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JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 13th, 2004, 09:03 PM
Arnold Reinhold
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News

While attending the Linux World trade show in Manhattan, I decided to
check out the new, long-awaited Airtrain at John F. Kennedy
International Airport in Queens. There is good news, bad news, more
good news and more bad news about this project.

The good news is that the JFK AirTrain is a massive, efficient,
attractive system that fills a major hole in the New York City
transportation grid. The bad new is that it is far more difficult to
use the JFK Airtrain than it should be. The good news is that simple,
inexpensive steps could remedy many of the usability issues. The bad
new is that responsibility is so fragmented that nothing may be done.

Two billion dollars well spent

The JFK AirTrain is a project that New York City should be proud of.
It provides a fast, frequent, and quiet ride between the eight airline
terminals at Kennedy, a rental car center, long term parking and not
one, but two mass transit facilities. The AirTrain stations have
automatic doors that line up with the doors on the cars, so travelers
stand in a comfortable, indoor space while waiting for their train.
The cars are well lit and have plenty of space for luggage and even
luggage carts. Since the AirTrain is fully automated, there is no cab
for an engineer. Instead a picture window allows passengers to see
where the train is going.

AirTrain is now the primary way JFK travelers move between terminals
to make connecting flights. It also replaces the swarm of car rental
vans and brings people to the long term parking lot. These internal
airport rides are free and are expected to be the most common use of
Airtrain. Trips to either transit station cost $5. Subway or commuter
rail fare is extra. Airport workers can buy a monthly pass for $40.
There are ample automated ticket machines at both transit stations.

Can we make Airtrain harder to use?

There is an old adage: never ascribe to malfeasance what can be
adequately explained by incompetence. None the less, I can't help
wondering if there isn't a conspiracy to keep Airtrain ridership down.
Perhaps officials are still pouting because the JFK Airtrain doesn't
provide a "one seat ride" to Manhattan. It doesn't cure cancer either.
Whatever its merits, it's built, it cost a lot of public money, and it
should be utilized to the greatest possible extent. Here is a summary
of the problems I found.

Problems at Penn Station

The best connections to the JFK AirTrain from Manhattan are from Penn
Station, the busiest train station in North America. From there you
can take either the NYC Subway or a Long Island Railroad commuter
train to the Jamaica AirTrain terminus. The subway is less expensive
but takes longer.

Yet there is almost no hint in the entire Penn Station complex that a
link to JFK even exists. All I could find was one blue banner hanging
in the Long Island Railroad waiting area deep in the bowels of the
station. The information booth in the main rotunda still has a big
sign advertising bus service to JFK and Laguardia Airports.

By contrast, the rail service to Newark Airport, also called AirTrain,
is prominently advertised. I found three Newark AirTrain kiosks in the
Amtrak/New Jersey Transit area, each with an ample supply of leaflets
describing only the Newark service. On the main display board, trains
that stop at the new Newark Airport station, where passengers transfer
to the Airtrain monorail, are clearly marked. By contrast, the LIRR
has not modified any of its train displays to include mention of JFK.

Amtrak also ignores the JFK Airtrain. Amtrak's Web site makes no
mention of JFK. Yet with a little effort, Amtrak could develop a
thriving airline connection sub-market on its Northeast corridor,
which has rail connections to Baltimore-Washington, Boston, Islip,
JFK, Newark, Philadelphia, and Washington National airports.

Penn Station's favorable treatment of the Newark AirTrain while
ignoring the JFK AirTrain is hard to justify. Both involve taking a
commuter train to a stop near the airport and then transferring to an
airport circulation system for rides to the individual terminals. The
ride from Penn Station to the Newark Airport station takes 25 minutes.
It's only 20 minutes from Penn Station to Jamaica. Ticket prices are
about the same. Jamaica LIRR trains are more frequent than Newark
Airport trains and JFK handles slightly more traffic than Newark (31.5
Million passengers per year vs 29.5).

Problems at Jamaica

The new AirTrain terminal at Jamaica is a bright, attractive space.
Connections from the LIRR are simple. There are well-marked stairs and
elevators at the west end of the LIRR platforms that lead up one level
to the AirTrain upper lobby and center platform. Direct connections to
the subway station are still under construction, so for now you have
to exit the subway and walk around the block under the LIRR tracks to
the impressive AirTrain street entrance.

