The New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) has put forth a plan that would make more affordable railway travel for commuters who transfer between the subway and Long Island Rail Road stations along the Atlantic Avenue Branch corridor.
The pilot program is called the “Freedom Ticket,” and it provides a single fare one-way ticket for travelers between the two trains, versus paying for two individual rides.
On Friday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams led a coalition of local elected officials calling on the MTA and the LIRR to endorse the plan.
In their letter to MTA Chair Thomas Prendergast, Adams and others championed the program for Brooklyn, stating it would reduce costs and expand transit options in an area that may be expanding pending the City’s proposed East New York Community Plan. Also, Adams noted, it will help alleviate the travel challenges for riders who will be impacted by service disruptions resulting from planned repairs to the L train’s Canarsie Tube.
“In Brooklyn, the ‘Freedom Ticket’ presents an opportunity to support neighborhood growth and development in East New York,” wrote Adams in a statement. “We believe that the ‘Freedom Ticket’ program could be a significant asset in mitigating strain on the existing subway system while also providing residents in the East New York area an affordable option to ride the LIRR to Atlantic Terminal.”
City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo said the increased transit options would make several neighborhoods more accessible to New Yorkers and boost economic development: “As the population of Brooklyn continues to grow, we must begin to assess our current transportation infrastructure and its ability to meet the increasing public demand,” said Council Member Cumbo. “The ‘Freedom Ticket’ is a time-efficient and cost-effective way for New Yorkers to use our city’s transit system – particularly the LIRR – during their daily commutes.”
According to MTA statistics, there are more than 9,300 seats left empty on westbound Atlantic Branch trains during morning peak hours.
“Residents of Brownsville, Ocean Hill, and East New York will benefit substantially from the ‘Freedom Ticket,’ which will allow for improved access to Downtown Brooklyn, Manhattan, and other parts of the city,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker. “I commend Borough President Adams and my fellow elected officials for their commitment to riders who have often been underserved.”
The program is modeled around on the CityTicket program, which established a reduced fare on weekends within city limits on LIRR and Metro-North trains.
City Councilmember Robert Cornegy called it a win-win for the community and said he looked forward to it becoming a reality.