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How Long Island Transit Segregates By Class

Long Island's two major transit services, MTA's LIRR trains and the NICE bus system, are less coordinated than they could be. This has a big impact on ease of movement for low-income residents.
June 1, 2017, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Marc Flores

Alon Levy argues that Long Island's trains and buses suffer from a lack of coordination. The result, beyond diminished efficiency, is that low-income residents use one system while well-off commuters use another. 

On one hand, "The LIRR has schedules and park-and-rides that assume passengers are affluent car owners who take the train to get to their 9-to-5 Manhattan jobs." On the other, "There's a beleaguered bus system, the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE), formerly known as Long Island Bus. NICE ridership, already at a 15-year low five years ago, has continued to fall."

Transit on Long Island could be more efficient and equitable if the systems incorporated "fare integration, schedule integration, and integration between infrastructure and operations planning." One example of potential efficiency gains: more low-income riders could fill trains on off-hours, easing the strain on slower buses. 

Levy concludes, "Can riders rely on the LIRR without memorizing a schedule? Can they use it for trips at all times of day? The lack of interest in answering these questions shows the LIRR's priority is still suburban park-and-ride passengers who go to Manhattan in the morning and return in the afternoon."

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Published on Thursday, May 25, 2017 in StreetsBlog NYC
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