When you arrive at the AirTrain lobby at Jamaica, you are confronted
with a bank of eight automated MetroCard ticket machines. There are no
fare booth on the automated AirTrain system. Six airline check-in
positions have been installed, but none are in use.

The displays on the MetroCard machines will confuse many visitors.
Someone who simply wants to get to the airport has to wade through
seven levels of screen to buy a ticket:

1. Touch Start to Begin [this screen is only in English]

2. Which Language? English / Spanish / French / German / Chinese /
Italian / Japanese / Korean
[The choices are at least labelled in the actual language, e.g.
Deutch]

3. Please select card type: MetroCard / SmartLink
[There is no further explanation for this confusing choice. SmartLink
is a monthly pass for New Jersey Transit and Newark Airport. How many
New Yorkers know this, much less visitors from out of town?]

4. Refill your card / Get card info/ New card

5. Regular MetroCard / AirTrain 30 day $40

6. $5 JFK / $7 JFK + Subway/ $10 / $20 / Other amount

7. Cash / ATM / Credit

See http://www.railfanwindow.com/gallery/album69 for some screen
photos.

Remember this is in the upper lobby facing the ticket gates to the
AirTrain. Most visitors at this point simply want to buy a $5 ticket
to JFK. A menu item marked "$5 JFK" could easily be displayed on the
third screen.

On the other side of the fare gate, there are eight more MetroCard
machines and two LIRR ticket machines. I did not actually try it, but
I fear that a traveler wanting to get to Manhattan from JFK via the
faster LIRR route must negotiate two ticket machines, one to get out
of the Airtrain and the other to buy a ticket for the train. Why not
a one-ticket ride? The airport side of the Airtrain lobby would also
be an ideal place to sell visitors a combine MetroCard with a round
trip ticket on Airtrain and a one-week pass on the subway.

Problems on the AirTrain

The AirTrain itself is not as user friendly as it might be. Stops are
announced in English inside the cars, but only the airport terminal
number is given. There is a smallish card on each car listing the
eight terminals and the airlines they serve.

Howard Beach

Howard Beach is where the Airtrain connects with the subway A train.
Again there are banks of MetroCard machines. Here, the logical choice
for almost all travelers (the exceptions are people who live in or are
visiting the small Howard Beach community) is $7 JFK + Subway. To get
to the subway, you have to go through two sets of ticket gates about
20 feet apart, one to leave the airport and one to enter the subway.
The subway station is an open platform, but the station designers
provided a window at the enclosed upper level from which you can see
the train approaching.

Cheap ways to make AirTrain easier to use

Here are some simple ways ways to make AirTrain more usable. Some
require an modest investment in time or money, but many are
essentially free.

At Penn Station
o Include "JFK" in LIRR train announcements.
The public address announcements for trains that stop at Jamaica
usually end with "Change at Jamaica for..." followed by a long list of
stations. Why not include "JFK" in that list? All it would take is a
"make it so" phone call from LIRR management.

o Add "JFK" to Jamaica sign over Penn Station LIRR next train display
There is a large display over the LIRR ticket windows that lists, in
alphabetical order, each station on the LIRR, followed by time and
track number for the next train to that station. The times and tracks
change, of course, but the station names are fixed, so it would be
very easy to add the letters "JFK" after the word "Jamaica." This
would be a huge aid for travelers unfamiliar with New York.

o Stock AirTrain-JFK leaflets at existing AirTrain-Newark kiosks
There are several kiosks at Penn Station advertising AirTrain Newark,
each filled with flyers for the Newark service. All it would take is
slapping on a decal that says "JFK" next to the word "Newark" and
devoting half the shelves to JFK AirTrain Flyers.

o Make sure the rotunda Information boot staff is cool with the JFK
AirTrain
There should be a supply of LIRR Jamaica schedules in stock at the
booth. Lose the bus sign.

o Display JFK AirTrain info in the main Amtrak NJT waiting area
There is an auxiliary display board next to the main train listings
that is used for special advisories. Usually it tells people not to
leave baggage unattended. It could direct JFK passengers to the LIRR,
perhaps "For JFK Airport connections follow signs to LIRR."

