The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the parent of the Long Island Rail Road, had announced that the reason that their on-time performance is suffering and why there are significant safety concerns is that they do not have enough cars to meet the demand of ridership on Long Island.
This announcement is quite the admission from the higher-ups at the MTA and LIRR. This disclosure is meant to alleviate the angry feelings toward the LIRR by Nassau and Suffolk County commuters who are once again looking at fare increases at some point during 2019.
Anger was not alleviated. With monthly passes for riders within New York City at more than $230, and Nassau commuters paying upwards of almost $310 and Suffolk residents paying a whopping $500 per month, anger toward the LIRR is at an all-time high.
Safety on the trains and platforms are a serious concern
It would be one thing is the issue was just the fares. The problem is that due to the lack of cars we have significant safety issues that come from crowded trains and crowded platforms.
We are not just talking about the comfort and convenience of the riders. The LIRR riders have long experienced and expect trains with no available seats and people packed in like sardines. They expect the bathrooms to be unusable, itself a potential safety issue. It is sad that these conditions are not news.
Crowded trains are a danger to riders who are prone to be thrown around off-balance when the train either starts or stops. If a person loses balance, they are going to reach out for something or someone to hold onto, which can lead to more injuries.
On the platforms, the danger is significant. People who are standing closest to the platform edge have a serious concern of being too close to the side as trains are entering the station. When you have crowds, there are also concerns of people being trampled, and kids being separated from their parents leading to frantic behavior on the part of both the kid and the parent.
There are also several stories of panic attacks caused by crowds, noise, and the extreme lack of any personal space. A person who is in the midst of a panic attack can be a danger to themselves or others around them.
The administrators of the MTA and the Long Island Rail Road expressed their reasoning as to why it is necessary to raise the fares even higher than they already are. The issues of safety are a severe concern for riders and their families who want to know that their safety is not being carelessly and needlessly put at risk. As citizens of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, we want to know that if we are going to have to pay even more of our income to ride the LIRR, that the additional funds will go for cars and safety improvements necessary to guarantee that our trains and platforms are as safe as they can be.
Marc Albert has vast experience in transportation-related personal injury cases
Marc Albert has vast experience in dealing with the safety issues of the Long Island Rail Road, New York City Subway, and Metro-North including the 2013 Metro-North derailment which occurred at or about the Spuyten Duyvil station in Bronx County and the 2015 Amtrak derailment which occurred in Philadelphia.