The Long Island Rail Road is saying “all aboard!” to customers.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down New York, public transportation lost most of its riders.
According to the LIRR, in spring 2020, only 3% of its customers were still riding the rails.
“Whether it’s for work, whether it’s for play, whether for it’s visiting family, it will be here. And it’s an important component to transportation on Long Island,” LIRR President Phil Eng said.
As traffic picks up, railroad officials are encouraging people to get back on trains.
“The roads are getting crowded, and we are telling you, that we are not going to stop keeping these trains safe and clean,” union leader Anthony Simon said.
But some people continued to be nervous about public transportation. Robert Edwards was on a midday LIRR train Wednesday. He said it’s fine — when the train isn’t crowded.
“I always try to find a spot that I am not near people,” he said.
In early March, LIRR service cuts resulted in crowded trains. That’s been reversed, and riders said being socially distant on the train is easier.
Eng said that if ridership increases enough, more trains can be added. Currently, the LIRR has 28% of its pre-pandemic ridership.
He recommended riders use the LIRR Train Time app. It shows how crowded the trains are in real time, allowing people to choose a less crowded train or car.