Riders sue MTA and LIRR; agencies announce service changes for Amtrak Penn Station repairs
Things are reaching a boiling point between commuters and the MTA and LIRR.
Days after New Jersey Transit announced its service change schedule for this summer’s Amtrak repair work at Penn Station, the MTA followed suit — and fed-up commuters filed a suit.
A class-action lawsuit filed by Meredith Jacobs and Fred Lee in Nassau County against the MTA and the Long Island Rail Road aims to “address the extreme and outrageous behavior which should not be tolerated in a civilized society” on behalf of “all persons” who bought a monthlong transit pass, according to a copy of the suit Metro obtained from Manhattan-based Dereck Smith Law Group.
The suit questions whether the MTA breached its duties, from transporting commuters safely and without excessive delays to keeping equipment in working order and representing issues truthfully to the public.
“On almost a daily basis, during rush hours, hundreds of passengers (most of whom purchased monthly passes) find themselves stranded, being forced onto overly crowded trains and facing hazardous conditions in an effort to leave and enter Penn Station,” the suit alleges. “While the MTA LIRR cries foul and passes blame onto Amtrak, the MTA LIRR has done absolutely nothing to improve railroad and safety conditions for passengers to whom they owe a duty of reasonable care.”
Amtrak owns the 21 tracks at Penn Station, the nation's busiest rail station.
The suit briefly details several incidents riders faced in recent weeks and included photos of an overcrowded LIRR platform and two trains. Filed Saturday, the lawsuit is demanding a trial by jury. The MTA has not yet commented on the lawsuit.
On Friday, NJ Transit released its weekday service changes that are set to be in place from July 10 through Sept. 10 while Amtrak closes portions of tracks in July and August after several months of issues such as train derailments.
The LIRR’s plan was announced Monday. While it will add trains and 36 additional cars to offset overcrowding, it will also decrease the number of weekday trains leaving Penn Station during the nightly rush hour from 87 to 70 for the summer.
Three trains running between 2 and 4 a.m. will be canceled, which affects less than 100 riders, the MTA said according to NBC4.
Ferries from Long Island City and Glen Cove will be added, as will bus service from several park-and-rides along the Long Island Expressway from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Construction projects on four MTA bridges and tunnels — the Queens-Midtown and Hugh L. Carey tunnels and the Robert F. Kennedy and Verrazano Narrows bridges — will be ramped up between now and July 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday to “ease commutes and provide New Yorkers with peace of mind.”
For more info, visit mta.info.