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MTA 'Prepared' to Ease Commute Woes in Event of LIRR Strike

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TWC News: MTA 'Prepared' to Ease Commute Woes in Event of LIRR Strike
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As the clock ticks down toward a possible Long Island Rail Road strike that could come as soon as July 20, the MTA on Thursday unveiled its plans on how riders on the commuter railroad can get around in case of a walkout.

The MTA agency is releasing the plan as it braces for a possible strike that could severely disrupt the commutes for more than 300,000 riders on the country's largest commuter railroad.

MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast and chief spokesman Adam Lisberg said riders will be able to use 4,000 parking spaces at Citi Field and 3,000 parking spaces at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, where they can make connections to subway lines.

They also said the MTA is far better prepared for the last time the railroad went on strike.

"We hope we never have to put this plan into place. We're doing everything we can at the collective bargaining place to keep that from happening. But the MTA today has a far stronger, more robust and multifaceted plan. We're better prepared than we were in 1994 and we're ready to face a strike if it comes to that," Prendergast said on a conference call.

"These subway lines will be a little more crowded than they otherwise would, but it's a great option to get people into Manhattan into work," Lisberg added.

The MTA says it will also offer free ferry service from Glen Cove, Long Island to the 34th Street pier on the East River. However, those can only carry 1,000 people at a time, and only during the morning rush, so the MTA is urging commuters to work from home, and the agency says it's secured commitments from close to 20,000 workers who say they'll telecommute if there's a strike."

At Jamaica Station in Queens, many LIRR riders who spoke with NY1 say they're trying not to worry about a possible strike.

"I don't really pay too much mind to it you know. It's a lot of chatter," said one rider.

"I'm getting to work regardless, whether I have to take a car or carpool with somebody. It is what it is," said another rider.

Meanwhile, the unions who represent more than 5,000 workers and MTA management have pledged to continue negotiating, though they would not say when the next round of talks will take place.

MTA officials and union leaders met for more than four hours Thursday.

The MTA is offering a 17 percent pay increase over seven years.

The latest round of talks resumed a day after the MTA chairman was told by Congress that it would not intervene.

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