Riders fed up as LIRR eyes another fare hike

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WOODBURY -

The Long Island Rail Road is eying another fare hike, and some riders tell News 12 they have had enough.

"It's just not feasible anymore. People don't like to pay more, but it's no longer about wanting to -- they can't. Fares are just out of control," says Mark Epstein, chairman of the LIRR Commuter Council.
 
According to Newsday, the average monthly ticket has gone from $170 in 1999 to $334.50 now.

If the planned 4 percent fare hike goes into effect, on average, riders would be shelling out 102 percent more than they did 20 years ago.

In addition to planned fare hikes this year and in 2021, riders could see their fares go up by as much as 27 percent over the next five years.

"They keep going back to a dry well expecting more water. Riders can't do this anymore. Even if service was perfect it's still not affordable," says Epstein.

Riders at Hicksville's train station say service has plummeted as fares climb.

"It's just always delayed trains, late trains, canceled trains and they don't keep in touch with you about it, either," says Lori Widelack, of Commack.

Others say they've stopped commuting all together to avoid costs.

"It's like you needed to make $12,000 to $15,000 more to be even worth it to go into the city, otherwise you might as well stay on Long Island. So that's what I did. That's the tradeoff people are looking at now," says Timothy Heck, of East Northport.

The MTA board is slated to vote on this year's fare increase on Feb. 27. News 12 reached out to the MTA for comment but have not heard back. 

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