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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) yesterday released a transportation plan aimed at maintaining rush-hour commuter capacity to and from Manhattan during Amtrak's summer repair schedule at Penn Station.The plan calls for adding MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trains during rush hour at the station, as well as lengthening existing trains. In addition, the MTA will create a new bus and ferry network that's free to LIRR monthly and weekly ticketholders, and provide free morning subway transfers for LIRR passengers, agency officials said in a press release.The new plan will be in place as Amtrak makes emergency repairs at the station between July 10 through Sept. 1. As a result of the repair schedule, LIRR faced the possibility of canceling or diverting up to 15 trains that normally arrive at the station during the morning rush.To provide seats for all affected customers, LIRR is adding three trains and 36 cars to other trains that travel to Penn Station. "The MTA has put in place a robust mitigation plan that provides a number of transportation alternatives for LIRR pass holders because we know that even the slightest change to their commute is an inconvenience and we value their support and patience during a difficult summer," said MTA Acting Chair Freddy Ferrer. "We will also hold Amtrak accountable by asking for regular progress reports and will closely monitor how the plan is working in order to make real-time adjustments as needed."The plan was developed in conjunction with a Penn Station task force established by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in May. Meanwhile, Amtrak will begin running trains to and from Grand Central Terminal to help reduce congestion at Penn Station. MTA Interim Executive Director Veronique Hakim told The Journal News that Amtrak will run six daily Empire Service trains to Grand Central. Empire Service trains haven't stopped at Grand Central since 1991, according to the newspaper.
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