Nov
14

Weekend service advisories

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As I rode an F shuttle bus back from Carroll Gardens to Park Slope tonight at a little after midnight, I realized I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to post this weekend’s changes. So here you go. There are a lot of them, but in a few weeks, with the holidays nearly upon, work will slow.

Don’t forget to check out our map from Subway Weekender that shows just how the subway changes impact travel. Download this week’s map right here or by clicking on the image below. Remember: These weekend service changes come to me from the MTA and are subject to change without notice. Check signs in your local station and listen for on-board announcements for up-to-the minute changes. The specific alerts follow.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, uptown 1/2 trains skip 50th, 59th, 66th, 79th, 86th, and 96th Streets due to station rehabilitation at 96th Street and 59th Street-Columbus Circle.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14, to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, free shuttle buses replace 2 trains between 241st Street and East 180th Street due to completion work on tracks south of Bronx Park East.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, uptown 3 trains skip 96th Street Streets due to station rehabilitation at 96th Street.


From 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, November 14, downtown 4 trains run local from 125th Street to Grand Central-42nd Street due to track cable pull.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, there are no 5 trains between East 180th Street and 149th Street-Grand Concourse due to completion work on tracks south of Bronx Park East. Customers should take the 2 instead.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, 5 trains run every 30 minutes between East 180th Street and Dyre Avenue due to completion work on tracks south of Bronx Park East.


From 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, November 15, downtown 5 trains run local from 125th Street to Grand Central-42nd Street due to track cable pull.


From 4 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 10 p.m. Sunday, November 15, Manhattan-bound 7 trains skip 111th, 103rd, 90th, 82nd, 74th, 69th, 52nd, 46th, 40th, and 33rd Streets due to track panel installation.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, uptown A trains skip 135th, 155th, and 163rd due to track chip out north of 155th Street.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, downtown A trains skip 50th, 23rd, and Spring Streets due to Chambers Signal Modernization.


From 10:30 p.m. Friday, November 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, free shuttle buses replace A service between Far Rockaway and Beach 98th Street due to station rehabilitation at Beach 67 Street, Beach 44 Street, and Beach 25 Street.


From 6:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, November 14 and Saturday, November 15, uptown C trains skip 135th, 155th, and 163rd due to track chip out north of 155th Street.


From 6:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, November 14 and Sunday, November 15, downtown C trains run express from 145th Street to Canal Street due to Chambers Signal Modernization.


From 5 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 10 p.m. Sunday, November 15, Manhattan-bound D trains run on the N line from Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue due to track panel installation north of 62nd Street.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14, to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, uptown D trains run local from 125th to 145th Streets due to track chip out north of 155th Street.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, downtown D trains run local from 145th Street to 59th Street due to Chambers Signal Modernization.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, D trains run local between DeKalb Avenue and 36th Street due to Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, there are no E trains between West 4th Street and World Trade Center due to Chambers Signal Modernization. Customers should take the A or C instead. Note: E trains rerouted to the F at West 4th Street and run to 2nd Avenue.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, November 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, there are no F trains between Jay Street and Church Avenue due to Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service.


From 8:30 Friday, November 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, there are no G trains between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Court Square due to Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation. Customers should take the E or R instead. – Every weekend, it’s another excuse for the G train. The Culver Viaduct is miles away from Court Sq. and Forest Hills.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, G trains run in two sections due to Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation:

  • Between Court Square and Bedford-Nostrand Avs and
  • Between Bedford-Nostrand Avs and Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, there are no G trains between Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts. and Church Avenue due to Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation. Free shuttle buses and A trains provide alternate service.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, N trains are rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge between DeKalb Avenue and Canal Street due to track maintenance at Cortlandt Street.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, N trains run local between DeKalb Avenue and 59th Street due to Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation. – Apparently, the Culver Viaduct Rehab is the reason for everything this weekend. This makes little sense. This must be a typo, right?


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, Q trains run local between 57th Street and Canal Street due to track maintenance at Cortlandt Street.


From 6:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, November 14 and Sunday, November 15, uptown R trains skip 49th Street due to track maintenance at Cortlandt Street. Customers should take the N or Q instead.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, there are no R trains between 34th Street-Broadway and 36th Street (Brooklyn) due to track maintenance at Cortlandt Street. Customers should take the N or 4 instead.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, shuttle trains will operate all weekend between 36th Street (Brooklyn) and Bay Ridge-95th Street due to track maintenance at Cortlandt Street.


From 11 p.m. Friday, November 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 16, there are no S trains to Rockaway Park due to station rehabilitation at Beach 67 Street, Beach 44 Street, and Beach 25 Street. Customers should take the A instead.

