Commuters on the Oyster Bay Branch of the Long Island Rail Road can expect a lot of changes come Sept. 5. But what the LIRR is touting as simplified trips will be expensive for commuters like Jeffry Brown. A CEO of a company in Manhattan, he is trying to convince his employees to return to work in person, which would require for most taking the Long Island Rail Road. Brown wrote in an email to the Herald that the changes will cost him an additional $120 a month for a municipal parking permit to use another station which he will need to do because of the LIRR’s changes. Although public policies should encourage people to take mass transit, the proposed changes will do the opposite for the Greenvale commuter.
“The core issue is this: the MTA LIRR do not have any idea of the actual addressable market for passenger service on the Oyster Bay line,” Brown wrote. “If they do the market research work, they will undoubtedly find there is a lot of demand but many people who would use the Oyster Bay line go to Manhasset or Hicksville. The Oyster Bay line product offering is garbage. The current Oyster Bay trains belong in a museum.”
When service was changed in February after the launch of the new LIRR schedules adjusted to accommodate service to the second Manhattan terminal at Grand Central Madison, commuters faced longer commutes, and train times were drastically adjusted. Starting Sept. 5, the express trains on the Oyster Bay rail line will run on a skip-stop basis. The 6:55 a.m. train from Oyster Bay will now depart at 7:01 a.m. and will no longer stop at Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Greenvale, Albertson, or Mineola. Riders on the 7:17 a.m. train from Oyster Bay who are traveling to Penn Station will transfer to an empty train that originates at Jamaica, reducing crowding.
Although commuters like Brown are discouraged by the changes, MTA officials have declared it as a win by the LIRR and elected officials as a service improvement. Long Island Rail Road interim president Catherine Rinaldi joined Assemblyman Charles Lavine and Glen Cove Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck at the Glen Street station on Aug. 22 to celebrate the forthcoming service changes, which Rinaldi said, “came as the result of a lot of conversations and in-person meetings” with Oyster Bay commuters and representatives.”
“We are so thrilled to be able to make these improvements for our Oyster Bay Branch customers,” Rinaldi said. “Despite our operational challenges and limitations, these improvements show a willingness to work with our riders and make adjustments wherever possible to improve their commutes. This marks the very first time in modern history that we will be offering a.m. peak service on the branch.”