o Put up some signs directing travelers to the JFK Airtrain
Connections between NJ Transit and the LIRR should also be
facilitated.

o Modify LIRR video displays
The New Jersey Transit displays include the letters "EWR" (the
international airport code for Newark) next to every train that stops
at the Newark Airport Station. The LIRR should modify its video
display system to add "JFK" next to each train that stops at Jamaica.

o Place a MetroCard vending machine in Amtrak/NJT lobby

o Place an LIRR train display monitor in the Amtrak/NJT waiting area
Or alternately, a monitor showing the next train to JFK. This could be
accomplished by pointing a video camera at the Jamaica next train
display described above.

At Jamaica and Howard Beech

o Easier ticketing
The MetroCard machines at Jamaica and Howard Beach should be fixed to
simplify purchase of the most common tickets, eliminating the current
seven screen mess. It should also be possible to issue a single ticket
that covers the JFK Airtrain and the LIRR to Penn Station. Making
travelers to Manhattan navigate two separate ticket machines pretty
much eliminates the time saving over just taking the subway, for which
there already is a single ticket option. A single ticket between JFK
and Newark Airport should also be feasible.

o Help travelers figure out their terminal
There should be flight displays at the Jamaica and Howard Beach
AirTrain terminals (if there were any, I missed them). The information
card on the AirTrain cars should be bigger and alphabetized by airline
name instead of terminal number.

o Place subway and LIRR maps in the Airtrain terminals
Hopefully the new subway maps showing revised routes over the newly
reopened Manhattan bridge will also show the AirTrain routes. Even
better would be a special map showing the best connections from
Manhattan to JFK. The map should show estimated travel times and
clearly indicate cross-platform connections and handicapped accessible
stations, a big plus for people with luggage.

o The A trains that service the Howard Beach Station should have some
clear airport marking. I suspect the a train fleet is still equipped
with the old "Train to the Plane" signs. It might make sense to use
them again.


Who is in charge?
While the steps listed above are mostly cheap and easy to implement,
figuring out the agency responsible is a challenge. For example,
AirTrain is owned by the Port Authority, Penn Station is owned by
Amtrak. The LIRR and NYC subway both run trains that connect Penn
Station with JFK Airtrain (they are part of the same agency, the MTA,
but have incompatible ticketing). Transfers to Newark Airport also
involve New Jersey Transit.

I can only hope some political leader will take charge and whip this
alphabet soup of agencies into shape.

Arnold Reinhold
  #2  
Old February 13th, 2004, 11:38 PM
K
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News

Arnold - thank you for doing all that work. It's really very kind of you,
and the information is wonderful.

"Arnold Reinhold" wrote in message
om...
While attending the Linux World trade show in Manhattan, I decided to
check out the new, long-awaited Airtrain at John F. Kennedy
International Airport in Queens. There is good news, bad news, more
good news and more bad news about this project.

The good news is that the JFK AirTrain is a massive, efficient,
attractive system that fills a major hole in the New York City
transportation grid. The bad new is that it is far more difficult to
use the JFK Airtrain than it should be. The good news is that simple,
inexpensive steps could remedy many of the usability issues. The bad
new is that responsibility is so fragmented that nothing may be done.

Two billion dollars well spent

The JFK AirTrain is a project that New York City should be proud of.
It provides a fast, frequent, and quiet ride between the eight airline
terminals at Kennedy, a rental car center, long term parking and not
one, but two mass transit facilities. The AirTrain stations have
automatic doors that line up with the doors on the cars, so travelers
stand in a comfortable, indoor space while waiting for their train.
The cars are well lit and have plenty of space for luggage and even
luggage carts. Since the AirTrain is fully automated, there is no cab
for an engineer. Instead a picture window allows passengers to see
where the train is going.

AirTrain is now the primary way JFK travelers move between terminals
to make connecting flights. It also replaces the swarm of car rental
vans and brings people to the long term parking lot. These internal
airport rides are free and are expected to be the most common use of
Airtrain. Trips to either transit station cost $5. Subway or commuter
rail fare is extra. Airport workers can buy a monthly pass for $40.
There are ample automated ticket machines at both transit stations.

