Commuters Say They've Heard It All Before, But Railroad Says This Time It's Real

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Long Island Rail Road is promising to do better by its commuters following last month’s lightning strike that knocked out service and stranded thousands of riders for several hours.

In response to Sen. Charles Schumer’s call for a commuter bill of rights, the railroad has drafted an eight-point pledge to its riders with initiatives to keep passengers safe, informed and moving during major disruptions.

Check out the draft “Pledge To Customers” here.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports: Commuters Say It’s A Good Start

“I think what it does is really put down in writing a lot of procedures that we already do,” LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone told 1010 WINS. “It clarifies and for the first time puts down in writing what customers can expect. I think that’s a significant step forward.”

The LIRR said its new plans include providing water and alternate transportation options to stranded passengers.

On Monday, officials said it was human error that shut down the entire system last month. Officials said an employee made a programming error in the railroad’s computer system. CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne reports the worker was trying to make a repair after a lightning strike at Jamaica Station. The system responded properly by shutting down entirely.

“For both our regular core customers and our occasional travelers it’s good to have a pledge that’s readily available so when they get on our system they see, ‘Oh, ok, this is what my rights are, this is what I can expect when I ride the Long Island Rail Road,’” Calderone said.

LIRR President Helena Williams thanked Schumer and watchdog group Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council for both urging them to put all this in writing and sitting down with them to work on the draft.

“This is a living, breathing document so we’re always looking for additional input,” Calderone said. “If the senator or our customers have additional items [then] that’s the kind of thing we would take under advisement as we move forward.”

The LIRR Commuter Council said the announcement is a positive “first step,” reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“We’re not focused on what it’s labeled. What we’re concerned with is the substance of the changes that are done,” Council Chair Mark Epstein said.

The group said the next step is to get the LIRR to get the pledges adopted, made public and posted.

“To improve conditions for the riders, that’s the bottom line,” added William Henderson of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Committee.

Despite all of this, commuter remained skeptical Monday.

“If you’re going to draft a pledge that’s one thing, but are you actually going to carry through with it?” Scott Krol said.

“Yeah, if we don’t see it happen 99 percent of the time — and they say they promise now to do this –why would I put anymore faith into this?” added Nixon Au.

It’s one thing to make a pledge, but another thing to fulfill that pledge. The LIRR agreed, telling McLogan, “That’s where the rubber meets the road, and we intend to keep our pledge.”

Is their word enough? Let us know below…

  1. L.I. Fail Road says:

    How about a penalty for those customers who jump off stopped trains and further screw up/delay the process to resume service?

Leave a Reply