The Tri-State Transportation Campaign's Laggy Awards were put in place to open up lawmakers to the frustrating delays commuters face on a daily basis.
On Thursday afternoon commuters taking the Long Island Rail Road faced a challenge they’ve taken on many times before. Riders saw 20 minute delays after a contractor accidentally cut a cable in two of the four East River tunnels at 3:30 p.m. It’s because of consistent delays like this the Tri-State Transportation Campaign came up with the Laggy Awards. These awards were given to the branches that gave commuters the most problems throughout the year. It just so happens the first ever Laggies coincided with these new delays.
The categories for the awards are Lost Economic Productivity, Delay Per Rider, and Lost Time. The TSTC hopes this brings certain issues to light and pushes state legislatures to invest in making improvements to the LIRR.
“LIRR's frequent delays truly add up to lost economic productivity and commuter time over the course of a year,” said Ben Rosenblatt, the research fellow for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign who conducted the analysis. “In fact, estimates of total lost productivity are greater than last year's profits of some of Long Island's largest companies, such as VOXX International, Nathan's, and 1-800 FLOWERS.”
The TSTC reports cancelled and terminated trains between July 2012 and June 2013 cost a total of $60,760,661 in lost productivity. The top Lost Productivity Laggies go to Babylon, which won the gold, Ronkonkoma, which won Silver, and Huntington, which took home the bronze. Babylon’s total lost economic cost alone was $14,743,781.
Babylon, Ronkonkoma, and Huntington, won Laggies in the same order for contributing to the most Lost Time. Commuters lost 335,086 hours on the Babylon line, 279,206 hours with Ronkonkoma, and 222,843 hours hopping on the Huntington line. That’s a whopping total of 1,380,924 rider hours in one year alone.
Rider Delay Laggies were given to Port Jefferson, Montauk, and Ronkonkoma -the only branch to be on all three Laggy categories. Port Jefferson took the gold after losing riders 22.3 hours. Montauk lost commuters 20.5 hours, and Ronkonkoma wasn’t too far behind with 19.1 hours. The LIRR costs an average of 15.8 hours a year for commuters between these three branches.
“The next capital program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, of which LIRR is a subsidiary agency, will cover 2015-2019 and planning for the program will begin this fall,” says Rosenblatt.
It’s up to our lawmakers during the MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program to make the necessary moves in bringing reliability to the LIRR. During the Capital Program the TSTC recommends politicians discuss further fast-tracking of LIRR’s Second Track project, rebooting LIRR’s Third Track project, funding for signal improvements, and bringing Wi-fi to LIRR trains so riders can get work done.
The TSTC is also pushing for better communications with customers. They recommend improvements be made to the LIRR’s online presence so commuters can see the real reason why trains have been terminated.