MTA issues free rides in Astoria during DWI campaign

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The city Department of Transportation is once again giving away thousands of free taxi, livery and public transit rides in its campaign to curb drinking and diving by holiday celebrants.

The free rides will be handed out Tuesday in Astoria.

“Wherever the celebration takes you on New Year’s and all year around, plan for a safe ride with a designated driver,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The DOT’s promotion of free transportation from now through New Year’s Eve is part of the agency’s “You the Man” campaign. The DOT will provide 1,500 free debit cards valued at $15 apiece to use in taxis or at MetroCard or other transit ticket machines this holiday season. In addition, 4,000 single-ride MetroCards will be distributed citywide.

The DOT began distributing the taxi passes and MetroCards Dec. 16 in Times Square. The remaining schedule is sa follows:

• Dec 20: Astoria, Queens, Broadway and 31st Street at 6 p.m. and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Bedford and North 7th Street at 6 p.m.

• Dec. 22: the Bronx at 5 p.m. at 149th Street between Grand Concourse and The Hub

• Dec. 23: Staten Island at 5 p.m. at St. George Ferry Terminal and the Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn at 5 p.m.

• Dec. 31: Manhattan on the Upper East Side at 86th Street and 2nd Avenue and Harlem at Broadway and 125th Street at 5 p.m.

The New York Police Department will continue its drunken driving enforcement throughout the holiday season with DWI patrols and checkpoints. Police made 9,601 DWI arrests and seized 1,363 vehicles from drunk drivers in 2010.

For more information, visit youthemannyc.org.

Meanwhile, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Staten Island Railway are making available extra early afternoon service Dec. 23.

Subways and buses will run on a regular weekday schedule Dec. 23 and on a Sunday schedule Dec. 26. The LIRR will bring in 14 extra trains in early afternoon Dec. 23. Dec. 26 will be a regular weekday schedule.

Metro-North Railroad will provide 20 extra trains in early afternoon Dec. 23. On Dec. 26, Metro-North will operate on a Saturday schedule. Shoppers Specials will operate.

The MTA Bridges and Tunnels Department will suspend construction and maintenance beginning at noon Dec. 23 until after the morning rush hour Dec. 27.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

Posted 9:05 am, December 20, 2011
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