Newsday has rightly observed that commuters are reaching the breaking point on fare increases ["MTA can't keep soaking riders," Editorial, Oct. 18]. We believe that there is a far more fundamental issue at work here.

As the Metropolitan Transportation Authority moves toward a public hearing and meeting process that will determine Long Island Rail Road riders' fares for the next two years, we note that Long Island is not fully represented on the MTA board. Since the resignation of Pat Foye in January, this body has had no member representing Nassau County. The decisions that the MTA board will make in the coming months are vitally important to the lives of commuters and to the future of Long Island.

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Basic fairness demands that when the stakes are so great, all areas of the MTA region should be fully represented in the discussion, debate and votes. The Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council urges county and state leaders who are responsible for naming members to the MTA board to work together to ensure that a new member can be in place before a vote on the fare proposals.

Long Island Rail Road riders should not face a fare hike without representation.

Mark Epstein, Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is the chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council, a riders' watchdog group.