Longtime LIRR commuters express frustrations with recent train issues

Stacey Sager Image
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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Stacey Sager has more from Penn Station.

HICKSVILLE, Long Island (WABC) -- Three people who have been commuting on the Long Island Rail Road for the past 30 years are expressing their concerns for the recent train issues at Penn Station, and Eyewitness News went along with them to experience what thousands must endure on a daily basis.

"It's like clockwork," commuter Ken Wagner said.

The trouble is, he's not referring to the regularity of the trains. Wagner and his wife Nadia are referring to they call the new normal.

"We get these emails sent, and it's practically daily that we're getting alerts of delays and cancellations," Nadia Wagner said.

Whether it's track problems, signal problems, Amtrak problems or weather problems, the result is a crowded mess that starts at Penn Station.

"It's amazing the people that you see see," Nadia Wagner said. "The pregnant woman gets on, for instance, it's like every commuter for himself. Yeah, it's pretty sad, too. It's pretty sad."

They say the anger is sometimes misdirected at LIRR employees, but there is also a lot that commuters may not realize. There's a trickle down effect on fare collection, for example.

"I have seen commuters actually sleep through being asked to show their tickets, and it looks to be an unwritten rule that they don't even wake them," commuter Fred Savarese said. "And they just pass them by. So if you want a free ride, make believe you're sleeping."

While these are just the informal observations of a few, there are more tangible signs of things that just don't seem right to people who've commuted for decades.

"They've actually got some kind of poles up, keeping the ceilings up," Nadia Wagner said. "They Duct tape rips in the cabins and the seats."

And as the prices go up, fares are higher even on the oldest trains in the fleet.

"I'm getting a ride, period," Savarese said.