Long Island officials protest scheduled LIRR fare hike amidst price reduction for some

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Elected officials from Long Island held a press conference Monday to denounce the plan by the Metropolitan Transit Authority to cut fares for New York City LIRR riders.

"That's not fair, it's not just," said Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine. "Stop short-changing Long Island."

Under the MTA's NYC Outer Borough Rail Discount plan, which was announced last week, full-price fares for monthly tickets will be reduced by 20 percent for LIRR travel entirely within Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The fares will go into effect in May.

The elected officials said at the press conference at the LIRR Ronkonkoma station it's not fair that New York City LIRR riders are going to be treated with a discount, while fares are expected to increase four percent for Suffolk and Nassau County riders in 2021.

"We pay the most for everything in this state and we do not get our fair share," said Town of Brookhaven Councilman and Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico.

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said last week he is pleased the MTA is able to leverage existing railroad operations to increase transit options.

"I commend the Legislature for dedicating a portion of the Outer Borough Transportation Account for this important effort to improve the mobility of New Yorkers in an environmentally friendly way," he said.

For years, the MTA has been trying to level the playing field for LIRR riders in Brooklyn and Queens who do not have access to a subway or bus stop and are forced to pay the higher LIRR rates.

"This discount program will save hardworking New Yorkers money and incentivize the use of public transportation," said New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

The MTA said the reduced fares have nothing to do with the scheduled increase in fares for Nassau and Suffolk County riders. The entire LIRR system will see a four percent increase in fares next year.

LIRR rider Paul Neumann said he wasn't surprised about the increase in fares.

"We continue getting fare increases and we're still riding trains from 1979," he said.

LIRR rider Tariq Mehmood said, as it is, people are basically working to pay for their LIRR ticket.

"A lot of people they just hour-to-hour they work for it," he said.
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