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Staten Island Railway Gets 'F' Grade From Riders

By Nicholas Rizzi | July 11, 2013 10:10am
 The Staten Island railroad received an F grade in a recent report.
The Staten Island railroad received an F grade in a recent report.
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STATEN ISLAND — Riders flunked the Staten Island Railway service in a report released by State Sen. Daine Savino's office on Tuesday.

Overall, riders polled this year for the survey gave the train an “F” grade, with their main complaints being graffiti, litter, urine and cleanliness of the train, the report said.

“We listened to the commuters on the Staten Island Railway because they are the ones who used the system every day and know it the best,” Savino said.

The train was graded on several categories, including frequency of service and transfers, cleanliness of the stations and trains, and transfers.

The train flunked the majority of the categories. It got two "D" grades for frequency of train service and the connection to the Staten Island Ferry.

Rider Stephanie Cardona, 22, said she's been using the trains for so long she's used to their problems and dirtiness.

“If you’re on the outside looking in, it’s terrible,” she said while waiting for the train to work at the Great Kills station. “I’ve gotten over it a long time ago.”

This year, Savino's office polled 1,241 of the estimated 15,000 commuters who ride the train daily.

In her report, Savino gave the MTA suggestions to improve the train ride, including better lighting and security cameras for stations, new cars to stop frequent brake and signal problems, a new station for Rosebank and more.

“It is my hope that, just like with our ferry report and our express bus report, that the MTA takes into consideration what the commuters are asking for, which is better security, lights, camera and to feel safer and have a cleaner environment on their way to and from home, work and school,” Savino said.

For Cardona, the biggest problem she has is feeling unsafe when she takes the train at night.

She said there’s not many people around at night, and she would like a police officer to be stationed on the train to improve safety.

“[It’s] really sketchy and there’s only one conductor on the train,” she said.

Other complaints riders gave in the report were the connections with buses nearby and the frequency of service past rush hour.

For  Cesar Andrade, 28, who rides to Great Kills to get home from his job in a restaurant, when he gets off of work at 10 or 11 p.m. he could be stuck waiting for an hour to get on a train.

“It’s a problem later than 10 o’clock,” he said.

The report also mentioned that there are only three Metrocard machines in the borough — at the Eltingville Transit Station, the Tompkinsville stop and the St. George stop.

Residents have to buy their Metrocards at delis nearby, and there’s no places for them to check a cards balance or refill a card.

Cardona said it gets particularly annoying when she just needs to add $1 to her card or leaves the house without her Metrocard.

“That can be really irritating,” she said. “You forget your Metrocard and you’re screwed for the day.”

Savino’s office previously ran surveys for the riders of the Staten Island Ferry in 2009 and 2011, and the Express bus in 2010, which both got higher grades than the SIRT.

The MTA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.