer and drivable with free parking. Moving to hoteling vs assigned office seating has made that possible in the outlying offices.

How many companies in Manhattan have satellite offices in North NJ or CT? I'd think that would also factor into things as far as NYCTA goes.
  by MACTRAXX
 
EO: I do agree that incentive fares and other fare types such as METRA's $10 Daypass can be offered to riders.

From reading METRA's website they were honoring tickets that dated as far back as March 2020 as another
incentive to bring riders back to the system - I wish that the two MTA railroads (LIRR and MNCR) would have
followed suit - the 60 day limit for one way and round trip tickets and six months for 10 rides did not change.
You should contact METRA about the tickets that you have outstanding taking note to fare changes on 2/1.

There are MTA fare changes effective March 1, 2022 which will bring back peak-hour fares (6-10 AM to NYC
terminals and 4-8 PM from NYC terminals) on weekdays and offer a new $5 off-peak City Ticket (primarily
for LIRR and MNCR Queens and Bronx riders respectively) valid on the day of sale only everyday. Another
mention is that an MTA systemwide fare increase scheduled for mid 2022 has been postponed indefinitely...

Transit systems need to be making efforts to getting their ridership back - a significant fare increase will only
drive those riders away literally if it is poorly timed...MACTRAXX
  by eolesen
 
My Metra tickets were purchased in 2019, with a one-year expiration. Metra refused to refund those. I consider it an involuntary donation...
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
This Times columnist, who generally writes on technology issues and is based in San Francisco, should be a transit, and where need be a ride share, devotee.

But it seems as if "he's fallen in love with" the Cadillac Escalade - the largest bodied and "loaded out" SUV that GM makes - and a 7600lb GVW to boot!!!!

Now he does note that The Times paid for him to drive this "six figure sticker" on a road trip to try out all the electronic playthings it comes with, but six figures I'd dare say is greater than any around here are about to pay for, or commit to, a motor vehicle.

But anyone here who is even a "tepid car guy", knows that these features, especially electronic, work their way "down market" and pretty fast. It is quite reasonable to expect that features such as the driver assist noted will be available on a mid market vehicle, say with a $50K sticker, in the foreseeable future.

Coupled with the likelihood that such will be an EV, and that RTO2X (return to office two days a week) will be a "new normal", the highly compensated knowledge workers will simply say "who needs you, mass transit".

I think this represents an ominous development for mass transit advocates and just one more reason I must ask "will they ever return"?
  by west point
 
Some "IFs"
1. If the number of new infections continue to decrease
2. If the number of deaths start declining in 2 weeks
3. If no new variant rears its ugly head in the next 2 - 4 weeks
4. If the ratio of deaths continues to be 75% of deaths of those over 65 years old.
5. If the cases in locations with various rail and bus systems continues to go down faster than other areas.

Then we may see a sudden return to rail transit.
  by photobug56
 
Good points. Note that this 'switch' to at home testing means a lot of positive results will no longer be reported. Deaths in the US are now past the 900k mark and I've not yet heard of any slowdown there. Also, people who are at risk who are not currently commuting would be at risk when they resume commuting. For instance, if you have arthritis (RA) and take an immune suppressant drug to control it, you will be at risk big time. Add to that, say, asthma. Neither of these are as age related as some people think. And think about the anti vaxxers and anti maskers - on LIRR and some other commuter railroads, there is zero enforcement of mask regulations, and in an overcrowded car your face will be in someone else's face. I'd also note that on Long Island, many commuters are sticking to their cars - but the roads are once again highly congested in rush hour and beyond. More people going back to work and many will have to use mass transit just to get there. And that will likely cause numbers to go back up, because nowhere near enough people are fully vaxxed and boosted, and those boosters will soon be wearing out. Let's see - they last, what, about 6 months? I got boosted in early October. So I've got a couple more months - unless the virus mutates too much. Though at some point boosters will have a new version.
  by STrRedWolf
 
So yesterday I visited my regular train station, Odenton MARC station, and found an old friend had become the station master about 18 months ago (coinciding with the coffee shop next door folding, which she was employed at).

Stick with me here. I'll tie it into the topic in a bit.

Chatting with her, I had asked how passenger traffic was. She said it was about 50-60% of pre-pandemic going to DC. That's 50-60% of trains becoming standing-room-only at Odenton pre-pandemic, going to Union Station in DC (Of course, WMATA's woes are hurting it, details on another subforum). Granted, not "packed like sardines" level full but full enough back then... to "easy to get a seat" now.

So what does this have to do with NYC passenger traffic? I'd say they'd be very similar, wouldn't they be?

LIRR numbers as of this weekend? Hovering 50%-60%. Metro-North? More towards 50%.

We'll get to that 65-75%.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
From Hilton Suites Boca Raton--

I continue to note Mr. Wolf's optimistic reports and thoughts of "they're coming back", as do the transit agencies, building landlords, and the ancillary business such as restaurants and bars all do. But reports such as in The Journal today, suggest that to workers career is not the "Alpha and Omega" it was pre-COVID.

If a boss barks the RTO NOW! to loudly, workers have another word to say back - and it starts with a "Q".
  by scratchyX1
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Feb 13, 2022 8:29 pm So yesterday I visited my regular train station, Odenton MARC station, and found an old friend had become the station master about 18 months ago (coinciding with the coffee shop next door folding, which she was employed at).

