Dear LIRR,

On Saturday, January 30, 2010 service on the Long Beach line was disrupted due to track work. Although this disturbance was planned, the shuttle bus service to Valley Stream was not scheduled correctly.

I took the 4:57pm bus from Long Beach. To my surprise, the bus did not stop at Oceanside, Island Park, or any other train stops between Long Beach and Valley Stream. Instead, the bus went straight to Valley Stream, arriving at 5:20pm. The train to Penn Station, however, did not leave until 5:50pm.

While sitting in the waiting room for half an hour with over a dozen other frustrated travelers, I asked two Long Island Railroad workers why the buses were scheduled to include such a significant amount of lag time. Why doesn’t LIRR associate any value to their passengers’ time? The two befuddled men stumbled for answers. After, of course, reminding me of the obvious, that they don’t make those decisions, they informed me that there may be time built in for additional buses that do make all local stops between Long Beach and Valley Stream.

I expected there to be a little bit of wait time at Valley Stream because I assumed LIRR would allow for traffic time that the bus may encounter. But why send several sets of buses?

“People like the express bus, they don’t want to make all the local stops,” LIRR man said.

Really? Because the train makes such stops and I’ve never seen anyone complain on the train. After all, this isn’t rocket surgery. Plus, why would LIRR waste the money to run additional buses when local traffic is not heavy on that route. The men had no real answers, but denied my request that they inform a superior of this inefficiency. “The complaint would have more weight coming from the customer,” was the advice I received. Hence, this letter.

The two men were not comfortable with my complaint and promptly disappeared to the LIRR Personnel Only closet. I don’t have high expectations for LIRR customer service skills, but the unwillingness to even pretend they would convey the identification of an obvious fault was left me dumbfounded. I find it difficult to believe that LIRR wouldn’t encourage its employees to pass on information to their superiors.

I am disappointed that the LIRR has such incompetent systems in place for these situations.

Rachel L. Arbeit


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  1. I have also complained (multiple times) about so many issues (delay issues, cell phone rudeness issues, filthy train issues, etc.) I have also received idiotic responses and at one point, my monthly mail and ride ticket got “lost in the mail.” I am sure that was just a “big coincidence.” But the whole thing really makes one wonder about the MTA and it’s “leadership.” If people like Williams and Walder were voted in instead of appointed to those positions, maybe things would change.

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