MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The Long Island Rail Road is on pace to post its worst on-time performance in nearly two decades.
Earlier this year, the New York City comptroller called on-time performance “unacceptable.” Now, the numbers show it’s getting worse.
LIRR trains were on time 88.9 percent of the time in August. That’s down from the same time last year, when trains were on time more than 93 percent of the time.
“It’s been horrible, especially for the amount of money that we pay,” Chris Gadhers, of Mineola, told CBS2’s Clark Fouraker. “It’s ridiculous… it was late yesterday, late today.”
“The train ticket’s expensive, it just goes up. And you know, we have to wait here and you’re in a routine to get to work on time and you have to keep waiting and waiting,” said Allison Kelly.
A report from the comptroller previously showed more than 21,000 trains were late, cancelled or terminated before reaching their final destinations in 2017 – a 20 percent increase from the year before.
“I feel their concerns, because I actually ride with them and I’ve experienced them directly,” LIRR President Phillip Eng said.
The new LIRR president has implemented an initiative to improve service, including things like hardening infrastructure against severe weather threats. On Wednesday, officials announced the third track project – an additional track on the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville.
But officials warn putting the measures into place could make service worse before it gets better.
Some riders say they want more immediate improvements.
“That’s where taxpayers’ dollars are going right? So hopefully that will happen,” David Khan said.
“A good start might be just stop telling us it’s on time. A little more transparency on some of these late things, because then people can make other arrangements,” said Hank Birkdale.
Eng said he’s addressing the issues with a renewed sense of urgency in light of the latest numbers.
It is important to note the LIRR considers a train “on time” as long as it arrives within five minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time.