Facing Shortfall, LIRR Enacts Drastic Cuts

Up to 14,000 commuters expected to be affected

By Tim Minton and Jonathan Eiseman
|  Monday, Sep 13, 2010  |  Updated 1:16 PM EDT
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Facing Shortfall, LIRR Enacts Drastic Cuts

Better check the schedule...

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Somebody’s Monday commute is about to get a lot more complicated.

The MTA, facing a $900 Million budget shortfall, is enacting some of the deepest cuts ever to its LIRR service -- cutting late-night and weekend trains to nearly a dozen stations, canceling or delaying some morning and evening rush hour trains, and forcing many Brooklyn commuters underground.

Among other things, the LIRR will cut service to the Atlantic Terminal station in Brooklyn between midnight and 5 a.m. and reduce the amount of off-peak service on the Port Washington line from every half-hour to every hour, and will cut weekend service on the West Hempstead line. 

“It’s a little bit ridiculous,” says Keith Barth, a LIRR commuter out of Great Neck. “Because you have both fares going up while they’re also cutting trains. It seems unheard of.”

The MTA, however, says that the cuts are a necessary evil, needed to help close an astounding budget gap.

"These service reductions and layoffs are painful for our customers and employees but are necessary," said LIRR spokesperson Joe Calderone in a statement. "The LIRR is working hard to become a more efficient and cost-conscious organization. We have reduced administrative overhead at the LIRR by 15 percent and are cutting overtime costs as well. The service cuts are needed to help close a $900-million MTA budget shortfall."

In addition to these service cuts, the MTA also has a fare hike in the works for January, which could raise rates as much as 9.4 percent.

For more info and the full service reductions, go to www.mta.info/lirr

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