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Watchdog: MTA Subway System Very Efficient; LIRR Not So Much

NYC Subway A Bright Spot In Otherwise Bleak Report
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Long Island Rail Road track workers (credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Long Island Rail Road track workers (credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

xir_feature Mike Xirinachs
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — How does the Long Island Rail Road stack up compared to other major commuter railroads across the country? According to a just-released survey, not very well.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs in Mineola: Some Riders Blame Mismanagement

The newly-released findings by the Citizens Budget Commission, a fiscal watchdog group, cast the LIRR in a harsh light.

Among America’s ten largest commuter railroads, the LIRR ranked at or near the bottom in several factors.

The LIRR came in eighth out of ten for operating cost per mile of service, ninth for operating cost per vehicle, and in last place for operating cost per passenger.

The LIRR also ranked below average in two of the study’s other indicators.

To passengers, none of this comes as a surprise.

“Because they don’t want to do basic maintanece when it’s done, and it’s done on an emergency basis. That’s all you can expect,” said Barbara Cleveland of Queens.

“I don’t know how many hours I’ve lost at work on commute – how many thousands of dollars, just my work alone, would cost my company. I can’t imagine when you multiply it times the millions of riders,” said Andres Macchiavello of Glen Cove.

“Yeah, I’m so surprised. Nah man, absolutely not,” another passenger told CBS 2’s Jay Dow.

One customer even created a Facebook page in honor of the LIRR, or “The Late & Inefficient Railroad.”

Railroad officials did not dispute the study.

Various LIRR service disruptions, many of them storm-related, infuriated customers, who at one point were paying full, peak fares for limited service.

The LIRR did have some support, however.

“I think they have great service. They’ve canceled a lot of overnight trains due to budget deficiencies, but that’s like any place else,” said Jason Jeffers of Minneola.

Commuters said the real challenge was improving operations at Jamaica Station, one of the LIRRs largest hubs.

“Prices are going up. Trains are being canceled,” one rider said.

LIRR officials announced they’ll be completing a signal modernization project. It’s a major infrastructural improvement, but service will be disrupted this weekend, forcing customers to use a shuttle bus service.

The study also found the MTA’s bus operations were “relatively inefficient,” ranking last in three out of five cost indicators.

The one bright spot, however, was that the MTA’s subway system was the most efficient in the nation, operating with the lowest cost per passenger trip.

Is the LIRR really that bad? Do you have an LIRR horror story? Sound off in our comments section.

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