A park-and-ride bus program began in Valley Stream on July 10 to alleviate congestion at Penn Station following the start of scheduled construction that is expected to last until September.
“With the [Long Island Rail Road] forced to change train schedules as a result of Amtrak’s track work, we set up the bus park-and-ride to provide LIRR customers with an alternative form of transportation,” said Aaron Donovan, the deputy director of external communications for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
As part of the Village of Valley Stream’s agreement with the MTA, any commuter can ride the bus from the Valley Stream train station. Parking is available in the metered lot under the trestle for free for bus riders from July 10 through Sept. 1 and riders can use LIRR tickets to board the buses.
Buses destined for Penn Station leave every 30 minutes — and every 20 minutes between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Buses will pick-up commuters returning home from New York City at Lexington Avenue between 43rd and 44th streets about every half hour. Each ride is said to take about an hour and a half.
The bus program is in response to scheduled Amtrak repairs at Penn Station, which closed down three tracks this week. The construction forced the MTA to reduce rush-hour service by about 20 percent.
“It went very well,” said Village Clerk Bob Fumagalli of the first day of the new schedule. “There weren’t a lot of people.”
The Metropolitan Transit Authority tweeted on July 10 that Lot 19 in Valley Stream was full at 5:20 a.m. but Fumagalli disputed that the lot had reached its capacity. He believed the communications officer who sent the tweet was looking at the wrong parking lot, because “the only agreement is for the 88 spaces under the trestle.”
As a precaution, code enforcement officers were due to patrol to the station for the first three days of the rollout. MTA police were also on alert.