Jamaica (WALK) - So what would you do with an extra 1,380,924 hours a year?
That's how many total rider hours were lost over a year's time by commuters who use the Long Island Rail Road, and that adds up to a costly loss of economic productivity, according to the mass transit advocacy group the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. The group announced winners of its first "Laggy Awards" yesterday, given to those branches of the Long Island Rail Road which reportedly have the greatest negative economic impact on the region.
The Babylon branch led the Laggies, winning the top "gold" prize in two categories: Lost Productivity and Lost Time. The Ronkonkoma and Huntington branches finished second and third in both categories as well, respectively. The greatest levels of Delay Per Ride went to Port Jefferson, Montauk and Ronkonkoma, in that order.
“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 who conducted the analysis for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “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 group says that the awards are a signal to state legislators whose districts are home to the Laggy branches that additional capital investment is needed to ensure the LIRR can keep rolling on schedule. Although the report does not identify the causes of disrupted service, the group says that reports of signal failures and track breaks indicate that increased funding resources are needed to ensure the system is properly maintained.
“Capital investment in LIRR infrastructure directly impacts the quality and reliability of the Rail Road’s service. Delays caused by inadequate infrastructure investments have real economic costs, in addition to the stress and frustration that they produce in riders,” said Bill Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. “We cannot afford not to maintain, rehabilitate and improve LIRR infrastructure to meet the needs of its riders and the regional economy.”
Photo: Adam E. Moreira