Just below, I discussed a sample of the highs & lows experienced by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in 2008. I also linked to a very good review of the year by Newsday’s Alfonso A. Castillo. Sticking with the LIRR, Alfonso A. Castillo brings us a brief report on the agency’s 2009 agenda:
The LIRR’s 2009 agenda
Keep ridership up.
LIRR trains last year were packed as never before. But with gas prices lower now than in years, and with some former commuters unemployed and fare hikes looming, it could be tough to keep the momentum.
Stave off the MTA’s “doomsday budget.” The plan, already adopted, calls for average LIRR fare increases of 26 percent; reduced service, with some trains eliminated; and closure of 20 ticket stations. LIRR officials plan to lobby state lawmakers to bail out the agency.
Click here for the complete report.
I felt Alfonso touched on only a portion of what the LIRR’s agenda should be in 2009. While the items listed make sense, I also feel they need to improve in many other areas. The agency must continue to address the gap issue which has plagued it the last couple of years. They did a great job last year in starting to address it. They must continue to ride that momentum into this year.
I also feel they must continue the modernization work on their tracks & related equipment which they did last year. The main project being the $60.4 millon dollar Queens Interlocking project which was a modernization program bringing state-of-the-art technology to an important LIRR switching point (between Queens Village and Bellerose) where the busy Main Line and Hempstead Branch merge.
Another area they could improve on is by setting up a way to punish riders who dirty trains. I am sick & tired of paying higher fares & feeling like I am in the subway when seeing coffee cups, stains, & other trash inside the cars. Also I should not have to see seats ripped open & not repaired. Now I know these conditions did not magically appear so punish the low class people responsible for them.
One of the most important things they could do is to continue to the fight to make the Third Rail Project a reality. This project is arguably the most important project in regards to the LIRR. While LIRR President Helena Williams feels East Side Access is, those of us who keep up with the LIRR know otherwise. The impact a third rail project would have not only on the 10 mile stretch for the Main Line between Floral Park & Hicksville but the entire island & region can’t be underestimated.
I could be here for hours adding different things that could be on the 2009 agenda for the LIRR. For as much progress that has been made under current president Helena Williams, there is still much more left to achieve.
xoxo Transit Blogger