Categories : Service Advisories
Comments (7)
  • To protect drivers, bus partitions · Nearly one year, Edwin Thomas, a driver along the B46 bus route, was fatally stabbed by a passenger who refused to pay the fare. Three weeks later, the MTA announced plans to start a bus partition pilot program, and now the MTA is gearing up to install these protective partitions. According to Pete Donohue of the Daily News, an L-shaped plastic partition will be installed in 100 buses in Brooklyn in an effort to better protect drivers for unruly passengers. As 340 bus drivers have been physically assaulted this year, this move is long overdue. · (6)

EastSideSBS

Although Phase I of the Second Ave. Subway is still at least seven or eight years away from completion, residents of Manhattan’s East Side will be getting speedier north-south options within the next twelve months. The MTA and New York City’s Department of Transportation are hard at work planning the Select Bus Service — New York’s version of a bus rapid transit system — for the East Side, and earlier this week, the agencies informed Community Board 1 of the plans.

In general, as the above map shows, the Select Bus Service will follow a path similar to that of the current M15 Limited. Buses will travel north up 1st Ave., and south down 2nd Ave. with a northern turnaround at 125th St. and a southern terminal at the Staten Island Ferry building. The buses will stop approximately every 10 blocks with no stops at 72nd, 28th or 8th Sts. “Faster and more reliable” were the buzzwords city officials used this week, according to Downtown Express’ Leslie Picker.

With the route in place, the MTA and DOT are trying to figure out how to make this service effective, and with out major exception, the ideas are falling into place. As preliminary designs, below, indicate, the city will install bus bulbs on blocks with stops. These bus areas will feature pre-boarding systems similar to those in place along Fordham Road in the Bronx and will allow for loading or parking areas in front of the bus stop.

BusBulbsSBS

As you can see from the picture, though, the plans call for an off-set bus lane but not a physically separated bus lane. Businesses along 1st and 2nd Aves., oblivious to the fact that buses would be far more beneficial than road space or parking spots, are not too keen on separated lanes, and community leaders are concerned about increased traffic due to the potential elimination of road space for bus lanes. In turn, though, DOT and MTA officials warned that the city would push for increased bus lane enforcement. Whether the NYPD alone can enforce the contours of a non-separated dedicated bus lane remain to be seen.

If the MTA and DOT can adhere to their published schedules, Select Bus Service will come to the East Side by the summer of 2010. This early roll-out, though, will be missing a few features of the overall service. Phase 1 will include better service patterns and pre-board fare payment as well as what the agencies are calling “enhanced bus lanes. Phase 2, set to arrive in mid-2011, will feature the bus bulbs and, more importantly, a preferred signaling system for transit vehicles. In other words, buses will enjoy longer green lights and fewer red lights.

For now, with the Second Ave. Subway inching along, this East Side corridor needs its bus rapid transit service. Even after Phase I of the SAS opens, the MTA claims that “passenger demand on the M15 will remain high.” The problem though of dedicated lanes persists. Until the buses can lay claim to their own spaces, enforcement costs will be high and a lack of enforcement would not significantly speed up bus service along these crowded avenues.

Categories : Buses
Comments (28)

EmpireGoldLicensePlate

From 1986-2000, New York license plates were rather iconic in their simplicity. Featuring a white background with a red trim and Lady Liberty in the center, the state license plates screamed New York. In 2000, the state announced plans to shift to the new blue-based license plates with Niagara Falls in one corner and Manhattan’s skyline in the other. Due to both registration enforcement and the desires to represent upstate New York, the license plates had to change.

Now, just eight years after the new plates debuted, it is time once again for New Yorkers to purchase new license plates for the DMV. The new design, shown above, returns New York to its yellow and blue license plates roots, but few are happy with the requirement to spend $25 on new license plates.

According to the DMV, the current license plates were guaranteed for only five years. After half a decade, the license plates, according to state officials, begin to lose their reflectivity and show the effects of wear and tear. Meanwhile, new law enforcement technologies have come into play that rely on shiny license plates. “License plates are a fundamental tool of law enforcement that has been enhanced in recent years through a variety of technologies that improve their readability, especially under low light conditions,” State Police Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt said. “The State Police has worked cooperatively with DMV to ensure that the new plates will continue to serve the law enforcement community effectively.”

Or something like that. The real answer is, of course, one of economics. By requiring and charging for new license plates, the state can generate revenue at a time when it has none. In fact, David J. Swarts, Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety admitted as much. “The bold colors of the new license plate reflect New York’s force and its resilience,” he said. “These new plates, in the official colors of the State of New York, will help maintain highway safety, reduce the number of unregistered and uninsured vehicles on our roads, and generate $129 million in General Fund revenue over two years, which will help address the State’s financial crisis.”

