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Transportation

A Regional Rail Plan Aims to Reinvent New York’s Commuter Trains

London, Paris and Berlin all have integrated regional rail systems that serve the entire metro area. One transit advocacy group asks: Why not New York City?

Commuters walk toward a Long Island Rail Road train at New York City’s Penn Station.

Commuters walk toward a Long Island Rail Road train at New York City’s Penn Station.

Photographer: Amir Hamja/Bloomberg

The New York City metro area stretches over three states with multiple commuter rail systems, which means some travelers must cope with a tangle of operators, fare prices and schedules as they try to reach their final destinations. It’s also a network designed primarily to shuttle suburban office workers into Manhattan rather than allowing riders to travel easily to multiple job centers across the region — a characteristic that can be seen in the plummeting ridership on commuter lines as pandemic-era remote and hybrid work schedules persist. 

One public-transit advocacy group is looking to end the hassle of relying on multiple systems by consolidating them into one.