Regional Rail Delays Pain Area Commuters

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spoorthi Sharetha, 25, had to laugh as her commute turned into an odyssey Tuesday morning after a fire near Jamaica Station delayed trains coming into Manhattan for a second day in a row.

“Generally, my daily commute would be 1 hour 15 minutes or 1 hour 30 minutes,” the IT consultant says. “Today it’s going to be more than 4.5 hours."

Sharetha takes New Jersey Transit to Penn Station and switches to the Long Island Rail Road. But both services were experiencing major delays on Tuesday.

NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor Line and the North Jersey Coast Line were operating 60 to 90 minutes behind schedule, with Midtown direct trains being diverting to Hoboken. On at least one line, some morning trains were cancelled outright.

When Sharetha arrived in Midtown, already hours late, she saw Long Island Rail Road announcement boards saying eastbound trains on the Port Washington Branch (and eight other branches) were running up to 60 minutes behind schedule.

“I’m very disappointed,” she says. “I’m not doing anything. I’m not enjoying my life. I’m just standing here and waiting for the trains.”

Despite the announcement board, Sharetha's train—the 10:09 to Port Washington—appeared to depart on time. Her woes on New Jersey Transit meant that she missed the long delays on LIRR that commuters experienced during the morning rush.

Unfortunately for her, she was still going to be more than four hours late. And she was already worried about heading back to New Jersey in the evening.

“Working as an IT consultant, I charge per hour. So if I am spending eight hours in train commute, I don't think I'm going to make any money,” Sharetha said with a laugh.

Official says it could be days before Long Island Rail Road trains are running at full service again, but for this evening, the LIRR expects that 60 percent of the 144 scheduled trains will be running, while bus services will be replacing some trips.

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