State report faults MTA, Amtrak for LIRR problems

Late and canceled trains have become the new normal for many Long Island Rail Road riders, according to a new report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Findings show that 2017 was, in fact, the worst year for the LIRR since 1999.

The report reveals more than 19,200 trains were late last year. Of these, more than 7,000 trains were over 10 minutes late. Nearly 1,400 trains were canceled at the terminal before departure. The 5:59 p.m. train from Penn Station to Babylon had the worst on-time average of any evening peak train at 63 percent.

Another issue not detailed in the report is the frustration over a $24 million renovation in Wantagh that started almost two years ago.

MTA board member Mitch Pally said that people now have a benchmark to compare once things get better. He said some of the problems are the LIRR's fault but some are the responsibility of other entities, such as Amtrak.

Not everyone is frustrated. Some riders told us that they are mostly satisfied with the service despite the flaws.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the LIRR said: "We have heard our customers loud and clear, and we are taking a host of aggressive actions to improve service in the short-term, including adding staff to improve service reliability and respond quicker to infrastructure and fleet problems, hardening against weather-related delays, upgrading signals, switches, track and railroad crossings and improving communications."

The LIRR points out that capital projects, including the double track and third track, will also improve performance. The MTA committee meeting is scheduled for Monday.

"As millions of commuters can attest, the performance of the Long Island Rail Road has become unacceptable," DiNapoli said in a statement. "While Amtrak was a big factor behind the deterioration in service last year, the LIRR was responsible for more than twice as many delays. The MTA must ensure the LIRR has the resources it needs to provide reliable service and is managed effectively."