NYS comptroller: LIRR service 'unacceptable'

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BABYLON -

When it comes to operating on time, the Long Island Rail Road's performance has become "unacceptable," according to a new report from the state comptroller.

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says he found the LIRR's on-time performance to be at its worst in 18 years: The report found an estimated 9.2 million riders faced cancellations or delays last year.

Jonathan Russo of Shirley is one of them. He says he takes the train to work every day in the city.

"During weather like this, where it's nice and icy out, it can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes late," he says. "Really puts a damper in my schedule."

According to the report, nearly 21,400 trains were late, canceled or terminated in 2017 -- a 20 percent increase from the year before. Of the delayed trains, 7,040 were more than 10 minutes late, and 3,442 were more than 15 minutes late. Another 195 trains were more than an hour late -- and 14 saw delays of two hours or more.

Peter Haynes of the LIRR Commuters Campaign says the railroad needs to change the way it measures on-time performance before it can make improvements.

"Right now, they only measure a train being late at its last stop," he says. "They need to measure where the people are late."

If the LIRR does that, Haynes says, officials can isolate and address the most problematic sections of rail.

For its part, the LIRR says it's adding staff, upgrading equipment and improving communications to improve service in the short term.

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