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Free Transfer Between Subway, LIRR Would Help Brooklyn Commuters, Pols Say

By Camille Bautista | February 1, 2016 3:44pm
 Under the proposed 'Freedom Ticket,' riders would pay just one fare to transfer from the subway to LIRR along the Atlantic Branch.
Under the proposed 'Freedom Ticket,' riders would pay just one fare to transfer from the subway to LIRR along the Atlantic Branch.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

BROOKLYN — A single ticket that passengers could use to ride the subway and get a free transfer between the subway and the Long Island Rail Road could ease the strain on Brooklyn straphangers, according to a proposal from elected officials and transit advocates.

The "Freedom Ticket" program would allow commuters to transfer from the subway to the LIRR along the Atlantic Avenue line, including for trips between Atlantic Terminal and the Nostrand Avenue and East New York stations.

The proposal, which was developed as a larger initiative by the New York City Transit Riders Council, is supported by a coalition of elected officials spearheaded by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

The plan is seen as a way to help reduce costs and expand transit options for riders and would especially benefit commuters living and working along the Atlantic Branch corridor — a group that could grow with the planned East New York rezoning — as well as with those impacted by the impending L train shutdown.

“In Brooklyn, the ‘Freedom Ticket’ presents an opportunity to support neighborhood growth and development in East New York,” Adams wrote in a letter to MTA Chair Thomas Prendergast.

“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.”

Under the program, straphangers could use the same ticket under a reduced fare to ride the subway and the LIRR. Under the current system, MetroCards are $2.75 for a single ride on a subway and upwards of $6 per ride, off peak, on the LIRR.

The Freedom Ticket would help ease overcrowding on nearby subway lines, Adams added. The proposal was first reported by Politico.

It takes ten minutes on the LIRR to get from the East New York station to Atlantic Terminal, with a ticket costing $8.25 during peak hours, according to a NYCTRC report.

Many riders instead choose the cheaper, but longer option: $2.75 on the subway from Broadway Junction to Atlantic Terminal with a 26 minute-ride, the report found.

A Freedom Ticket in the borough would help better utilize stations like the East New York location, the group said, along with filling currently unused seats on the LIRR to relieve strains on “an increasingly burdened subway system.”

The MTA said it will consider the proposal, according to an agency spokesman.

“It's an interesting proposal to alleviate the concerns of some of our customers, though it would certainly carry a financial impact for the MTA as well, so we'll consider it next year as we determine how to structure the next in our series of modest fare increases equivalent to the rate of inflation,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.