A slew of changes aimed at improving service reliability, seasonal preparedness and customer communications are on the horizon for the LIRR, the MTA announced Monday.
Nearly 60 actions were outlined in the MTA’s Long Island Rail Road Performance Improvement Plan, aka PIP, across those three facets, and the agency said a progress report will be shared on a monthly basis with both the public and the MTA Board.
“This plan lays out the steps toward doing everything we can to prevent incidents that can impact service and when incidents do occur, to recover service faster by improving our response times to the issues impacting us and our customers,” LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said. “Just as important, whether we have a disruption or are providing normal service, we know that improved communication with customers is vital. That extends to this plan itself. We are developing a host of methods to gauge customer feedback on our performance, from upcoming public engagement sessions and focus groups, to working with the LIRR Commuter Council and soliciting customer comments.”
What does the LIRR Performance Improvement Plan entail?
The LIRR PIP is tasked with improving service reliability, seasonal preparedness and customer communications. Here’s what that means to passengers.
To the first facet, reliability, the LIRR aims to improve the dependability of its fleet, maintain and upgrade infrastructure like signals, switches and tracks and add five new engineering staffers to “allow more effective planning and execution of proactive infrastructure maintenance and repair,” the agency said.
Under the LIRR PIP, the railroad will revamp its seasonal preparedness efforts, which in winter will include acquiring more snow fighters and third rail heaters, upping vegetation management in spring and summer and improving train handling training to reduce slip-slide incidents during the autumn leaf season.
In an effort to better communicate with customers, the LIRR will: create a Chief Customer Advocate position, which will report directly to Nowakowski; change training procedures to include professional announcer training; hold “LIRR Listens” sessions between senior leadership and the public; display countdown clocks at suburban stations; enable wireless connectivity at Penn Station, Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal and make rider ambassadors and ushers more visible at those three stations as well.