Stick with me here. I'll tie it into the topic in a bit.

Chatting with her, I had asked how passenger traffic was. She said it was about 50-60% of pre-pandemic going to DC. That's 50-60% of trains becoming standing-room-only at Odenton pre-pandemic, going to Union Station in DC (Of course, WMATA's woes are hurting it, details on another subforum). Granted, not "packed like sardines" level full but full enough back then... to "easy to get a seat" now.

So what does this have to do with NYC passenger traffic? I'd say they'd be very similar, wouldn't they be?

LIRR numbers as of this weekend? Hovering 50%-60%. Metro-North? More towards 50%.

We'll get to that 65-75%.
Honestly, as a passenger, knowing that the train still has a seat available, and isn't standing room only at odenton, as a plus.
  by STrRedWolf
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Feb 24, 2022 10:49 am Honestly, as a passenger, knowing that the train still has a seat available, and isn't standing room only at odenton, as a plus.
I think (just by looking at the map) this would be getting on an inbound-to-Penn Ronkonkoma train at Bethpage... and still having seats after it leaves. I would assume the trains would fill up a bit at Bethpage pre-pandemic and folks at Hicksville would ether squeeze in or take the next train.
  by MACTRAXX
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Thu Feb 24, 2022 1:16 pm
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Feb 24, 2022 10:49 am Honestly, as a passenger, knowing that the train still has a seat available, and isn't standing room only at odenton, as a plus.
I think (just by looking at the map) this would be getting on an inbound-to-Penn Ronkonkoma train at Bethpage... and still having seats after it leaves. I would assume the trains would fill up a bit at Bethpage pre-pandemic and folks at Hicksville would ether squeeze in or take the next train.
SX1 and RW: The LIRR now posts information on how full cars are on their app and on overhead
signs visible to all riders before scheduled trains arrive - and will mention where seats are - for example
if seats are available towards the rear of the train that is specified so passengers can take notice...

RW: There are schedule variations on LIRR Peak AM westbound trains that stop at the forementioned two
station stops at Bethpage and Hicksville. Bethpage riders because of the design of their station mostly use
the eastern end of the (12 car) platforms while Hicksville - which is the single highest-ridership LIRR station
in the system (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) not counting the NYC terminals - has trains originating there or
limited stop trains from Huntington or Ronkonkoma (examples) stopping westbound.

One of the best examples of a LIRR limited stop Peak AM was Train #2013 originating at Ronkonkoma.
#2013 made three stops: Leave Ronkonkoma 6:24 AM; Hicksville 6:50 AM; Arrives Penn Station 7:30 AM
Ronkonkoma has (since full electrified service began in January 1988) become the second-highest LIRR
Nassau-Suffolk ridership station in the system behind only Hicksville. This train was discontinued with
the ridership drop because of "The Problem" and has not been brought back to the current schedule.

The LIRR (and MNCR) no longer offer printed timetables. PDF timetables are available at:
http://web.mta.info/lirr/Timetable/
Download the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson Branch Timetables (PJ TT shows all Hicksville service)

RW: The LIRR is an "Eastbound" or "Westbound" railroad and has rarely if ever used the dreaded terms
"Inbound" or "Outbound" to describe train services...MACTRAXX
  by STrRedWolf
 
MACTRAXX wrote: Fri Feb 25, 2022 8:54 am SX1 and RW: The LIRR now posts information on how full cars are on their app and on overhead
signs visible to all riders before scheduled trains arrive - and will mention where seats are - for example
if seats are available towards the rear of the train that is specified so passengers can take notice...

RW: There are schedule variations on LIRR Peak AM westbound trains that stop at the forementioned two
station stops at Bethpage and Hicksville. Bethpage riders because of the design of their station mostly use
the eastern end of the (12 car) platforms while Hicksville - which is the single highest-ridership LIRR station
in the system (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) not counting the NYC terminals - has trains originating there or
limited stop trains from Huntington or Ronkonkoma (examples) stopping westbound.

One of the best examples of a LIRR limited stop Peak AM was Train #2013 originating at Ronkonkoma.
#2013 made three stops: Leave Ronkonkoma 6:24 AM; Hicksville 6:50 AM; Arrives Penn Station 7:30 AM
Ronkonkoma has (since full electrified service began in January 1988) become the second-highest LIRR
Nassau-Suffolk ridership station in the system behind only Hicksville. This train was discontinued with
the ridership drop because of "The Problem" and has not been brought back to the current schedule.

The LIRR (and MNCR) no longer offer printed timetables. PDF timetables are available at:
http://web.mta.info/lirr/Timetable/
Download the Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson Branch Timetables (PJ TT shows all Hicksville service)

RW: The LIRR is an "Eastbound" or "Westbound" railroad and has rarely if ever used the dreaded terms
"Inbound" or "Outbound" to describe train services...MACTRAXX
Thanks for the clarifications. I tried to gauge "equal" stations because Odenton is one (if not the biggest) station outside of Baltmore Penn and Washington Union, followed up by BWI Airport. Odenton could stand to have an express platform and another track and still overflow trainsets... well, pre-pandemic.

That said, I'm kinda not surprised if the timetables were shrunk down. If they can cut down on trains being run, why not? 50%-60% would probably save a few trains.