Sen. Charles Schumer Proposes ‘Passenger Bill Of Rights’ For LIRR Riders

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Senator Charles Schumer is among those who are fed up with the recent breakdowns and prolonged delays along the Long Island Rail Road.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs With Riders

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs With Sen. Schumer

Schumer proposed a rider’s “Bill of Rights” along the nation’s largest commuter rail system. Some 300,000 people ride the system daily during the work week.

Schumer wants more to be done to help commuters navigate the system and stay informed during service changes.

“If there’s just a bus stop a few blocks from the station, the LIRR needs to alert passengers to that information,” Schumer said. “Even though normally they may not take the bus, if they knew there were a two hour disruption they could make that decision.”

When asked by CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan how the policy could be enforced, Schumer said “refunds” or “fines” would be “a possibility.”

“We want this to have real teeth,” Schumer said.

Joe Levy, who uses the LIRR daily, says a “Bill of Rights” would be welcome.

“Because there’s plenty of times when I say to myself, ‘My god, kids in the park can do a better job than this,'” Levy said.

The “Bill of Rights” would be similar to the one in place for airline passengers.

  • The LIRR will be required to notify passengers of delays
  • The LIRR will be required to provide information of alternative transit options
  • The LIRR will be required to let passengers off stranded rail cars, or if that is not possible then they should serve water and other basic provisions to passengers

LIRR officials say they are already working to notify their customers about delays via their website and through email alerts. It’s up to passengers to sign up to receive those alerts and to pay attention to them, though.

Further, the last proposal may raise safety concerns, rail officials say, since the third rail is electrified.

“You can introduce any ‘Bill of Rights’ you want, but if you don’t have hourly employees on, ready to help, what good is a bill of rights?” an MTA employee told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs. “We’ve been cut to the bone.”

Back on Sept. 29, a lightning strike shorted out a new signal and switching system, which forced the shutdown of the third rail and caused massive commuting headaches.

There have been about a dozen major delays or shutdowns on the LIRR during the past 12 months.  Some passengers said they are begging for action before winter and are currently not getting what they paid for.

In a statement, Schumer said the LIRR needs to reconnect itself to a base level of service for the price commuters pay to use the system.

What do you think of a possible passenger’s Bill of Rights for the LIRR? Sound off in our comments section.

More from Mike Xirinachs
  • Meme Meyagi

    there are 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa. what is done about it?

  • The Realist

    Why only the Long Island Railroad? Why not all other U.S. passenger railroads? Oh, yeah – only Long Islanders are REAL Americans.

  • RR

    It took me 6 hours and $35 cab fare for a 50 min commute, who is going to re-imburse me? After spending millions of dollars on signal improvement, we still have this outages. Why does the lightning strike only the LIRR signals and not any other houses or buildings along the tracks. I am fed-up with this. I kept hearing “we are waiting for paper work to be completed, once that is completed, we will proceed” on the train. In this day and age, is there no other way of communication than handwrite permissions for trains to pass. Come on LIRR, you can come up with something better. We the people deserve a better service for the fare we pay.

    • The Realist

      “In this day and age, is there no other way of communication than handwrite permissions for trains to pass.”

      There’s probably a union rule that the permission note must be written only by somebody on overtime.

  • John C

    Why doesn’t Sen. Schumer concentrate on the original Bill of Rights in the US Constitution. Like our 2nd amendment right, our 4th Amendment rights, and our 10th Amendment rights that he seems to completely ignore.

    • Schumer Sucks


    • James

      If Chuck is so concerned why doesn’t He bring it up to local officals since it’s a local issue instead of trying to pass this is Congress. He’s way out of touch with what His job is about.

  • Xyr

    This is great in theory, but you’re naive as hell if you don’t think the MTA isn’t going to pass on the cost of implementing this via increased ticket price. I personally would rather just deal with a random delay like a man and not give the MTA another excuse to jack up monthly fares 20%…. I can deal with a 2 hour delay every now and then. It sucks. But massive delays aren’t occurring enough to justify the increase in price that’s almost guaranteed to take place by doing this.

    • D

      Of course, and Shumer doesn’t care…he looks like the good guy and the MTA still looks like the thugs they are.

      Same thing with the toll hikes, all they wanted was a few extra bucks but they went in with a crazy high offer…Christie and Cuomo were the “heroes” for talking them down to what they “settled” on…and they still got what they wanted.

      All part of the game they play with us.

  • Fed Up

    When WE the riders are stranded or delayed on the LIRR, a VERY SIMPLE ANNOUNCEMENT made on the PA to tell us what is going on would definitely help to calm the frustrations ! There is NOTHING !!! Those at home watching the news are calling us to tell US why WE are stranded ! But then, for 334.00 a month for a pass, what do you expect ?!?!

    • Ill communication

      LIRR has the communication abilities of a severely autistic child.

  • Old Veteran

    Chuck Schumer should write up a bill of rights for the pedestrians in the city. They should have the right to “walk” over taxi cabs when they block the cross walks. They should be able to sue the bus companies when the bus pulls up to a bus stop and the gutter is filled with “slush” and water and the people are splashed. The people should be able to vote for a law that “BANS” Schumer from writing up more bill of rights……….

    • The Realist

      Should bus companies be responsible for cleaning slush from gutters?

  • steve

    Why should a lightning strike affect signals and switches? What ever happened to proper circuit grounding? If this is the most heavily traveled rail route in the country, why doesn’t it have the most extensive maintenance and repair system in the country? Why do passengers have to beg for information? Why are the station notification signs not updated regularly? Whatever happened to basic customer service?

    • Georgie

      koff..union labor…koff

  • Richard Tattersall

    The 3rd rail on the LIRR is 750 Volts of DC current. Metro North is 700 Volts DC, NYC Subway runs on 650 Volts DC. A wall outlet is 120 volts of AC current. Shutting down the power in one section so people can safely get off the train, would effect other trains in both directions for miles. It’s not like you walk over to a circuit breaker panel in your house or apartment and turn on or off a circuit breaker.The NYC subway system, after screaming at them for years, is FINALLY putting system-wide route changes at each station. There are websites for Metro-North, The LIRR, and the NYC subway system. Register your emails. I get route changes, schedule changes, and delays on my cell phone. It works.

    • Jimmy

      See, not everyone on the train at any one time is a regular commuter. The LIRR and the conductors fail to understand that. So maybe the lazy conductors could try and keep people informed. You expect single ride customers to preregister for LIRR notifications? What, now were expected to have cell phones with web access? BTW, I think the LIRR supplies cell phones to the conductors free of charge of course.
      The LIRR is just lazy.

      • Xyr

        The problem isn’t a lack of notification. The conductor gets on the speaker and lets people know. A rational adult should be able to deal with it. No one likes delays, but it happens. If you’re not a regular passenger, an announcement should be enough via the PA.

        • Jimmy

          Well that’s the problem riders are pointing out here – no announcements.

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