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Op-ed | Take public transit to enjoy New York during the holidays

Acting MTA New York City Transit President Craig Cipriano
Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

There’s nothing like New York during the holidays. I vividly remember the thrill of coming into Manhattan as a young boy to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, all the beautiful window displays and lights, and of course, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. One of my fondest childhood memories is watching the balloons get inflated the night before – a yearly tradition you certainly don’t want to miss.

I still get the same thrill now moving around our great city this time of year. And with so many festive things to see and do, there’s no better way to get around than taking the subway or bus.

For Thursday’s parade, the transit system will operate on a Sunday schedule, with increased early subway service on the 1 line to accommodate spectators. The closest stations to the start of the parade are the 1/2/3 at 72 St, the 1 at 79 St, the C at 81 St and the 1/A/C/D at 59 St-Columbus Circle. On the other end, there’s 34 Street-Herald Square station down by Macy’s and Penn Station just one block away.

And to help out travelers during the holiday weekend, the MTA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will offer free rides on the Q70 Select Bus Service (SBS) LaGuardia Link until Sunday. So, ditch the car and congested streets for an easy and stress-free ride to the airport too.

When riding, you’ll notice we’ve been working hard to make sure your ride is faster and more efficient than ever.

Latest subway data shows improvement in all performance metrics – including service delivered, which increased from 89% in September to 91% in October despite serving more returning riders which can result in longer time spent at stations. The number of major incidents that cause delays also went down, while on-time performance rose to 83.2%. Overall, the subway is faster during peak hours now than before the pandemic.

Bus speeds are also significantly up, by as much as 40% on some of our new busways and bus lanes. In the last month alone, we launched two new busways in Queens for a total of four new bus-only corridors this year.

We’ve been working closely with partners at the New York City Department of Transportation to further improve bus priority by committing to even more bus lanes and busways in 2022, adding more cameras to enforce the right of way, expanding accessibility, and sharing better real-time information.

I’m delighted that we also restarted our bus network redesigns in September, beginning with the local bus network in the Bronx. All of these initiatives will significantly improve bus service vital to the lives of daily customers and those just visiting for the holidays, too.

Everything we do is for our customers, and we can’t wait to welcome more of you back this winter. The MTA wants to provide you a great transit experience, and the best gift you could give us is your return.

Craig Cipriano is acting MTA New York City Transit president.

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