Daily News from New York, New York on July 8, 1997 · 7
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Daily News from New York, New York · 7

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Tuesday, July 8, 1997
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nn JUL Jl n on r -Yn JLi UJU Rush hour riders transfer from token - i : I f v7 Li ' -" . i fTTV v FV -i ' " " , - V ' I . I ' v 'r I ,J ? 15J t -; V 'I- Jl ; "? , - . - ' T I - -rr- . N j u . i - 1 - v ' C - ' I - - HTlifiiiiiriirniiiT- ; i . 1 JON NASO DAILY NEWS TOODLE-OO, TOKEN: MetroCard is becoming as common as morning paper, as this rider shows at turnstile at Whitehall St. station yesterday. Card's free transfer proved a hit across city, transit officials said. Up to half the city's bus and subway riders abandoned tokens for MetroCards yesterday for the rush-hour debut of free transfers, the highest use of the card yet, transit officials said. That's double the number of people who used ihe card a month ago, and a 40' jump from the number using the card last week before the July 4 start of the free bus-to-subway transfers. "It's much better than we anticipated," said Chris Boylan. deputy executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He added that the push since May to market the card had boosted its use way beyond the 25 expected by Independence Day. All over the city, but especially at the 54 subway and bus stations where trains and bus lines intersect, riders buying the card for the first time waited in longer-than-normal lines, then struggled to swipe them through turnstiles and dip them into bus fareboxes. It wasn't always easy. But all things considered, the morning rush hour went off with far fewer mishaps and less chaos than expected. Boylan could not provide ri-dership figures, or say how many riders have transferred free since last Friday. And he said it could be several days before transit officials know which bus routes had additional riders yesterday. The transfers are expected to increase bus ridership by 27 million rides this year. Commuters from Staten Island to the Bronx, liberated from two-fare zones, were thrilled to pay just $1.50 to get to work like everyone else. In Manhattan, riders took rides they might have taken in taxis or walked. "I thought it was a gimmick at first," said Dominick Ross, Thus stony wux reported bij: BOB LIFF PAULH.B. SHIN LAURA WILLIAMS RAFAEL OLMEOA and USA REIN and was written by Rein 24. who rode the B6 bus from his home on Kings Highway in Brooklyn to the HIT No. 5 train at Flatbush Ave., on his way to work at the Paragon sporting goods store near Union Square in Manhattan. Ross changed his mind as soon as he saw the reader on the turnstile had not deducted a s e c o n d fare. "1 was like, great!" Mayor (iiu Hani, with Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari at his side, greeted com muters on the St. George side of the Staten Island ferry which is now free and used the occasion to take credit for the transfers. "Thank you. Mr. Mayor." gushed Ronnie Lobo, giving him a kiss as she said the words Giuliani had come to hear: "He's the first one who cares about Staten Island." But riders' elation over the new discount was tempered by confusion and impatience. They inserted cards into bus fareboxes the wrong way They swiped and swiped through turnstiles that said swipe again Many longed for the simplicity of the token, but knew that going back meant losing money. In the Bronx, Julio Kn-chautegui, 30, swiped several times before his MetroCard let him into the 149th St. -Third Ave. station even with the station's general superintendent helping him. "I never had a problem with the tokens," he lamented. Chic Silber, a special effects director for Broadway shows, christened his MetroCard on the M14 bus in Manhattan. He planned to drop off some things at a rehearsal studio at 19th St. and Broadway before hopping on the N train to his office in Times Square. "Normally, I would have walked across town, but I wanted to try this out." Water main burst stalls p.m. rush A water main break swamped all subway service on the E, F and G lines in most of Queens yesterday and turned the evening rush into a nightmare for thousands. The Transit Authority said the main burst near Queens Plaza at 5:48 p.m. and sent a torrent of water onto tracks. "It was just too much too fast for the storm drains to handle," a transit spokesman said. "Water covered the tracks and everything stopped." Service was halted in both directions between Queens Plaza and 179th St. and was only partially restored hours later. Transit workers directed long lines of sweat-soaked passengers to alternate transportation as they emerged from stations wondering how they were going to get home. But the help was small consolation to George Richards, who at 9 p.m. was still waiting for a bus at Queens Plaza with two dozen other subway riders. Richards, 54, who works as a chef said, "I left at 3:30 this morning it's almost my bedtime now." The TA had no immediate idea how many passengers were affected. Service was expected to be normal for this morning's rush. K.C. Baker and Leo Standora Two-hour leeway & then some By LISA REIN Daily News Staff Writer There's a hidden bonus programed inside the tiny computer chip that processes the free MetroCard transfers 18 minutes. That's the extra time you get to complete a trip from bus to bus, subway to bus and vice versa, on top of the two hours formally allowed. The Transit Authority had been keeping the window of extra time a secret at least until riders figure out their MetroCards will record a free transfer after two hours if, say, their bus gets stuck in traffic on the first leg of their trip. Transit officials said they programed the 18-minute grace period into the transfer software as an accommodation to riders. "As we roll this thing out, we wanted to make sure we had a little bit of flexibility there ... so we don't shut any customers out of the time they need" to transfer, said Chris Boylan, deputy executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He said there was no "science" pegging the cushion at 18 minutes, as opposed to a round number such as 10 or 20 minutes. Transit officials said the extra time could be scaled back in a few months, after the TA sees how many rides are taken outside the two-hour window "Just because it's here at the outset doesn't mean it'll be that way forever." Boylan said. With Hob Liff z m

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