Carlos Cadorniga also contributed to the story.
Long Island Rail Road commuters rode the rails through the winter with its harsh snowstorms and frigid temperatures. These commuters will face a cold reality when they shell out more money starting March 22 when fares are expected to increase. Taking into consideration the recent service disruptions and other factors such as what the revenue goes into, some said they do not believe fare increases are merited.
Getting out early from an acting class, Anika Martin, a biochemistry major and Amityville resident, takes the 6:49 p.m. train to go home. She said she does not think the fare should increase because of the excessive delays, she said, which “gets to be a bit annoying.” She said she thinks service should improve.
“We probably deserve a little compensation,” Martin said. “But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
“It might not affect me in one shot,” said frequent commuter and business major Juan Canales when asked how the fare increase would impact him. “But it accumulates to be something else,” he continued, worried that the extra cash layout would definitely be a problem in the long run.
Karyn Amaira, a graduate student, will be lucky enough to escape the fare increase with alternative means of transportation.
“[The fare increase] will affect me a little bit, but not too much,” Amaira said when asked how she’d deal with the price increase. “I also have a car, which is a cheaper mode of transportation for me.”
Boarding the same train, Kara-Lynn Vaeni, a theater arts professor at Stony Brook, normally took the 9:50 p.m. train, but with rehearsals for a play already done, she opts to commute home via the same 6:49 p.m. train. Though this train is earlier, the commute is longer compared to the later train. Vaeni is against the fare increase with the frequency of trains considered.
“It’ll affect me because it’ll eat more of my money,” Vaeni said. “But they are not changing the train schedule to be more convenient.”
One student on the train, Michael Lee, resorted to the train for his commute after hazardous highways made driving a more dangerous practice. That being said, as a student who normally drives, he wasn’t entirely worried about the upcoming fare increase. It would have to be something he’ll deal with in the future, but ultimately decided it was “nothing significant.”
At the Huntington train station, Tom Brink, a videographer for an advertising agency, arrived on the 6:30 p.m. train out of Penn Station when the wind picked up momentum. He showed sympathy for the railroad despite the delays and service disruptions.
“For what it’s worth, this railroad actually does a pretty good job with all the demands that are put on it,” Brink said.
He said he would like the trains to have more cars coupled and the service to be improve. Brink added that he does not understand why fares increase and would like to know what he’s paying for, though fellow commuters he’s asked said they believe the extra money goes to the unions and pensions.
“It seems to be the trend,” Brink said.
Also at Huntington was freshman Siara Dalton, who takes the train every day. Paying depending on her schedule for the month–buying either monthly passes or daily tickets–she knew that this would definitely affect her in the future.
Lorenzo Foscolo got off the train from Stony Brook and was anxious to get on the connecting. He was surprised about the fare increase as he did not know about it. After the news broke to him, he was “not every happy.”
“What’s the motivation?” Foscolo asked about the increase. “It takes two and a half hours to get back home.”
Yuriy Slaschev, a freshman dropped off at New Hyde Park Station, has suffered from his own delays and even a train that simply didn’t show up. With frustrations at the sporadic service, he certainly wasn’t optimistic about a fare increase.
“I’m probably going to stop buying monthly passes,” Slaschev remarked. “It’s probably not even worth it to buy [them] anymore.”
Stephen Cardiello was waiting for the 8:44 p.m. train from Stony Brook on Wednesday night. What set him apart from anyone else is that he was not a Stony Brook student. Instead, he attends Suffolk Community College. He got a ride from his sister to the station to head home. He, like Foscolo, was surprised about the increases.
“There’ll definitely be drawbacks.” Cardiello said. “It’s definitely a sacrifice.”
As for alternate methods of transport, he said the county bus may be an option traveling between school and East Northport, where he lives. He said the bus “is a lot easier.”