Can we make Airtrain harder to use?

There is an old adage: never ascribe to malfeasance what can be
adequately explained by incompetence. None the less, I can't help
wondering if there isn't a conspiracy to keep Airtrain ridership down.
Perhaps officials are still pouting because the JFK Airtrain doesn't
provide a "one seat ride" to Manhattan. It doesn't cure cancer either.
Whatever its merits, it's built, it cost a lot of public money, and it
should be utilized to the greatest possible extent. Here is a summary
of the problems I found.

Problems at Penn Station

The best connections to the JFK AirTrain from Manhattan are from Penn
Station, the busiest train station in North America. From there you
can take either the NYC Subway or a Long Island Railroad commuter
train to the Jamaica AirTrain terminus. The subway is less expensive
but takes longer.

Yet there is almost no hint in the entire Penn Station complex that a
link to JFK even exists. All I could find was one blue banner hanging
in the Long Island Railroad waiting area deep in the bowels of the
station. The information booth in the main rotunda still has a big
sign advertising bus service to JFK and Laguardia Airports.

By contrast, the rail service to Newark Airport, also called AirTrain,
is prominently advertised. I found three Newark AirTrain kiosks in the
Amtrak/New Jersey Transit area, each with an ample supply of leaflets
describing only the Newark service. On the main display board, trains
that stop at the new Newark Airport station, where passengers transfer
to the Airtrain monorail, are clearly marked. By contrast, the LIRR
has not modified any of its train displays to include mention of JFK.

Amtrak also ignores the JFK Airtrain. Amtrak's Web site makes no
mention of JFK. Yet with a little effort, Amtrak could develop a
thriving airline connection sub-market on its Northeast corridor,
which has rail connections to Baltimore-Washington, Boston, Islip,
JFK, Newark, Philadelphia, and Washington National airports.

Penn Station's favorable treatment of the Newark AirTrain while
ignoring the JFK AirTrain is hard to justify. Both involve taking a
commuter train to a stop near the airport and then transferring to an
airport circulation system for rides to the individual terminals. The
ride from Penn Station to the Newark Airport station takes 25 minutes.
It's only 20 minutes from Penn Station to Jamaica. Ticket prices are
about the same. Jamaica LIRR trains are more frequent than Newark
Airport trains and JFK handles slightly more traffic than Newark (31.5
Million passengers per year vs 29.5).

Problems at Jamaica

The new AirTrain terminal at Jamaica is a bright, attractive space.
Connections from the LIRR are simple. There are well-marked stairs and
elevators at the west end of the LIRR platforms that lead up one level
to the AirTrain upper lobby and center platform. Direct connections to
the subway station are still under construction, so for now you have
to exit the subway and walk around the block under the LIRR tracks to
the impressive AirTrain street entrance.

When you arrive at the AirTrain lobby at Jamaica, you are confronted
with a bank of eight automated MetroCard ticket machines. There are no
fare booth on the automated AirTrain system. Six airline check-in
positions have been installed, but none are in use.

The displays on the MetroCard machines will confuse many visitors.
Someone who simply wants to get to the airport has to wade through
seven levels of screen to buy a ticket:

1. Touch Start to Begin [this screen is only in English]

2. Which Language? English / Spanish / French / German / Chinese /
Italian / Japanese / Korean
[The choices are at least labelled in the actual language, e.g.
Deutch]

3. Please select card type: MetroCard / SmartLink
[There is no further explanation for this confusing choice. SmartLink
is a monthly pass for New Jersey Transit and Newark Airport. How many
New Yorkers know this, much less visitors from out of town?]

4. Refill your card / Get card info/ New card

5. Regular MetroCard / AirTrain 30 day $40

6. $5 JFK / $7 JFK + Subway/ $10 / $20 / Other amount

7. Cash / ATM / Credit

See http://www.railfanwindow.com/gallery/album69 for some screen
photos.

Remember this is in the upper lobby facing the ticket gates to the
AirTrain. Most visitors at this point simply want to buy a $5 ticket
to JFK. A menu item marked "$5 JFK" could easily be displayed on the
third screen.