As numerous New Yorkers have been speaking out against the new license plates over the last two days, we turn then to this plan’s relationship to the MTA. On its surface, the state’s need to fill its General Fund coffers has nothing to do with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Yet, the funding plan should.

When the state levied payroll taxes and automobile registration fees on MTA counties, it did so because the MTA needed money and these counties benefit from a healthy mass transit network. Politicians and small business owners complained, and in fact, efforts to repeal the taxes are ongoing today. However, whether business owners know this or not, these counties stand to lose more economically from reduced transit service. In other words, residents outside of the city enjoy significant externalities due to the presence of public transit options whether they use Metro-North, the LIRR or New York City Transit offerings or not.

With the license plates, the state is making a pure and simple money grab. If the outrage over these new license plates isn’t at least as large as the Putnam and Dutchess County protests against the MTA, then it is not a stretch to say that the residents and politicians from these areas simply do not understand economics of access and the interplay between urban and suburban areas.

Comments (13)

UF_NYSubway_16.JPG

Wrapped subway cars, the world’s best present. (Photos by NGC/ Hoff Productions)

Tonight at 8 p.m. the National Geographic channel will go behind the scenes of the subway car manufacturing process. The latest installment in the Ultimate Factories series, tonight’s show will follow the manufacturing process for one of the new R160 cars as it goes from France to Brazil to upstate New York before arriving in our subway system.

UF_NYSubway_30.JPG

Neil Genzling, TV critic for The Times has already seen the show, and he praises it for the clips of the reefing process.

For regular users of the subway what’s likely to get the heart really racing comes near the end, when the program takes a brief detour to show what happens to retired subway cars. That’s when we see the gray monstrosities being deep-sixed 20 miles off the Maryland coast to create an artificial reef for marine life.

Watching those cars going under feels like revenge, or vindication, or something, for all those appointments missed because the R and the N — the Rarely and the Never — didn’t show up, or because an indecipherable intercom failed to convey that the E train was going to skip the next 20 stops, or insert your own subway nightmare here.

For those further interested in the companies that make the trains, Infrastructurist’s Yonah Freemark has published a series of posts about train manufacturing companies. He started with Alstom, moved on to Bomardier, then examined Talgo and looked at the Japanese newcomers. Good stuff.

After the jump, a four-minute video preview of tonight’s show. Read More→

Categories : Rolling Stock
Comments (10)

ATUTWU200 Over the last few months, the MTA’s generally tenuous relationship with its union workers — and in particular, the Transport Workers Union — has become strained, and it’s starting to fray. The trouble started when an arbitration panel awarded the TWU 11 percent in raises over the next three years, and although the process was called “binding arbitration,” the MTA could legally appeal the decision on certain grounds. When the agency opted for this path, labor peace started to deteriorate, and things are slowly coming to a head.

We start first with a non-TWU story and with a follow up to last week’s tragic accident that left a pedestrian dead after getting struck by a bus while he was cross the street. On Tuesday, I reported that this bus driver had been suspended for texting behind the wheel. Protests by the Amalgamated Transit Union, though, led to a simple suspension.

Yesterday, the Daily News added a shocking twist to this sad story. The driver had been posting nasty notes about passengers on his Facebook page. According to the report, these notes were about “killing, committing suicide and beating people.” Now, the MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger has initiated a probe to find out why Transit did not initiate a psychological evaluation of Jeremy Philhower and why the agency faced such fierce resistance when they it tried to dismiss this driver. This accident — seemingly avoidable — should lead to a change in the way these cases are handled by both the unions and the MTA.

Next, we arrive at an Op-Ed by Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute. She takes the MTA to task for its role the TWU arbitration process:

Arbitration likely was a ruse, although we don’t know for sure. We can guess that neither Gov. Paterson nor the MTA thought that awarding huge raises would fly publicly, especially when the MTA needed a multibillion-dollar bailout.

But nobody wanted to annoy the TWU. It seems likely that the arbitrators were brought in to insulate the pols from public anger. Just two weeks ago, Paterson maintained this fiction, saying that, though “we don’t have the money,” the arbitrators “probably made the correct ruling technically.”

And the MTA wasn’t exactly careful, on behalf of the taxpayers, to assure a pristine process. It was almost unbelievably outrageous, as we learned long after the fact, that the “indepen dent” arbitrator on the three-man panel — former Deputy Mayor John Zuccotti, who represented the public — agreed, with the MTA’s support, to fork over his $116,000 “fee” to a TWU-controlled charity.

That is, the MTA used a supposedly independent process to wash a payment back to its “adversary” in the arbitration.

Gelinas calls for the state legislature to fix the way the MTA negotiates with its unions. She wants to see an end to what she terms “backroom deals,” and she wants the authority, going through some lean economic times, to be able to exert pressure on the unions to get more out of their workers. The politics of Gelinas’ Manhattan Institute may be more to the right than those of many New Yorkers, but she raises some questions here for the MTA that need to be aired.

Finally, with the MTA Board set to meet next Wednesday, the TWU will host another Day of Outrage protest in front of MTA headquarters. Meanwhile, the Union has appealed to the U.N.’s International Labor Organization in an effort to get New York State’s anti-strike Taylor Law repealed. Although the United Nation’s labor commission has no binding authority over New York state law, a statement against the Taylor could, in the words of one labor expert, “influence decisions by local lawmakers.”

I get the sense that, if the law allowed them to do so, the city’s transit unions would be on the verge of a strike. As the MTA’s appeal continues, as cost-cutting measures come into play, these labor wars will only grow more acrimonious.

Categories : ATU, TWU
Comments (24)

Then-MTA head Lee Sander, left, with Mayor Bloomberg, Jorge Posada and Brian Cashman during the May unveiling of the Metro-North Yankee stadium stop. Photo by Benjamin Kabak.

For the New York Yankees, the first season in the team’s new stadium ended in grand fashion. A week ago, the team captured the franchise’s 27th World Series Championship with a victory at home. As part of the new infrastructure supporting the stadium, Metro-North began train service to the area, and the transit agency says that it too had a season for the ages.

According to numbers released by the agency, 6009 people — or 12 percent of the total stadium attendance — took Metro-North to Yankee Stadium for Game 6 of the World Series. That record day capped a season well within the projections, and Metro-North officials were pleased with the ridership levels and revenue streams from the new station. “Overall, for the first season, the results are very good. It is a big success,” Howard Permut, president of Metro-North, said.

Long a part of the plan to use construction of a new Yankee Stadium to help aid in the revitalization of the South Bronx, the Metro-North stop was nearly discarded when the MTA and the City could not agree to a funding plan. In May 2007, two years before the projected opening date, though, the City agreed to pay $38 million in construction costs as long as the MTA footed the bill for the other $53 million. The Yankees, prime beneficiaries of the station, contributed nothing.

In late May, the station opened for service, and as the Yanks’ successful baseball season wore on, the station grew in popularity. For weekday games, ridership averaged to 2900 people per game. During the weekend, that number reached 4000, and prior to the playoffs, the single most popular game was the Saturday, August 8 affair against the Red Sox. Approximately 5600 fans took Metro-North to that game. During October, the station’s popularity hit its peak. For the eight playoff home games, Metro-North averaged 4800 riders per game.

Amidst these numbers, Metro-North officials all but guaranteed the future benefits of the Yankee Stadium stop. “The success of this station is assured as more and more people try the service,” Permut said. “Those who have left their cars behind are generating very positive word-of-mouth evidence that the railroad is safe, easy, fast, reliable, and beats driving and parking.”

Yet, despite these assurances, these ridership totals are lower than initial projections. During the build-up to the station’s opening, Metro-North documents believed that between 6000-10,000 fans per game would flock to the commuter rail station. Although Metro-North officials blame a rainier-than-usual summer and the fact that the Yanks rarely sold out their stadium as causes for their low ridership totals, I’m willing to chalk that up to Year One. Fans were not aware of this new option, and as word-of-mouth spread, more left their cars at home and turned to the trains.

Still, the real test for the Metro-North stop at the country’s most transit-accessible baseball stadium will be next season. Coming off of a World Series title, the Yankees will again draw between 48,000-50,000 fans per game, and the station should see ridership figures approach that projected average. With just 100 riders per day passing through the station on non-game days, more Yankee fans will have to turn to the station for it to meet projections.

Even with these numbers, though, the station is providing revenue for Metro-North. The agency drew in approximately $200,000 in advertising and expects to net another $10,000 in vending machine sales. And that is good news for the cash-strapped MTA.

