LIRR accused of fudging performance numbers

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The Long Island Rail Road is accused of fudging its performance numbers when it comes to ridership and reliability.

The railroad is coming under fire from the state comptroller's office in a 35-page report on the MTA’s performance measures.

The report says “For two key performance measures…we identified deficiencies and inconsistencies in the LIRR methodology and calculations that may result in misleading or inaccurate results."

Those factors, according to the report, are ridership and how far trains travel before they break down.

"I take the train every day.  A lot of times I've been left out in the cold, trains breaking down,” says Coram resident John Harris, who tells News 12 he's been a commuter for 20 years.

During one particular month, the comptroller says there were 24 mechanical incidents reported by the MTA, but 14 other mechanical incidents that resulted in delays or lost trips were not reported. Had they been included, “the number of failures would have been 58% higher.”

The report also criticizes the LIRR for recording ridership numbers based on tickets purchased instead of actual people on the trains.

For example, roundtrip or 10-trip tickets are counted on the day of the sale, not when the ticket is actually used.

The report says "…based on ticket sales, not trips or actual passenger counts, and, as such, does not accurately reflect actual ridership."

LIRR officials say they "are working ...to explore new methods to count passengers...their future fleet of M9 and M9A train cars will be equipped with electronic passenger counting systems."

In regard to the 14 other mechanical incidents, LIRR officials say it's their practice to only count as one incident per train set, no matter how many cars were affected. For example, if four cars on one train had mechanical issues, that would still only be recorded as one incident.

 

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