The MTA, which runs the LIRR, has been doing a poor job of doing it lately. Many delays cannot be avoided, but it's how it's dealt with, that causes the problems. On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, the 7:39am eastbound train from Penn station to Ronkonkoma, was cancelled in Hicksville at 8:30am. This "reverse peak" train carries alot of employees and workers who work in Hicksville and points east. Many commute to jobs in Farmingdale and Deer Park office complexes. As it is, this train is crowded because of the lack of eastbound trains in the morning, as the train before this one leaves Penn before 5:30AM! The MTA has failed to improve service for the growing number of employees that travel eastbound in the morning, despite complaints. So when a police investigation of a suspicious package at Farmingdale temporarily shut down the Ronkonkoma line for less than an hour, the management decided to cancel this crowded eastbound train in Hicksville, instead of having it proceed east and wait for the investigation to complete. They kicked everyone, hundreds of passengers, off the train to create dangerous crowding conditions at the staircases. At street level 5 buses pulled in, which were schedued for track work about an hour later. The LIRR decided that having this well patronized train to travel east would delay this track work, so they had hundreds of people crowd around these buses. I doubt they were enough for all those people, as I headed back upstairs and caught a Port Jefferson train further east.
The MTA has shown time and time again a neglect for Long Islanders. The LIRR is more unreliable and dirtier than the Metro-North railroad, also run by the MTA. They are both run by the MTA, yet Metro-North always gets treated better. Metro-North has improved it's reverse peak service, so much so, areas in Westchester such as White Plains, and Stamford in Connecticut, have become huge employment centers full of office buildings and companies that have headquartered there. But The Long Island Railroad has done little, if anything, for reverse commuters. While track space does limit growth, the LIRR could still add a few more trains, at the expense of delaying just a few peak trains by reducing their speeds by running behind locals, instead of using both mainline tracks. Traditional peak ridership, that is commuters working in NYC, has actually declined slightly on the LIRR, while reverse peak and off peak have gone up. Metro-North's ability to improve service has resulted in Metro-North OVERTAKING the LIRR as the busiest commuter railroad. And this is all the MTA's doing.
In December, the MTA walked away from operating bus service in Nassau County, after the county refused to pay the MTA $36 Million a year to operate the bus service. While that was more the county's fault, the new company that replaced the MTA, Veolia has so far been able to operate most of the service at a much lower cost. There's still problems because the county decreased its bus operating subsidy from last year.
But getting back to the LIRR, videos like these show the MTA's neglect for Long Island Railroad. Both escalators at Hicksville are broken, forcing people to climb the stairs. Often the elevators are also broken, leaving the disabled stranded. Since the MTA walked away from Nassau Bus service, they also walked away from providing MTA buses during LIRR service disruptions. The coach buses stored at the Mitchell Field depot were taken back by the MTA, punishing LIRR riders. Fortunately most of the buses shown in this video were coach buses, contracted from various private operators. Sometimes they use un-air conditioned school buses!
The MTA needs to start taking LIRR service seriously. Dont cancel crowded trains. Give the LIRR its fair share of service, including restoring year round Greenport trains, which are getting more crowded. But I feel it won't be from the MTA, a City Chester-Centric corrupt organization, but Long Island's own Transportation Authority, to fix the problems here.
In: Citizen Journalism
Tags: Long Island Railroad, train, cancelled, MTA, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, overcrowded, chaos, Hicksville, buses, crowds, delay, news, politics, Helena Williams, Lhota
Location: Hicksville, New York, United States (load item map)
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