Long Islanders say MTA cuts forcing them to commute by car

Long Island commuters say the MTA is forcing them off the rail road in a new round of service cuts and fare hikes.

“I don’t take the LIRR anymore.  I drive into the city now.  With the subway prices going up I can’t afford to take the LIRR too,” said Garden City resident Novara Alma, 33.

The fares are expected to go up in January when ticket prices could increase up to almost 10 percent. The service cuts are the biggest ever in the LIRR’s 176-year history. Weekday service is being cut back on several lines including Atlantic Terminal, Long Beach, Montauk, Port Washington, Ronkonkoma, and Greenport.

Weekend service is being canceled entirely at West Hempstead.

With less service, the Hempstead and Mineola train stations are bound to be more crowded.
However, not everyone thinks this is the worst problem.

“I’d take service cuts over a raise in prices any day,” said Laura Paul, 30, a frequent Long Island visitor.

Unfortunately for riders, the MTA is using both.

“The service reductions will save approximately $950,000 this year and $3.8 million annually starting in 2011,” the LIRR said in a statement. “However, the LIRR will be monitoring the changes in the new timetable and will make schedule adjustments, as necessary, based on additional ridership and possible crowding on trains.”

So, how does this make travelers feel?

“I’d rather drive to Queens and hop on the subway for a cheaper price,” says   Barbara Crawford, 45, of Uniondale.

The stay-at-home mother believes the MTA should look to a more successful transportation system for a little guidance.

Crawford believes Chicago’s public transportation sets a great example of a transit systems that work.

“It’s understandable because we are in a recession,” she says.  “But it seems like they are abusing the situation.  I definitely won’t be taken advantage of because of the MTA’s mistakes.”

For more information on the new train schedules customers should pick up a copy of the September 13-November 14, 2010 timetable at any station.

Additionally, the MTA hosted a public hearing to discuss the service and fare changes on Monday.

The MTA board will vote on the proposals in October.