LIRR FAIR HIKE?

September 20, 2018 at 5:15 am

A recent report by the New York state comptroller revealed that the railroad’s on-time service is the worst it’s been in almost two decades. But, the MTA is still looking to raise fares. Now, elected officials vow to put the brakes on that plan until on-time performance and customer satisfaction improves.

Aired on September 19, 2018.

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METROFOCUS."
THANKS FOR JOINING US, I'M JACK
FORD.
FOR COMMUTERS USING THE LONG
ISLAND RAILROAD THEIR COMMUTE
WHICH OFTEN COMES WITH DELAYS
WILL SOON ALSO COME WITH A
LARGER PRICE TAG.
IN AN ANNOUNCEMENT LAST MONTH,
THE LIRR CONFIRMED ITS PLAN TO
GO FORWARD WITH A 4% FARE
INCREASE EARLY NEXT YEAR.
BUT COMMUTERS AND LAWMAKERS
AREN'T ALL ON BOARD WITH THE
TAIR HIKE, ONE OF THOSE
ISLANDERS WHO IS MOST VOCAL IS
STATE SENATOR ELAINE PHILLIPS
WHO IN A LETTER ASKED THE
RAILROAD TO, QUOTE, STEP UP ITS
GAME BEFORE STEPPING UP ITS
PRICES AND SHE JOINS US NOW TO
TALK ABOUT THIS.
SENATOR, WELCOME TO YOU.
NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE WITH US.
LET ME START OFF THIS
CONVERSATION, IF I CAN, WITH AN
AUDIT THAT WAS DONE BY THE
COMPTROLLER, AND CLEARLY THERE
WERE SOME SIGNIFICANT FINDINGS
IN THAT AUDIT.
GIVE US A SENSE OF ONE OF THE
ONES -- SOME OF THE ONES THAT
YOU THOUGHT WERE MOST
SIGNIFICANT.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME HERE
TODAY.
THIS IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
ISSUE.
SO THE COMPTROLLER DID AN AUDIT.
HE FOUND THAT 21,000 TRAINS LAST
YEAR WERE LATE.
YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU LOOK AT
PRODUCTIVITY OF THAT, IT COSTS
BUSINESSES $75 MILLION IN
PRODUCTIVITY, BUT BEYOND THAT,
THINK OF ALL THE PARENTS THAT
WERE LATE FOR GAMES OR THE
NANNIES THAT COULDN'T GET BACK
TO THEIR HOMES BECAUSE THEY HAD
TO STAY.
SO THIS REALLY IMPACTS PEOPLE IN
SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.
I WILL TELL YOU OF THOSE 21,000,
HALF OF THEM WERE A TRAIN LINE
THAT IS IN MY SENATE DISTRICT,
THE PORT WASHINGTON TRAIN LINE.
SO HALF OF THE TRAINS OVER A
COURSE OF A YEAR WERE LATE.
>> THAT'S ALMOST AN
INCOMPREHENSIBLE NUMBER WHEN
YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT 21,000.
WHAT SORT OF FACTORS WERE GIVEN
TO EXPLAIN -- NOT EXCUSE, BUT TO
EXPLAIN THESE EXTRAORDINARY
DELAYS?
>> YOU KNOW, THERE'S ALL KINDS
OF FACTORS.
SO OBVIOUSLY WEATHER-RELATED
ISSUES, A LOT OF IT HAS TO DO
WITH THE SWITCHES AND THE TRACKS
THEMSELVES.
LOOK, THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO
BE SITUATIONS WHERE THERE'S
EMERGENCIES, A PASSENGER GETS
SICK, AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT.
COMMUTERS UNDERSTAND THAT.
BUT THAT'S NOT THE TYPE OF ON
TIME PERFORMANCE THAT WE AREN'T
GETTING NOW.
YOU KNOW, FOR YEARS I WAS A
COMMUTER AND I RELIED AS A
MOTHER, A WORKING MOTHER OF
THREE YOUNG CHILDREN, I RELIED
ON THE RELIABILITY OF THE LONG
ISLAND RAILROAD AND I HAVE TO
SAY WHEN I WAS COMMUTING, I HAD
GOOD ON TIME PERFORMANCE, BUT IN
THE LAST COUPLE YEARS THAT HAS
GONE DOWNHILL SIGNIFICANTLY.
>> WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
BECAUSE I'VE HEARD THAT BEFORE,
PEOPLE SAYING THAT IT HAD A
HISTORY OF RELIABILITY, BUT ALL
OF A SUDDEN THE BOTTOM HAS
FALLEN OUT FROM IT.
