When the feelings of commuters toward the Long Island Rail Road make the news, the news generally isn't good. Such sentiment is only a focus when things go haywire. Storms, equipment fires, power outages and problems of all kinds occur. Delays bring anger, and headlines.

So it's encouraging to find that commuters feel quite positive about the LIRR, arguments about labor costs and funding aside. A just-released Metropolitan Transportation Authority survey said LIRR users have a satisfaction rate of 89 percent, a strong number when you consider the myriad aggravations inherent in commuting.

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And those surveyed did feel anger about the individual aggravations, even as they praised the system overall. Parking availability at LIRR stations satisfied only 62 percent of those surveyed. Onboard restrooms pleased 64 percent and communication during service interruptions was handled well enough for 73 percent.

The LIRR can improve in these areas, and should.

The best result was a 93 percent thumbs-up for the courtesy and responsiveness of the employees, fantastic when you consider what those employees go through.

The LIRR is an extraordinarily busy and complex system, moving hundreds of thousands of people each day, in a mostly timely, polite and reasonable fashion.

That's worth recognizing. hN