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Two commuters are suing the Long Island Rail Road on behalf of all train passengers who suffered during the so-called “Summer of Hell,” when passengers endured daily rush-hour delays, cancellations, and dangerous overcrowding.
Fred Lee of Uniondale and Meredith Jacobs of Wantagh filed the lawsuit last June after they say the LIRR failed to provide passengers “with any semblance of comfort or safety.”
The suit also came after three train derailments in Penn Station within four months.
The LIRR filed a request to dismiss the suit claiming that the plaintiffs failed to file a notice of claim with the court. Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Antonio Brandveen denied the request, ruling the suit was exempt from the requirement because it seeks to “vindicate a public interest.”
Prosecution attorney and fellow LIRR commuter Paul Liggieri called the judge’s decision “a huge win” for the LIRR’s thousands of daily passengers. “The whole reason we brought the suit is because we want safe conditions and for the trains to run on time. And that wasn’t done.”
While the lawsuit is picking up speed, the fight is far from over. The “Summer of Hell” never truly ended for commuters, as subway on-time rates still hover around a shameful 65 percent. The MTA continuously struggles to find the cash to replace ancient trains and repair crumbling stations.
In November 2016, just months before the hellish summer ensued, the MTA approved a $30 million re-tiling projects to line two underground tunnels in New York’s blue and white color scheme. They may as well have just thrown the money out a train window.
Due to a lack of funds and a surplus of problems, fare increases of 4 percent are expected to occur in 2019 and 2021. Reports show, however, that declining ridership will lead to nearly $100 million less revenue than expected.
Years of neglect and indolence have finally caught up with the agency, and commuters are paying for it.
Stay tuned as Lee and Jacobs seek justice on behalf of all MTA customers. Sign up to Reclaim New York today!