A luxury commuter bus company plans to provide a special Long Island Rail Road strike fare for $10 each way to Rego Park, Queens, starting Monday.
In anticipation of an LIRR strike and heavy traffic congestion on the Long Island Expressway and other roads, the 7Bus will temporarily use its 17 buses to run a shuttle service from Stony Brook, Ronkonkoma and Melville to Queens, where commuters can catch the subway to Manhattan. The Bohemia-based private transit company, which has been in operation since last July, started accepting reservations Wednesday.
"Demand is up," said William E. Schoolman, CEO of 7Bus, which provides free Wi-Fi, power outlets, cup holders and leather seats. "People are making reservations . . . Nobody knows what a bad disaster this is going to be."
Until LIRR service resumes, 7Bus will accept existing 7Bus Commuter Passes with a reservation. Commuters can also purchase $10 one-way tickets online; walk-ons will pay $10 in cash only. The bus company will suspend all of its regular fares above $10 for the duration of the strike. A one-way fare to Manhattan usually ranges from $7 to $17 depending on demand and when a ticket is purchased.
"We decided to come up with a one-way fare of $10 because we didn't want to be seen as predatory and being greedy," Schoolman said. "We are an alternative way of getting in and out of the city. Every bus takes 35 cars off the road."
Departures will begin at 4:30 a.m. from Ronkonkoma and 5 a.m. from Melville. Stony Brook departures will begin at 6:50 a.m.
To avoid expected gridlock conditions at the Midtown Tunnel, westbound trips will end at the Rego Park subway stop, where eastbound trips will also originate, instead of midtown Manhattan. Rego Park connects to the M, R and E subway lines.
"If by the second day this thing is going on, we would bring additional buses," Schoolman said.