WOODBURY - A News 12 Long Island investigation uncovered that the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) lost as much as $13 million last year alone in uncollected fares, and now officials say they are taking steps to address the problem.
According to LIRR cash reports obtained by News 12 Long Island, many conductors were unable to collect hundreds of tickets on some trains.
The situation is different in New Jersey, where it appears that much fewer tickets go unpunched. NJ Transit says it loses under a million dollars a year.
A spokesperson for NJ Transit says there is at least one conductor for every three cars per train, and a peak train could have up to seven ticket collectors.
In contrast, LIRR officials say usually only two conductors are assigned for an entire train, an approach that United Transportation Union Chairman Anthony Simon says is obviously not working.
LIRR management disagrees. Despite the lost revenue, railroad officials insist it's not cost-effective to hire more conductors.
However, Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member Mitch Pally says something clearly needs to change.
LIRR officials say they will beef up the Train Ride Task Force. Two managers will ride trains throughout the system to observe crews and ensure fare collection. The MTA also says new technology, such as onboard debit transactions, will help curtail losses.