Despite Improvements, Commuters Are Still Unhappy with LIRR Delays


In 2015, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) had the worst on time performance since 2000. This year,there has been improvements in the number of delays. The June 2016 MTA Operating Report indicates that the on time performance increased to 93.7% (between January to May 2016) from the 91.6% reported for 2015. Despite this increase, customers haven’t noticed a change in delays within the past year.

“Whether it be technical difficulties, signal issues, train traffic, etc., there are always delays,” said Hofstra senior Dianna Albanese. “There were many times where I was late for my internship before I started leaving earlier because of the LIRR.”

While most delays are due to uncontrollable causes, such as weather or customers, about 31 percent (as noted on the graph below in blue) can be attributed to the MTA/LIRR.


*Blue sections represent delays that can be attributed to LIRR/MTA. Source: May 2016 Operating Report 

“I haven’t really noticed a difference from last year,” said Hofstra senior La Rainne Pasion. “Whenever something happens to the LIRR… there are no or very few additional back-up services that could help people get to where they need to be.”

Salvatore Arena, an MTA spokesman, indicated that there often is not a simple fix to improving on time performance.

“If you have 100 extra trains, you couldn’t run them because there’s no room for them in the schedule,” said Arena.

But the MTA is working on projects that will benefit commuters and shorten their travel time.

They have two major projects right now: building a second track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma and the East Side Access project, which would give LIRR riders the option of taking the train directly into Grand Central Station.

The MTA is also in the process of replacing older trains (M3s) with new ones (M9s).

“Technologically, there are always improvements,” Arena said of the new M9 trains. “The newer the fleet, the better the performance.”

Header image: © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons