LI boy catches attention of MTA officials during board meeting

CENTEREACH, Long Island (WABC) -- A 12-year-old from Suffolk County caught the eye of MTA transit officials this week after speaking during the board's monthly meeting.

Lukas Wolpiuk, of Centereach, appeared on Zoom on Thursday morning during the MTA's public comment section.

"We need to stand up for what's right at the MTA," Lukas told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne.

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Wolpiuk, a 7th-grader at Dawnwood Middle School, told MTA officials he was pleased they decided not to raise fares on the LIRR but said they should offer a discount to riders who have to pay the $6 parking fee at the Westbury LIRR station.

He also suggested better shuttle service for riders when the main lines have to be shut down. He cited a broken rail on January 17 which caused 20-to 30-minute delays for riders on top of their 60-minute travel time.

Wolpiuk also criticized MTA officials for the delay in releasing the materials for the board meeting. After the meeting, MTA Interim President Sarah Feinberg posted on Twitter, "Highlight of my morning. I gotta find that kid."

Wolpiuk is passionate about the MTA because "I want things to be good for riders. I want to stand up for what's right," he said.

The 7th grader's mother, Marzena Wolpiuk, said while she is surprised about all of the attention her son is receiving, she said it is fitting for a child who has loved trains since a young age. He grew up riding the trains with his grandmother in Maspeth.

Wolpiuk loves to track the trains on the apps and tries to memorize the schedules. He describes watching MTA board meetings as "enjoyable."

His mother said in December that he asked her to speak on his behalf during the MTA board meeting to express his displeasure over the potential LIRR fare hikes.

"A few days ago, he also came up to me and told me, 'Mommy, there is another meeting. I want you to do it.' I said, 'No, you should do it.'"

Wolpiuk said when he grows up he wants to be a railway engineer.

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The fare hikes will be delayed for several months.

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