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What Our Readers Think: East End 'Scoot' Trains

Readers had mixed views on plans for shuttle trains on the Twin Forks.

On Tuesday, Patch reported that the on the Montauk and Greenport branches of the the Long Island Rail Road, a move that could make life much easier for commuters on the East End come 2014.

Patch readers had a lot to say on the topic, both negative and positive.  The following is a round-up of reader's comments. Feel free to join the conversation and post your thoughts in the comment section below.

said, "Have the last stop for the RR Hampton Bays. Then take the right of way the RR ownes and make it an extension of Sunrise Hwy or a Rt 27 by pass like should have been done 55 years ago!! The argument then was if you build the road more people will come! Well they are here and we're not ready!"

wrote, "This is what a lot of us have said for years but do our idiot know-better -than-you politicians listen? You could easily replace LIRR service with bus service that you can add and take service from as the season changes. You can have express buses that when you get off the train take you to Montauk, Sag Harbor or where ever and you can also move the stops unlike the trains. To make the enviro-nuts happy use hybrid/natural gas buses. It is flexible, it meets a need, and it gets the idiotic MTA/LIRR out of hair. Make too much sense so forget about morons like Thiele to like it."

responded to Preliator, saying, "Yes, it might be easy to replace the LIRR with buses, but did you want the bigger tax bill that will come with it? I sure don't! On average in this country in 2010 according to the National Transit Database it costs 40 cents per passenger mile to move people on commuter rail systems, like the LIRR. The LIRR comes in at 48 cents per passenger mile. On average it costs 90 cents per passenger mile to move people by bus in this country; Suffolk County's SCT buses come in at 93 cents per passenger mile. Nassau Country comes in at 79 cents per passenger mile. NYC's MTA manages a whopping $1.25 per passenger mile."

added, "First, we have to decide WHY?? Second, this is a vacation/beach community which is apparently being forced to become a year-round western Suffolk community! Well, perhaps we are already here, since we invite in individuals from all over the world and also those that cross our borders! How good does this get for the taxpayers, the schools, the faith based groups and the business groups?? Yes, left out the "green jobs" group too!!! The train will bring more workers out East and where are the jobs???? Rest my case!"

wrote, "Another government boondoggle on the way. And what more perfect way to justify the MTA tax than to provide MTA service on the East End? I didn't realize that the METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY, considered the rural twin forks to be METROLPOLITAN!. So $37 million to purchase 5 trains for how many commuters? A few hundred? A thousand? It can't be much more than that. That's one expensive commute! How much is the additional yearly operating cost of such an investment? No worries, an MTA tax on all of us will take care of it. Oh yes it's all brought to us by the MTA. The organization that always needs more taxpayer dollars to plug its own deficits and career public servant Fred Thiele."

said, "This could be fun! Do you mean that I could catch a train in Southampton for a ride to East Hampton and leave my car at home? Avoid all that annoying traffic? If they tie it into attractive local bus service that gets you to the downtown shops and, maybe, the beaches, it's got to be a winner for everyone."

responded to Roger saying, "Sounds great!! However, they utilized the same message when they began the bus route and the Sunday route -- and I was told that this was for the elderly however, later admitted by our Leg. Rep. from Suffolk County --For the workers to come out to the East End!!! So who is watching the "hen house"!!! Private interests??"

replied, "These services are for everyone, Elaine. My 89 year-old mother uses them every day and loves the independence that they provide her. And I see the workers, who can't afford a car, use them, too. Public transportation will also provide an important inroad to reducing our carbon footprint, reduce traffic congestion on East End roads and increase convenience to those who would like an alternative to owning a second car, just to get to work. With State and possibly Federal funding, the cost is shared and less of a drain on East End taxpayers. That's what keeps life affordable on the East End or at least as affordable as it can be for us."

said, "Waste of money...traffic is the number 1 issue in the South Folk...I agree with Conklin that a better road is needed, NOT underutilized and overfunded commuter trains. Robert Moses wanted a real divided highway to Montauk... shortsightedness have left us with a mess. The trade parade is not going to use commuter trains."

wrote, "This will promote jobs and the availability fo many people to visit the area without the traffic and parking issues."

said, "37.2 Million? Likely less expensive on a per passenger basis to just provide individual helicopter service to those who will use it. At $500 per ride that's almost 75,000 helicopter rides."

said, "There Should Be a Voted Upon Referendum, Not Shoved Down Our Throats.If You Believe That The MTA is A Great Thing, You Are Naive.Typical Hollow Words From Politicians.There Will Be Cost Over-Runs.What New Jobs ?? - No Thanks !!!"

said, "Let me get this straight. We hate the ferry traffic, we hate the pumpkin pickers because of the traffic, we hate the wineries bcause of the traffic they create and now when there is a possible solution, we hate that also. Poor public transportation has been a curse for all of LI. I say give it a shot."

stated, "Now how about reinstituting rail service from the Speonk/Westhampton area to Riverhead...and maybe a rail bridge from Orient to Montauk?"

remembered, "Back in the day my mother and I used to take the train from Riverhead to Cutchogue to shop. I'm all for alternatives to road traffic."

