Statement of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council (LIRRCC)
before a Public Hearing on the Restoration of
Weekend and Holiday West Hempstead Branch Service
September 15, 2014
Good evening. My name is Matthew Kessler. I am a member of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council (LIRRCC). The LIRRCC was created by the State Legislature in 1981 to serve as the official voice of the LIRR passenger. Our members serve as volunteers, recommended by local elected officials and appointed by the Governor.
The Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council enthusiastically supports the restoration of weekend and holiday service on the West Hempstead Branch. As you know, scheduled service was in place until its discontinuation in 2010 due to the severe financial problems at MTA. We firmly believe, regardless of other LIRR branch ridership levels, that it is essential to the Rail Road’s mission to serve the entire LIRR network on weekends as well as on holidays.
The LIRRCC also notes that development is occurring along the West Hempstead Branch. We believe that LIRR must support and partner with this growth as it will serve new residents and businesses along this path. In addition, the lack of a weekend schedule on this branch severely inconveniences riders when weather or other conditions limit the LIRR to operating on a weekend schedule. In these cases, while other branches have reduced service, a West Hempstead Branch rider has no service at all.
This service restoration is an important step toward building a transportation system that LIRR riders deserve. The LIRRCC looks forward to working with LIRR and MTA to continue to improve and increase service for the people of Long Island.