Categories : Metro-North
Comments (19)
  • Where have you gone, Dale Hemmerdinger? · On Oct. 5, Jay Walder assumed his role as the current CEO and Chairman of the MTA, and upon his arrival, outgoing chair Dale Hemmerdinger returned to his real estate roots. Hemmerdinger, a major player in New York State’s Democratic party, was not out of a public role for long though. As The Observer reported a few weeks ago, Hemmerdinger was nominated to the Port Authority board in mid-October by Gov. David Paterson. Even more so than the MTA Board, the Port Authority’s board has become a dumping ground for what reporter Eliot Brown termed “many a campaign donor, budding politicians in search of a placeholder, and onetime political heavyweights who have passed their peaks.” Political patronage lives on in New York. · (4)

Please Stop Cutting Your Nails On The Subway by flickr user Dan Dickinson

Picture a straphanger riding a half-empty subway when a clicking sound, familiar but out of place on a train, starts filling the train car. Furtively, the unsuspecting straphanger glances around at his fellow riders searching out the source of the sound when the wandering eyes alight on a man — and generally it is indeed a man — working on his nails. Clip. Pause. Examine. Clip. Pause. Examine. The excess part of the nail floats gently down to the subway floor.

Once the public groomer gets off the train, maybe our straphanger ambles past this makeshift home bathroom on the way out at his destination and stops to examine the floor of the subway. Strewn about, of course, are fingernail clippings, left for all time — or at least until the train reaches its terminal — to serve as a warning to those that might sit in that seat. A person with no manners or concept of public spaces sat here, they scream.

Nail clipping is but one form of grooming New Yorkers seem to save for the public subway. Some women use the trains as space for their makeup; others floss; some dress. More respecting subway riders, though, have had enough of it.

On Friday, Lion Calandra, identified as a freelance copy editor, added to City Room’s Complaint Box. Her piece was a rant against public grooming, and it ties in nicely with the series on underground ethics I’ve written over the last few months. She asks,” When did grooming become a spectator sport?”

These days, if someone seated near me on my morning ride is putting on makeup, someone else is clipping his fingernails (and, on one odd occasion this summer, a toenail). Or they’re plucking eyebrows, tying ties, squeezing pimples, even spraying perfume. There are those who just have to bathe themselves in lotion. Others are brushing their hair. It’s the full monty, commuter style…

We’re all strapped for time. If a person cannot manage to keep personal business personal, then it’s time for a major life overhaul. Yes, it’s hard to juggle life’s obligations. But, for the record, I don’t want to see others plucking their eyebrows or flossing their teeth. I hate to see myself doing it. I also don’t want to be in the cloud of cologne wafting through the air by the mad spritzer sitting 20 feet from me. It irks my allergies. It takes only a few extra minutes before bedtime or in the morning to tend to personal hygiene, which becomes much less hygienic when it’s done on the subway seat where some vagrant just spent the night.

Calandra makes her rant out to be about her, but it’s really about all of us. To understand that, we should set some ground rules. Some public appearance prepping is acceptable on the subway. I don’t mind if someone rushed for time has to apply some mascara or lipstick on the train. I don’t care — and in fact have done so myself — when someone has to take a second to knot a tie. These actions are fairly self-contained and don’t involve leaving anything on the ground or bothering other passengers.

But the lines should be drawn at anything that falls on the ground, makes a mess or is generally an activity suited for a bathroom sink. I don’t cut my nails while sitting over my living room couch; I wouldn’t even think about doing it on the subway. No one should, and the same can be said about removing nail polish, plucking eyebrows or flossing.

How then can straphangers go about enforcing social norms on the subway? Calandra was told to “mind your own business” when she politely asked a rider flossing to “do that at home.” The first step is to assess the person flossing. If he or she looks unhinged or, you know, bigger than you, probably don’t pick that fight. Second, being sweet-as-sugar polite is the way to go: “Excuse me please, but would you mind not cutting your nails here? It’s unsanitary and disrespectful to other riders.” Some will react badly; some may think twice about what they’re doing.

That decision to ask though is one up to all of us. If no one takes that first step, if no one notices the pigish behavior and makes a scene out of it, it will continue. Calandra blames YouTube for publicizing private moments; I blame people too oblivious to think about where they are and the straphangers who are unwilling to ask them to stop.

Comments (20)
  • NYC cabbies crave credit cards · Because I got my start as a transportation policy junkie while analyzing the hybridization of New York’s taxi fleet back in college, I have a soft spot for news about the taxi industry. Earlier this week, The Times reported on cabbies’ views on credit cards two years after the city began requiring yellow cabs to accept plastic. Although the drivers at first complained about taking them, they are now unsurprisingly awfully accepting of the cards. Why? Because income is up. Since the automated payment system offers up more generous tips than most people give when paying by cash and because it’s now easier to hop into a cab when someone is cashless, drivers are reaping more money due to the advent of cabs that take credit cards. And to think, all of that complaining two years ago and dire warnings over less revenue was for naught. · (3)
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