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Why are some late LIRR trains still considered ‘on time’?

How can late LIRR trains officially be considered

How can late LIRR trains officially be considered on time? It all has to do with the way the LIRR calculates on-time performance. Credit: Newsday/Cassidy Lang

Editor’s note: This article is part of a series in which Newsday attempts to answer questions from Long Islanders about life on the Island. If there’s a question you want us to answer, send it to us here.

Why are late LIRR trains still considered to be on time?

The short answer: The railroad defines “on time” differently than you might expect.

The long answer: If you’ve ever wondered how the Long Island Rail Road can consistently claim that more than 90 percent of its trains are on time, when yours never seems to be, it may be because of how the railroad defines “on time.”

The LIRR only considers a train late if it arrives more than 5 minutes and 59 seconds after its scheduled time at its destination. So a train can be late at nearly every station, and still be considered on time, depending on when it pulls into its final stop.


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