NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Long Island Railroad trains are arriving at their stations later and later and railroad officals said although they’re trying to do better, there’s an explanation. As CBS 2HD’s Jay Dow reports, some commuters said they want results and not excuses.

It’s a matter of minutes, but commuters felt strongly either way about this year’s slight drop in on-time performance. LIRR trains are later now than they have been for the last four years, and there were plenty of customers who said they’re not happy about it.

“You’re late a minute, you’re late. That’s being late,” said Patrick Nocera of Suffolk County. When asked “You’re late one minute, that’s it?” she answered “I pay for a service. You should be there on time.”

Harlem resident Ebony Grant said it doesn’t help matters the MTA had another fare hike meeting scheduled for Thursday morning. “What exactly are we paying for? If I’m paying more, somebody needs to be efficient. I mean, I get docked if I’m late. Why is everything going up?”

According to the LIRR, a train is classified as late if it is tardy by six minutes or more. LIRR data showed that during the period of January to September from 2006 to 2009, the railroad actually improved it’s on-time performance.

That streak ended this year when the on-time percentage dropped 3.2-percent to a current rate of 92.4-percent of all LIRR trains arriving at their destinations on-time.

LIRR officials noted that while they’re always working to improve on time performance, this year’s numbers included delays caused by major weather and infrastructure-related incidents, including a crippling signal fire in August at Jamaica Station, a main hub.

“This is a tough job. They got a lot of commuters coming in. It’s not easy to run something so large. So I don’t have a problem with it. It is what it is. If they’re late, they’re late. You can’t control that sometimes,” said Dave Cruz of Levittown.

“Compared around the world, it’s not bad, but it think it’s not bad overall personally,” said Raphael da Costa of Queens.

LIRR officials also said a number of this year’s delays were caused by train operator violations which, under federal law, must be followed by the train being stopped and the crew switched.

That, of course, leads to significant delays.

LIRR officials said as a result of increased crew awareness and management monitoring, the railroad reduced the number of train operator violations over the last five months.

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