A report from the Citizens Budget Commission, or CBC, that compares Metro-North Railroad to the Long Island Rail Road has shown that Metro-North is significantly more efficient than the LIRR.
One reason why Metro-North is more efficient than the LIRR is simply because it has more room to work with.
The LIRR has to share Penn Station with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. Plus ten of its eleven lines have to pass through Jamaica Station, which leads to a domino effect of congestion and delays.
One of the authors of the CBC report, Jamison Dague, says Metro-North doesn’t have to deal with these issues.
“Metro-North does not have a similar chokepoint like Jamaica, and also they have full access of over 40 tracks at Grand Central, which allows them quite a bit of flexibility if they need to move things around.”
The report also shows that the LIRR’s operating expenses were up to thirteen percent higher than Metro-North’s. This is mostly because of differences in workplace rules between the two railroads. For example, Metro-North has a split-shift system, which means they can pay workers less when productivity is low.
Dague says the best way for the LIRR to improve cost efficiency is to rework union contracts.
“Ultimately the biggest changes in the way to improve productivity and efficiency has to occur as part of the collective bargaining process.”
The Long Island Rail Road is the busiest railroad in the country, and Metro-North comes in third behind New Jersey Transit.