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Despite Contingency Plan Riders Fear Messy Commute If Strike Halts LIRR Service

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — There are eight days and counting until a possible Long Island Railroad strike that could severely disrupt the commutes for more than 300,000 riders.

The MTA has announced a contingency plan that includes buses, ferry service, and new rules for HOV lanes.

As CBS 2′s Janelle Burrell reported, commuters already fear what rush hour could look like if service on the LIRR comes to a halt.

MORE: What Both Sides Want | What’s Your Backup Plan? | Join The #LIRRStrike Conversation

“I think it’s going to be very difficult, and I’m really nervous about it,” Karina Mazzilli said.

If the union and the MTA can’t reach a deal, riders will be caught in the impasse.

The MTA has announced a contingency plan for its passengers that includes using buses to shuttle riders from eight locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties to three major subway stops in Queens where they will be able to get on Manhattan bound trains.

The 350 buses used as part of the plan will only operate during rush hours and in the direction of peak travel.

The MTA would also offer free ferry service from Glen Cove to East 34th Street in Midtown, and provide park and ride lots in Queens and on Long Island.

“We hope we never have to put this plan into place. We’re doing everything at the collective bargaining table to keep that from happening,” MTA chairman Tom Prendergrast, said.

Union leaders said that the agency’s contingency plan falls short of the needs of commuters.

“So the union’s position is that we’ll do whatever we have to, to resolve that before it gets to that,” Anthony Simon, United Transportation Union, said.

Riders told CBS 2′s Burrell that they are eager for both sides to come to a resolution.

“They just have to get this all done. I think they will. I think it will be last minute in my honest opinion,” Jeffrey Katoff said.

Here’s What You Need To Know:

  • Buses from the Ronkonkoma, Deer Park, and Manhasset stations will connect to the No. 7 line at the Mets-Willets Point station.
  • Buses from Nassau Community College and the Seaford, Bellmore, and Freeport LIRR stations will connect to the A line subway station at Howard Beach.
  • Buses from the Hicksville LIRR station will connect to the M and R subway station at Woodhaven Boulevard.
  • Shuttle bus service will only be available during peak hours, between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m., and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and only in peak direction (Westbound in the morning, Eastbound in the evening)
  • Subway cars will be added, and more trains will run, on the 7 and A lines.
  • Disabled customers will also be able to use Access-A-Ride vehicles available at the shuttle bus locations.
  • You must present a valid LIRR ticket to board a shuttle bus.
  • A valid MetroCard will be required to enter the subway. Please purchase a MetroCard beforehand to avoid long lines and additional delays. MetroCards are available at all LIRR stations, and at subway stations.

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