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
>> I THINK IT'S THE REINVESTMENT
IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE.
YOU KNOW, WE'RE TRYING TO DO A
LOT OF PROJECTS RIGHT NOW, WE
HAVE EAST SIDE ACCESS, WE HAD
THE SECOND TRACK THAT WAS BEING
DONE, WE HAVE THE THIRD TRACK
THAT'S GOING THROUGH MY SENATE
DISTRICT, WE HAVE POSITIVE TRAIN
CONTROL.
SO THERE IS A LOT OF VARIABLES
THAT ARE PULLING AT THOSE PURSE
STRINGS OF THE LONG ISLAND
RAILROAD.
AND, LOOK, I AM A FIRM BELIEVER
THAT LONG ISLAND IS ABSOLUTELY
DEPENDENT ON A 21st CENTURY
INFRASTRUCTURE AND WE HAVE TO
MAKE INVESTMENTS.
YOU KNOW, ADDITIONAL INVESTMENTS
IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, BUT FIRST
AND FOREMOST WE HAVE TO MAKE
SURE WHAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW IS
OPERATING EFFICIENTLY.
>> SO WHAT, THEN, WOULD YOU SAY
TO THE RAILROAD FOLKS WHO SAY,
ALL RIGHT, WE ACKNOWLEDGE THESE
PROBLEMS, BUT ONE OF THE REASONS
WE NEED THIS FARE INCREASE IS TO
IMPROVE THE QUALITY, IMPROVE THE
INFRASTRUCTURE.
WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO THAT?
>> RIGHT.
I THINK THE ANSWER TO THAT IS,
LOOK, THAT'S NOT THE WAY PRIVATE
BUSINESS OPERATES.
YOU DON'T GET TO RAISE YOUR
PRICE OF A CAR WASH IF YOU HAVE
POOR SERVICE, RIGHT?
YOU DON'T GET TO DO THAT.
PEOPLE LEAVE AND GO FIND ANOTHER
CAR WASH.
WELL, IN THIS CASE WE CAN'T GO
AND FIND ANOTHER MEANS OF
TRANSPORTATION OR THE OTHER
MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION AND
WE'VE SEEN THAT HAPPENING ON THE
LONG ISLAND RAILROAD IS TO GET
IN YOUR CAR AND DRIVE, AND
THAT'S NOT WHAT WE WANT TO DO.
>> AS YOU KNOW AS A LEGISLATOR
QUITE OFTEN MEMBERS OF THE
PUBLIC WILL POINT FINGERS AT THE
LEGISLATORS AND SAY, ALL RIGHT,
YOU INTO HE HAD TO FIX THIS.
IS THIS SOMETHING THAT THE
LEGISLATION -- THAT LEGISLATION
OR THE LEGISLATURE CAN ACTUALLY
DO TO STEP IN AND HAVE AN IMPACT
ON THIS?
>> SO LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I'VE
DONE.
WHAT I'VE DONE IS WRITTEN A
LETTER TO ALL THE 22 BOARD
MEMBERS OF THE MTA AND MR. LODA
HIMSELF AND I HAVE ASKED THEM TO
SERIOUSLY RECONSIDER RAISING
FARES UNTIL THE SERVICE IS AT
THE LEVEL WHERE IT SHOULD BE.
I AM ALSO WORKING ON LEGISLATION
RIGHT NOW TO HELP THEM ACHIEVE
YOU WILL SEE A RELEASE IN THE
NEXT TWO WEEKS FROM US, I'M
GOING TO NEED ASSEMBLY SUPPORT,
AND I BELIEVE I HAVE THE
GOVERNOR'S SUPPORT.
THE GOVERNOR IN HIS DEBATE THE
OTHER DAY, A QUESTION WAS ASKED
ABOUT DELAYING THE FARE INCREASE
UNTIL THE ON TIME PERFORMANCE
WAS BETTER AND HE SAID HE
THOUGHT -- HE THOUGHT THAT WAS A
GOOD IDEA.
SO I HOPE HE STAYS WITH THAT AND
SUPPORTS THIS LEGISLATION THAT I
WILL BE COMING OUT WITH.
>> WELL, STATE SENATOR ELAINE
PHELPS, I WANT TO THANK YOU
AGAIN FOR JOINING US.
THIS IS AN ISSUE, AS YOU SAID,
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT, SO
SIGNIFICANT TO SO MANY PEOPLE
WHO ARE COMMUTERS.
AND OUR HOPE IS WE WILL GET YOU
BACK AND TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE
AS THIS MOVES DOWN THE LINE, SO
TO SPEAK.
>> GREAT.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
>> THANK YOU AGAIN.
PLEASURE.
TALK TO YOU SOON.
YOU BE WELL.
>> OKAY.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

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