As everyone knows by now, if something doesn’t change soon, the MTA will most likely implement a severe fare hike coupled with service cuts & eliminations. In the proposed budget that was presented at the last MTA Board meeting, each division within the MTA featured some sort of cuts or eliminations. Some of the cuts for the Long Island Rail Road included the West Hempstead branch losing complete weekend service. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Communications Associate Steven Higashide has more in this report:
Along with a 23% fare increase, the MTA’s doomsday budget means serious service cuts for Long Island Rail Road, especially on the Port Washington and West Hempstead branches. Systemwide, the financial crunch means less money for maintenance, safety, and service quality issues like station and car appearance.
The agency’s plan to save $54 million in 2009 includes:
* Elimination of all weekend service on the West Hempstead branch, major cuts in off-peak and weekend service on the Port Washington branch (weekend and off-peak service would run hourly at times when it now runs half hourly), and elimination of trains to Belmont (except during the Belmont Stakes).
Like the other MTA agencies, the LIRR is also making administrative cuts. In addition, it will raise $3 million by selling advertising on the sides of some trains.
If the MTA ends up having to pass its doomsday budget, LIRR riders will be paying more and getting less service, more crowded trains, more run-down stations, and more dangerous platforms.
Click here for the complete entry.
As a person who rides the Long Island Rail Road often as compared to driving, I know first hand how many of us feel about the railroad’s operations. It is safe to assume that most of us do feel like we are overpaying for the quality of service we receive.
However with saying that, I feel that of all the proposed service cuts or eliminations on the table, the end of weekend West Hempstead branch service makes the most sense. The line has extremely low ridership especially off-peak.
I agree with many fellow transit buffs who see the line as nothing more than a glorified shuttle. The local residents of this line have better options to the north & south of them where they can get more frequent service on the Babylon & Hempstead branches respectively. Even some of the Long Island bus routes such as the N3, N15, N25, N31, & N32 are better options. So would it really be bad to save money by cutting back operations a low ridership branch?
xoxo Transit Blogger