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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is urging MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) officials to consider "rider satisfaction" and incorporate community input into the design of the railroad's new M-9 commuter-rail cars, which are scheduled to enter service in 2017.Schumer asked LIRR officials to hold public meetings, create an "online suggestion box" or conduct a passenger survey to raise public awareness of the design of the cars, which will be built by Kawasaki, the senator said in a press release."For the amount of money that Long Island commuters pay to use the railroad, and the amount of time they spend onboard the railroad each week, they should expect a safe and on-time ride, but also a comfortable and convenient one," said Schumer.LIRR passengers can pay as much as $363 for a monthly train ride from stations such as Ronkonkoma, which is significantly higher than monthly passes for other transit systems, he said. Past reports have highlighted issues with "commuter comfort" along the LIRR, Schumer added.The new M-9 car purchase is part of the Metropolitan Transposrtation Authority's (MTA) capital plan, which is largely funded with federal grant dollars. New York receives $1.3 billion in federal capital assistance annually for transit related projects, the vast majority of which goes to the MTA, said Schumer.
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