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LIRR: Commuters Can't Live With It-- Or Without It

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- LIRR riders are breathing a big sigh of relief now that a strike has been averted.  But as CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, commuters say when it comes to the LIRR, they can't live with it-- or without it.

For many LIRR commuters, the stress of the unknown is nothing new.

"We're dealing with trains that are late and being cancelled," commuter and Seaford resident Steven Kirincic told Gussof.

LIJ health psychologist Dr. Jessy Warner-Cohen says commuters often display signs of stress which can lead to heart ailments, dementia and even affect longevity.  She says the anxiety of a looming strike these last few days sent stress levels over the top and even veteran riders should try to release it.

"Stress can damage your mental and physical health in the long run," she told Gussof.

Dr. Warner-Cohen recommends going out and spending time outdoors to combat the stress.

The average commuter's reality includes rising fares, crowded and at times, dirty trains. The plight of the LIRR commuter is an ongoing saga fraught with service interruptions and delays through stormy weather.

Riders told CBS 2's Gusoff new trains are an improvement, but it's still a daily endurance test.

Commuters call it a love-hate relationship, but after bracing for life without the railroad, riders say the busiest commuter rail line in the nation is still the best bet to get to and from the city.

"I like it because it's convenient. If I have to get somewhere, I can get there really quick," LIRR commuter Latisha Alston told CBS 2.

"I really think we are very lucky to have the transportation we have," another commuter told Gusoff.

The railroad labor unions have until August 15 to ratify the deal settlement.

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