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Letters: The rising cost of riding the LIRR

Commuters dodge snowflake at the LIRR station on

Commuters dodge snowflake at the LIRR station on Friday, Jan. 17, 2019 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

I encourage anyone who complains about his or her Long Island Rail Road cost to try driving into midtown Manhattan for one month and compare the cost and time with your train commute [“Twice as much to ride the LIRR,” News, Feb. 11]. Instead of the current monthly Zone 9 ticket of $350 and roughly one hour each way to Penn Station, I can spend more than two hours in the car each way (for me, it’s roughly 50 hours per month more; even at $20 an hour that’s $1,000 of my time). Then there’s the Midtown Tunnel E-ZPass toll of $11.52 a day ($230.40 a month), $350 to $450 a month for parking, and $60 to $80 a month for fuel, plus a percentage of my vehicle insurance and maintenance costs.

Also factor in the aggravation of traffic; the concentration necessary for a safe trip; the inconsiderate and reckless drivers; and the inevitable delays due to accidents, weather, police activity, disabled cars, etc.

Even with the price increase, the LIRR is still far and away the easiest, cheapest and best way to commute to and from Manhattan. It isn’t even close. Plus, I can use my ticket on holidays and weekends.

The only complaint one should make to the LIRR is the lack of parking at its stations. Many are full by 7:15 a.m.

Chris Liotta, Dix Hills

Labor costs account for about 60 percent of the MTA’s expenses. We still have employees on the train collecting tickets. This is absurd. Many U.S. systems have a ticket booth with one employee per station (or a ticket machine) and a gate to pass through. The New York City subway and the AirTrain are that way.

It is time for the LIRR to adapt to the 21st century. Modernize stations and get rid of conductors. Think of the legacy costs in pensions we will continue to endure for the next 40 years.

Joel Russo,Merrick

Sure, you show that ticket costs are set to rise 100 percent from 1990. You also report a less than 100 percent rise in incomes on Long Island. But how about reporting labor costs for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority? You cannot judge the financial operations of a company without explaining both income and expenses. I don’t have access to these figures, but I would guess that Newsday does. And don’t forget the cost of pensions, too.

Thomas Focone,Stony Brook

Editor’s note: The writer rode the LIRR for 41 years and in retirement is a part-time bookkeeper.

When you write about the ridiculous cost of the LIRR, how do you not address the very costly union rules?


  • The cars are filthy, the car cleaners can’t get to them all, but the station cleaners could help. The union rep told Newsday it is not their craft. That is ridiculous.
  • A locomotive engineer can make two days’ pay if he operates an electric train and a diesel train during the same shift, according to a 2017 report.

It’s only because politicians in New York refuse to take on the labor unions, afraid of losing the campaign dollars they contribute and votes they supply.

In New York, taxpayer money is like Monopoly money. Nobody cares. They just get creative on how to tax us. Look at your home tax bill, and don’t be surprised to see a separate line for the MTA. Ridiculous!

Stephen Rach,West Sayville

Few ACA options for small businesses

The headline “Bucking national trend, enrollment in ACA surges in NY” [News, Jan. 30] did not tell the whole story. While enrollment through the Affordable Care Act exchange is growing, it is often because there are few other options available for individuals, the self-employed or small businesses.

The law requires small businesses to insure at least one non-owner employee and/or 60 percent of all eligible employees. In a quirk, a non-owner employee who already has coverage through a spouse does not provide a waiver to the requirement. The result: the businessman or woman must buy an individual plan, of which there are few options. And they have no ability to buy a plan that lets a patient be covered out of the network.

An analogy to this increased enrollment would be closing the westbound Long Island Expressway, which would lead to an increase in Long Island Rail Road ridership, and then releasing a statement that ridership has increased. Unfortunately, the choice of health plans is severely limited.

Warren Kalmenson,East Meadow

Editor’s note: The writer is an independent agent who sells health insurance to small businesses.

Glen Cove students need bond issue

We have lived in Glen Cove since 1972 and had three children go through the district’s public schools. We now have six grandchildren in the schools. I am sure that when our schools were built, taxpayers had concerns. But the schools and the city have survived and continue to grow. Upgrading these facilities through the bond issue on March 12 is absolutely necessary for the city, children and schools to grow and prosper [“$84M bond for school fixes,” News, Jan. 14]. There is a proverb that says, “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate a child.”

Bob and Patty Miller,Glen Cove


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