NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The new president of the Long Island Rail Road began his first day on the job Monday.
Phillip Eng started his day by boarding a train in Smithtown and talked with CBS2’s Janelle Burrell about some of the problems he’s been seeing over the last year.
“With the performance that we’ve been having, cleanliness and the reliability,” Eng said. “I’m looking forward to tackling those challenges and making the ride better for our commuters.”
Eng says job number one in his new position is better communication with customers who are eager to see improvement.
“We will change that. That’s an area that we will focus on along as other areas,” Eng said. “Just maintaining our system in a proactive way versus a reactive way.”
CBS2 asked some commuters what they’d like to see from the new president.
“Mr. Eng, I’d like you to fix this railroad so we can be to work on time and not late,” said Laurelton commuter Melvin Parker. “It’s always late.”
“A smell of urine on the train, that was a little disturbing getting up in the morning, so cleanliness — keep the trains clean,” said commuter Michael Ivry.
“Mr. Eng, please fix the signals so that they work properly, the schedules so that they’re on time and just the maintenance in general,” said Rockville Centre commuter Sharon Spencer. “Don’t charge us more when you haven’t fixed the problem.”
Eng was born and raised on Long Island and is a career engineer who rose through the ranks working for New York State. He led Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Kosciuszko Bridge project.
Most recently, Eng served as the Chief Operating Officer of the MTA and until January, concurrently held the post of the acting president of New York City Transit.
He’s credited with helping modernize the agency by implementing a new fare payment system and mobile ticketing apps. He was also integral in the in the delivery of the $29.5 billion Capital Program.
As for stopping the MTA’s planned fare hike next year, Eng said that’s up to the MTA board.
“What I need to do is, with what I have available to me, is make sure we’re doing it properly and using taxpayer dollars in the best manner we can,” Eng said. “I want to make sure that Long Island is the number one place in the world.”