On the other side of the fare gate, there are eight more MetroCard
machines and two LIRR ticket machines. I did not actually try it, but
I fear that a traveler wanting to get to Manhattan from JFK via the
faster LIRR route must negotiate two ticket machines, one to get out
of the Airtrain and the other to buy a ticket for the train. Why not
a one-ticket ride? The airport side of the Airtrain lobby would also
be an ideal place to sell visitors a combine MetroCard with a round
trip ticket on Airtrain and a one-week pass on the subway.

Problems on the AirTrain

The AirTrain itself is not as user friendly as it might be. Stops are
announced in English inside the cars, but only the airport terminal
number is given. There is a smallish card on each car listing the
eight terminals and the airlines they serve.

Howard Beach

Howard Beach is where the Airtrain connects with the subway A train.
Again there are banks of MetroCard machines. Here, the logical choice
for almost all travelers (the exceptions are people who live in or are
visiting the small Howard Beach community) is $7 JFK + Subway. To get
to the subway, you have to go through two sets of ticket gates about
20 feet apart, one to leave the airport and one to enter the subway.
The subway station is an open platform, but the station designers
provided a window at the enclosed upper level from which you can see
the train approaching.

Cheap ways to make AirTrain easier to use

Here are some simple ways ways to make AirTrain more usable. Some
require an modest investment in time or money, but many are
essentially free.

At Penn Station
o Include "JFK" in LIRR train announcements.
The public address announcements for trains that stop at Jamaica
usually end with "Change at Jamaica for..." followed by a long list of
stations. Why not include "JFK" in that list? All it would take is a
"make it so" phone call from LIRR management.

o Add "JFK" to Jamaica sign over Penn Station LIRR next train display
There is a large display over the LIRR ticket windows that lists, in
alphabetical order, each station on the LIRR, followed by time and
track number for the next train to that station. The times and tracks
change, of course, but the station names are fixed, so it would be
very easy to add the letters "JFK" after the word "Jamaica." This
would be a huge aid for travelers unfamiliar with New York.

o Stock AirTrain-JFK leaflets at existing AirTrain-Newark kiosks
There are several kiosks at Penn Station advertising AirTrain Newark,
each filled with flyers for the Newark service. All it would take is
slapping on a decal that says "JFK" next to the word "Newark" and
devoting half the shelves to JFK AirTrain Flyers.

o Make sure the rotunda Information boot staff is cool with the JFK
AirTrain
There should be a supply of LIRR Jamaica schedules in stock at the
booth. Lose the bus sign.

o Display JFK AirTrain info in the main Amtrak NJT waiting area
There is an auxiliary display board next to the main train listings
that is used for special advisories. Usually it tells people not to
leave baggage unattended. It could direct JFK passengers to the LIRR,
perhaps "For JFK Airport connections follow signs to LIRR."

o Put up some signs directing travelers to the JFK Airtrain
Connections between NJ Transit and the LIRR should also be
facilitated.

o Modify LIRR video displays
The New Jersey Transit displays include the letters "EWR" (the
international airport code for Newark) next to every train that stops
at the Newark Airport Station. The LIRR should modify its video
display system to add "JFK" next to each train that stops at Jamaica.

o Place a MetroCard vending machine in Amtrak/NJT lobby

o Place an LIRR train display monitor in the Amtrak/NJT waiting area
Or alternately, a monitor showing the next train to JFK. This could be
accomplished by pointing a video camera at the Jamaica next train
display described above.

At Jamaica and Howard Beech

o Easier ticketing
The MetroCard machines at Jamaica and Howard Beach should be fixed to
simplify purchase of the most common tickets, eliminating the current
seven screen mess. It should also be possible to issue a single ticket
that covers the JFK Airtrain and the LIRR to Penn Station. Making
travelers to Manhattan navigate two separate ticket machines pretty
much eliminates the time saving over just taking the subway, for which
there already is a single ticket option. A single ticket between JFK
and Newark Airport should also be feasible.

o Help travelers figure out their terminal
There should be flight displays at the Jamaica and Howard Beach
AirTrain terminals (if there were any, I missed them). The information
card on the AirTrain cars should be bigger and alphabetized by airline
name instead of terminal number.

o Place subway and LIRR maps in the Airtrain terminals
Hopefully the new subway maps showing revised routes over the newly
reopened Manhattan bridge will also show the AirTrain routes. Even
better would be a special map showing the best connections from
Manhattan to JFK. The map should show estimated travel times and
clearly indicate cross-platform connections and handicapped accessible
stations, a big plus for people with luggage.

o The A trains that service the Howard Beach Station should have some
clear airport marking. I suspect the a train fleet is still equipped
with the old "Train to the Plane" signs. It might make sense to use
them again.