said, "I'm with gj... Connect Hampton Bays or Westhampton and Riverhead with a rail link, then run shuttles from Riverhead to Orient and Montauk and vice versa. MTA could treat east of Riverhead as a different entity/cost center if it helped.And after looking closer at the map, why not connect Port Jefferson with Riverhead as well, and make the whole place work better? That would give a link connection from Montauk to New England via the Pt. Jefferson/Bridgeport Ferry. If we connected Pt. Jeff and Westhampton to Riverhead, we would have an effecient system that allowed for the free flow of people from all of Long island and beyond to both forks. If the new rail connections to Riverhead were above ground monorails that followed existing roadways, like the LIRR's "Train to the plane" if would facilitate the movement of people, but not commercial traffic. It could potentially facilitate an increase in East End tourism, improve travel and commuting for local's and decrease traffic and pollution."

wrote, "Seriously, people, do you have any vague idea just how much this service will cost on a per-ride basis? I mean, if this was not wholly taxpayer subsidized, each passenger riding the train, even given their best possible predicted ridership numbers, could not possibly be less than $20 per ride. Now, if you actually charged that amount per ride, nobody would ride. Therefore, you have to make it less expensive. How do you do that? By taxing the rest of us to provide this service, whether by MTA taxes, additional fuel taxes, or bonding it out to be repaid by higher property taxes.
This sounds like a good idea, but financially, pardon the pun, but it's a train wreck."

responded to Tom saying, "Seeing as how we drivers only manage to cover 51% of the costs of our highways via fuel taxes & other fees, it's no wonder that the LIRR can't charge enough to cover its costs. And those local streets in most states are paved with property taxes, not fuel taxes.The subsidy to us drivers is far greater than any subsidy to the LIRR. Heck, according to the data from the National Transit Database, in 2010 LIRR riders actually managed to cover 46.12% of their costs, just below what we drivers are managing on only the highways."

added, "What a bunch of whiners. It's a great idea. Will cut down on traffic and make it easier for those without cars (hello teenagers) to travel out of or into EH for fun or shopping. Also will help local businesses reach larger labor pool."

questioned, "What will be the costs associated with this new venture and for whom would this benefit? Please, we already know that this will be a further increase on our roads,since most people require a car to get around. In my opinion, there is so many new incentives coming down the road, I believe, we should stop for a moment and realize the impact/cost of this idea."

wrote, "Goodbye east end quality of life we have been discovered ... the east end will be a DESTINATION not a resident community in 10 years.. if you a local full time resident the last one left can turn off the lights. Ahblid, do you work for the transportation industry who pays for the infrastructure to rehab the stations the roads the cops to police the ner do wellers the courts to process them the road clean up crews to clean up after they dump the litter on the streets where we live this is a boondoggle to match the casinos going into Riverhead .. i can see it now the advertising will be come to the Southampton beaches dine in luxury visit the wineries and play and stay at the Riverhead casinos goodbye long island as you know it you ever been to Foxwoods yuck its coming here real soon."

said, "Hang a lux car monorail 75 ft. over montauk hwy. incl food / bar car - what a view. better yet a car/train for those qho dont have a sec. car to leave in the hamptons."

Richard Blumenthal February 13, 2012 at 01:41 PM
You're right Preliator, but highway improvement comes from different funds. This 37 million is more MTA deficit spending, financed with more debt! With interest, it's really much, much greater than 37 million. RR stations on the East End are actually being cut back because residents and visitors want to drive. This would be new empty trains replacing old empty trains.
Preliator February 13, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Oh I know Richard it is different but I was just saying that our existing infrastructure is crumbling away, our state roads are crap. They state dot has a horrible maintenance program out here; no preventive maintenance, easy 'throw and go' pothole repairs, crack sealing stops in Watermill and just an overall poor quality and conception of work done out here. True the state did do some spot repairs but only when it became the clear the roads were becoming dangerous due to decay and our elected officials (hey, wake up Fred) were harassed enough by the people to actually do something. These scoot trains will be a waste of money, be used for 5 years and the program deemed a failure, the MTA will sell the trains for pennies on the dollar and then want a special 'scoot train tax' to fill their coffers.
Ken Allan February 13, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Having shuttle trains will at least utilize the existing railroad plant that sits idle most of the day, and all day on weekends 7 months of the year. It can help folks who need to get to points "in-island: like the Winthrop Hospital complex. HOWEVER, it will not provide for a better link between points in New York City and the North Fork, we have that already, it's called the Hampton Jitney, and it does not chew up any additional tax money.
Rick Hoyt February 14, 2012 at 01:37 PM
It Seems Most Of The Comments Favor This, I For One Don't ,The MTA, Government is In Debt, Issuing Bonds, Etc.. The Spending Has To Stop - That You Trust Them ?? That's Why This Country is in 15T in Debt, It's More Than That ! - Thanks To Your Goverment Giving Corporate Bailout To The Banksters.Wake Up People !NYC People Come By Jet/Helicopter/Limosuine Or Drive In, They Don't Take The Train.
Richard Blumenthal February 14, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Well said, rick!

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