It takes a truly special institution to consistently infuriate virtually every constituency it serves for years on end. In New York, this heavyweight title belongs to no other than the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) with special help from the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).
My state senate office fields more angry calls about MTA than we do for anything else. These past few weeks have been no different. And as usual, the problems just keep coming. Here’s just a few:
- The LIRR started express morning service on the Oyster Bay line a few weeks back. Along with riders, I was assured this effort would be welcomed with open arms. Good so far.
- But they achieved this so-called “express” service by skipping stops in places like Albertson, leaving those riders with only two options: arrive to work too early or arrive too late, with no in between.
- Desperate riders started taking lines at other stations with more convenient schedules. The result?
- The mayors of these other villages have watched their streets and parking lots explode with cars, leaving no spaces for residents and shoppers. This is inconvenient, bad for shop owners and bad for local tax receipts.
- The regular riders on these trains are also complaining because they’re packed like sardines without any available seats, even if they board at the first stop.
- Compound this with ongoing scheduling problems that haven’t been fixed since opening Grand Central Station to the LIRR. Newsday reported that delays have more than doubled since they opened it!
- Throw in that they didn’t order enough trains to accommodate Grand Central and have had to slash service to Penn Station as a result.
- Then multiply all this by a 4.5% rate increase for the LIRR this year alone.
Wait. It gets better.
MTA Chairman Janno Lieber recently acknowledged that although they’ve lost a whopping $690 million to fare evasion that THEY WILL NOT PURSUE AGGRESSIVE ENFORCEMENT, in order to make the system more “equitable.” So, while everyday, working people like you take it on the chin with delays and fare hikes, others will ride for free. And, due to this shortfall in revenue from their refusal to enforce and collect, we now have the gift of congestion pricing – which again – hits suburban commuters, many of whom are just trying to get to work.
I’d love to blame the mess at the MTA on sheer incompetence, but the truth is there are many exceptionally talented and bright people who work there. Unfortunately, they are beholden to a woke agenda being set by Governor Hochul and the Albany Democrats.
Let’s hold them accountable.