SwingMan wrote:If anything, they should just have those trains go to Jamaica and spin there instead of Valley Stream. They should also make St. Albans instead of Babylon trains.
Also, I believe Zone 4 should be eliminated all together. It is abused by many and hard to police since it is such a short fare zone with such a nominal distance to Zone 3/Zone 7. People abuse it to a point where they are going to lose it, yet these same people will be the first ones to criticize conductors for not getting every fare or the correct fare.
The thing with lines like the WH is that they are victims of LIRR planning. People generally don't use services that arrive >every fifteen mins except when the alternative (driving) is terrible (at rush hours), or too expensive. So, the LIRR then perceives little demand, which then allows them to maintain/reduce abysmal service levels. Compounding this is the extremely high fixed cost of LIRR operation. Conductors, nuances in crew pay agreements, etc make the fixed cost of running a train extraordinarily high, rendering service expansion/experimentation even less attractive; trains only can get anywhere near break even on a direct cost basis during the peak of the peak.
There's also the issues that the WH legitimately doesn't take its riders where they want to go. I did a quick analysis of the half-mile radius from the line using the Census' LEHD On The Map tool, and found that while 44% of residents work *somewhere* in NYC, eight of the top ten work destination zip codes are in Nassau County (Mineola, Garden City, Lynbrook, Hempstead, Manhasset, Valley Stream, Rockville Centre, and West Hempstead itself in that order, with Downtown and Downtown Brooklyn coming next, though I must add that data for Dtwn Bk is unreliable b/c of poor reporting by the NYCDOE).
The salient point there is that with high-frequency LIRR or LRT conversion and/or extension to Mineola, a transportation service that actually takes riders where they want to go when they want to go there could be provided (and let's not forget that frequency = utility for things other than commutation). Just some food for thought...