Who is in charge?
While the steps listed above are mostly cheap and easy to implement,
figuring out the agency responsible is a challenge. For example,
AirTrain is owned by the Port Authority, Penn Station is owned by
Amtrak. The LIRR and NYC subway both run trains that connect Penn
Station with JFK Airtrain (they are part of the same agency, the MTA,
but have incompatible ticketing). Transfers to Newark Airport also
involve New Jersey Transit.

I can only hope some political leader will take charge and whip this
alphabet soup of agencies into shape.

Arnold Reinhold



  #3  
Old February 14th, 2004, 12:16 AM
Thor Lancelot Simon
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News

In article ,
Arnold Reinhold wrote:

The JFK AirTrain is a project that New York City should be proud of.
It provides a fast, frequent, and quiet ride between the eight airline
terminals at Kennedy, a rental car center, long term parking and not
one, but two mass transit facilities. The AirTrain stations have


One of those mass transit facilities used to have *free*, regular,
quick shuttle-bus service to all areas at JFK. That shuttle bus
service was discontinued when the AirTrain came online. The result?
The AirTrain actually *increases* the cost and time required to
get from JFK to many parts of Manhattan -- any part served by the
"A" train of the subway system, and offers no improvement in
convenience whatsoever -- it's still a two-seat ride.

It just costs $7 now instead of $2. Yeah, that was worth spending
two billion dollars. *Sure* it was.

--
Thor Lancelot Simon
But as he knew no bad language, he had called him all the names of common
objects that he could think of, and had screamed: "You lamp! You towel! You
plate!" and so on. --Sigmund Freud
  #4  
Old February 14th, 2004, 01:52 AM
Sancho Panza
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News


"Arnold Reinhold" wrote in message
om...
JFK handles slightly more traffic than Newark (31.5 Million passengers per

year vs 29.5).

That may be reversed:

JFK

1999
2000
2001

% Change2001/2000 Revenue Passengers (millions)31.732.929.4-10.6%

Aircraft Movement343,299 345,089 292,367 -15.3%

Cargo (tons)1,752,821 1,864,383 1,466,389 -21.3%

EWR

1999
2000
2001

% Change2001/2000Revenue Passengers (millions)33.634.230.5-10.8%

Aircraft Movement457,972 450,229 436,420 -3.1%

Cargo (tons)1,084,660 1,070,379 786,660 -26.5%

http://www.panynj.gov/aviation/traffic/coverfram.HTM







  #5  
Old February 14th, 2004, 02:34 AM
John Mara
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News


"Arnold Reinhold" wrote in message
om...

Problems on the AirTrain

The AirTrain itself is not as user friendly as it might be. Stops are
announced in English inside the cars, but only the airport terminal
number is given. There is a smallish card on each car listing the
eight terminals and the airlines they serve.


Announcements in languages other than English would be a good idea but I'm
not sure what languages you would pick.

Terminal 4 serves more than 30 airlines. To announce them all would take a
while.

Howard Beach

Howard Beach is where the Airtrain connects with the subway A train.
Again there are banks of MetroCard machines. Here, the logical choice
for almost all travelers (the exceptions are people who live in or are
visiting the small Howard Beach community) is $7 JFK + Subway. To get
to the subway, you have to go through two sets of ticket gates about
20 feet apart, one to leave the airport and one to enter the subway.


There are two sets of fare gates as you leave the Airtrain. One set lets
you out of the Airtrain and into the subway and deducts $7 from your
MetroCard. These fare gates are in front of you as you come from the
Airtrain platform. The other set of fare gates lets you out out of the
Airtrain and deducts $5 from your MetroCard. These are off to the right.
People who have an unlimited ride MetroCard would want to use the second set
of faregates and then use their unlimited card to enter the subway.

