In the News: Long Islanders can’t handle the subway

I had to give this its own post because it is so laughable. Crain’s reports that a town on Long Island has sued state and federal transit officials to block the MTA’s congestion pricing program, arguing that its residents are too scared to ride the subway.

From Crain’s: “The lawsuit argues that Hempstead residents and town employees ‘do not have a reasonable mass transit alternative,’ despite having a Long Island Rail Road station in the heart of town. Hempstead officials take particular issue with the MTA’s push for commuters to use the city’s subway for trips within Manhattan below 60th Street, pointing to safety concerns underground.” (There are actually three LIRR stations in Hempstead: Hempstead, West Hempstead, and Hempstead Gardens.)

As proof, the lawsuit offers that Governor Hochul had to send in the National Guard, which she did in March to help the NYPD with bag checks and weapon searches.

The Hempstead town supervisor, the story says, claimed that congestion pricing will “come at the expense of hardworking Nassau residents who are just trying to get to work” and that it has no benefit for LI residents, but the MTA countered that the $1 billion that congestion pricing is set to generate can also go to the LIRR.

“LIRR President Rob Free chastised Hempstead officials for the lawsuit as well as for past opposition to commuter rail upgrades, such as the third track expansion project that ultimately increased service reliability on the LIRR. ‘I would say this is an investment in Long Island’s future,’ Free said in a statement to Crain’s.”



  1. Maybe we need a risk comparison of driving vs. subway. Considering the ongoing everyday pandemic known as “driving”, I’ll take my chances with the subway.

    Driving pandemic stats:

    Over 40,000 deaths in 2022, for example.
    “In 2010, there were an estimated 5,419,000 crashes, 30,296 deadly, killing 32,999, and injuring 2,239,000.[4] About 2,000 children under 16 die every year in traffic collisions.[5] There were 3,613,732 motor vehicle fatalities reported in the United States from 1899 to 2013.”

    So driving is “safe”?

    • Yeah, but traffic during rush hour on LIE, SS, Belt Parkway, etc is hardly driving, more like moving at a snail’s pace.

    • The map shown is the village of Hempstead—the Town of Hempstead is much larger and includes several more LIRR stations.

  2. What the MTA Omits about future Capital Construction projects, even if Congestion Pricing starts June 30th, there is no way the MTA will be able to advertise, award and issue a Notice to Proceed tor contractors representing $15 billion worth of projects within the following six months. There are also billions in other ongoing capital projects whose work will be carried over into the next $51 billion or more 2025 – 2029 Five Year Capital Plan. There may not be enough resources to integrate the implementation of $15 billion or more carryover Congestion Price funded projects from the $51 billion 2020 – 2024 Five Year Capital Plan, billions more in ongoing non-Congestion Price funded projects with those in the first and second year of the upcoming $51 billion plus 2025 – 2029 Five Year Capital Plan. The MTA lacks sufficient Procurement, Project Managers, Engineers, Legal, and Force Account employees, along with Track Outage Availability to proceed with all these projects in the same time frame. Billions of capital improvement projects will be delayed. Costs will increase due to inflation and other factors as time goes by. The upcoming $51 billion plus 2025 – 2029 Five Year Capital Plan is due to be released and adopted within seven months. This should include a master integrated resource loaded schedule for how the billions in carryover capital projects will proceed with billions more in the new five year capital program.

    • I agree. MTA has no idea where the money goes. It’s a bottomless pit. They will not have enough funds no matter how much the congestion pricing will bring in. They will be in the red and will raise the subway, LIRR fares.
      They can’t even stop the turnstile jumping or entering through the emergency exits. This would generate a few billions. Buses became free for anyone who does not want to pay – the drivers will not and cannot stop it.
      The cops at the stations are not interested in what they are doing. They all stand in pairs at the center of the platform, looking at their phones and peek into 2 middle cars – the safest cars on the train. Waste of taxpayers money.
      I would also like to know if MTA employees will get reimbursed while driving into congestion zone.

  3. Well seems like all the rich celebrity folks going to the Met Gala would not take the bus or subway – they came in massive SUVs.

    Why no call out for them?
    Why do they get a pass?

    How is it that we demonize any non-rich driver (teacher, fire fighter whatever) – yet OK for Zendaya , JLO, Chris Hemsworth to be using huge SUVs everywhere?

    The Met is not in the CP zone but still it is an issue of vehicle use.

  4. it may seem laughable to us but perception is reality. since the pandemic, i have heard a number of people from outside the city say that they stopped taking the trains into town. if they can’t drive, they aren’t interested in coming here anymore. the congestion tax is another nail in the coffin for our small businesses.

    • Well perception is not reality. And there’s no evidence that congestion pricing will kill small business. Better transit will increase it. I mean who the f drives into Manhattan to go to a small business.

      The Q increased small business foot traffic up second avenue.

  5. Violent crimes per 1,000 residents:

    Hempstead – 5.19
    Queens – 4.73
    New York State Average – 4.29

  6. The subway system is the way to go. The news outlets over play everything. I ride 5 days a week all different hours and haven’t dad a problem.

  7. Town of Hempstead residents afraid to ride the NYC Subways? Gee Wiz. I have heard of NIMBY’ism on Long Island but scared to ride the NYC Subway? Wow!

  8. Unreal. So stay on Long Island. Plus isn’t that why the LIRR was invented?
    Subway crime dropped year over year and is still low per capita.

    We should sue Long Island for too many cars.

  9. The point that @Steve above says all you need to know. Growing up on Long Island, Hempstead was always notoriously / unfortunately a town with a crime problem. I chalk this Sbeay system fear factor up to the ptsd of being a Hempstead resident.

  10. Town of Hempstead encompasses 20+ villages and the crime rate is considerably higher than both NYC and the national average. A known fact without even having to google statistics. Silly.

  11. LOL there are people riding Citibike because they are afraid of the subway.