I read with interest Patrick Nowakowski's agenda for his second year as president of the Long Island Rail Road ["Working on the railroad," News, June 23].

After four years of riding the LIRR, I think it's comparable to most Third World transportation systems. From the boarding conventions at Penn Station, which are like a Black Friday sale crowd at a discount store, to the unintelligible speaker systems in the cars -- a combination of poor equipment and lack of diction by the staff -- the experience leaves me cold.

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I can fly out of Kennedy Airport tomorrow and know the gate where my flight is leaving, because it is assigned today. Why do I have to cluster in Penn Station until 10 minutes before departure to locate my train?

The cheapest auto comes with cup holders; why can't an expensive rail car? And how about some trash receptacles in the cars?

Nowakowski says Wi-Fi on trains is a waste of money. News flash: Most riders would appreciate the ability to connect and work or entertain themselves on their journeys.

While most successful businesses have turned to customer-centric metrics, it seems the LIRR is stuck in a "we know what everyone needs" mode of strategic planning.

Mike Weir, Patchogue