John Mara

  #6  
Old February 14th, 2004, 03:34 AM
Miguel Cruz
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News

Arnold Reinhold wrote:
While attending the Linux World trade show in Manhattan, I decided to
check out the new, long-awaited Airtrain at John F. Kennedy
International Airport in Queens. There is good news, bad news, more
good news and more bad news about this project.


Thanks for a very thoiughtful post; I hope you take it a step further and
forward this on to the relevant authorities (of which there are many).

One thing that may help understand the difference in signage at Penn Station
is that New Jersey Transit (which runs trains to Newark's AirTrain) is a
different entity from the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority that runs
LIRR. They may have different priorities or different time lags to deal with
a new service.

Just for the record, I'd like to echo the annoyance of the other posters who
griped about having the subway ride to JFK more than quadruple in price with
the advent of the AirTrain.

miguel
--
Hundreds of travel photos from around the world: http://travel.u.nu/
  #8  
Old February 14th, 2004, 04:55 AM
Exile on Market Street
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News

Alex Rodriguez wrote:


The folks making those decisions don't care. They know they have the only
train ride to the airport, so they charge what they want. If they really
cared, they would have worked with the MTA to give us a single ride to the
airport. If they had done that, the $5 fare would be fair.


As I understood it, the reason Airtrain is a separate system is because
it was built using money from the Federal Aviation Trust Fund that can
be used on airport access projects.

According to the Feds' rules (as I saw them interpreted in the press),
said airport access projects can *only* be used to reach the airport.

Now I would think that a spur off an existing subway or regional rail
line that had stops only on the airport property ought to qualify. But
from what I recall reading, it wouldn't.
--
-----------Sandy Smith, Exile on Market Street, Philadelphia----------
Managing Editor, _Penn Current_ /
215.898.1423 / fax 215.898.1203 /
http://pobox.upenn.edu/~smiths/
Got news? Got events? Got stories? Send 'em to
If you see this line, the opinions expressed are mine, not Penn's

"There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is
not being talked about."
---------------------------------------------------------Oscar Wilde--

  #9  
Old February 14th, 2004, 06:12 AM
nobody
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News

I agree with the original poster as far as the menus to purchase a ticket.

If a foreigner is presented with a choice of only 2 options (Metrocard and
some other type of card), he won't have a clue of which is needed for a single
journey to manhattan.

$5.00 is very steep for a ride of a couple of minutes. $5 should get you
downtown on either LIRR or subway. But for JFK bound pax, they would probably
have to charge the $5.00.

My guess is that they fear loss of parking revenus.

At Gatwick, it is a no brainer to obtain a single card that covers both the
Gatwick express and the tube, even though you travel on 2 different systems.
  #10  
Old February 14th, 2004, 06:24 AM
Rapid T. Rabbit
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Posts: n/a
Default JFK Airtrain: Good News, Bad News, Good News and Bad News

(Arnold Reinhold) wrote in message . com...

Howard Beach

Howard Beach is where the Airtrain connects with the subway A train.
Again there are banks of MetroCard machines. Here, the logical choice
for almost all travelers (the exceptions are people who live in or are
visiting the small Howard Beach community) is $7 JFK + Subway. To get
to the subway, you have to go through two sets of ticket gates about
20 feet apart, one to leave the airport and one to enter the subway.
The subway station is an open platform, but the station designers
provided a window at the enclosed upper level from which you can see
the train approaching.


As I posted awhile back, when I tried out the Airtain and negotiated the
Howard Beach transfer, I swiped my Pay-Per-Ride Metrocard once to reach
the A train and had $7 deducted at once, not being given the opportunity
to switch to my Unlimited Metrocard to pay my subway fare. A reply to my
post back then had indicated that there was another set of turnstiles
that I had missed which would have allowed me to use both cards separately.

o The A trains that service the Howard Beach Station should have some
clear airport marking. I suspect the a train fleet is still equipped
with the old "Train to the Plane" signs. It might make sense to use
them again.


I have noticed that since Airtrain service began, the route indicator
signs on those affected A trains have been altered. On both the R-38
subway cars with roll signs and the R-44 with LCD signs, the destination
now reads "Far Rockaway via JFK Airport".


Rapid T. Rabbit
The "T" stands for Transit.
 




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