LIRR Satisfaction Survey—Are They Kidding?


Did you notice, according to a Long Island Rail Road survey, that 84 percent of riders are satisfied with the service provided in 2016? Really, is that possible? According to the LIRR, that’s their story and they are sticking to it.

Amazingly, that’s up two percentage points from 2015’s mark of 82 percent.

Can I ask a simple question? Who are they surveying and when are they being surveyed?
Many of you have been long time commuters on the LIRR, some for your entire working careers. I was a commuter for about 10 years, in the 1990s and early 2000s, and I can tell you I wasn’t satisfied, especially on the evening commute.

Why is it that the morning commute, as my experience on the Babylon line can attest, is sort of peaceful? You can usually get a seat, things are quiet, and you can catch some “zzz’s.” There is a mutual respect between morning commuters.

But that evening commute is always a nightmare. Everyone seems to be waiting for the same train as you, especially if it’s an express. Why does there always seems to be seats on the Long Beach train while they are packing them in like sardines for Hicksville? Just asking.

If you are getting any train out of Penn Station after 5:30 p.m., good luck with finding a seat. Of course, an educated commuter knows exactly where to stand so the doors open right in front of them, leaving the neophytes to fight over the pull-down seats usually reserved for the handicapped with wheelchairs, or being forced to stand after a long day’s work.

I’ll bet the LIRR isn’t passing out surveys on the 5:59 express to Massapequa.
According to the LIRR, they surveyed more than 15,000 riders during June and found riders more satisfied than in 2015. Did you know that the LIRR has an average weekday ridership of more than 300,000?

That means that, of the 15,000 surveyed, barely 5 percent of the weekday ridership was spread around weekdays, weekends, peak, off-peak and all lines, a total of 112 trains. How many of those survey respondents were hardcore “Dashing Dans?” You get a lot more smiles and rainbows when your ridership is on their way to a sporting event, a museum or Broadway. Three thousand (or 20 percent) of them actually reported being “very satisfied.”

It reminds me of the national presidential polls during the campaign touting “58 percent for this candidate.” Then you find out they surveyed only 200 people. There are 200 million registered voters nationally.

You think the LIRR is happily handing out surveys when trains are delayed for an hour due to “switching” problems? What about the dreaded “equipment” problem? How can the most densely populated evening train for any line show up at Penn Station with “red” lights and two cars short?

Guess they are not handing out any surveys this week after the 3.75 percent increase in non-monthly ticket fares.

I’m sure many of you are either commuters or have friends and families that are commuters. Do your own survey and let me know if you can get anyone to admit they are “satisfied” with the overall performance.

And when you talk to them, make sure to remind them that the LIRR also reported that their trains were on-time 92.7 percent of the time, up from 91.6 percent in 2015. The miniscule 1.1 percent uptick this year represented an improvement over the worst on-time performance of all time, so they have that going for them.

By the way, your monthly tickets are going up in April. Maybe the FBI should be investigating Russia about possible tampering with the LIRR survey results.

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