NEW YORK — Just a day after schedule changes that left riders concerned about social distancing went into effect, the LIRR is reversing course.
President Phil Eng announced Tuesday that the LIRR’s previous timetable will be restored on March 29.
“We heard our customers’ concerns about our new schedule loud and clear,” Eng said in a statement. “In the meantime, we will continue to strategically add additional trains and lengthen trains to meet evolving ridership levels. We continue to monitor seating availability with unprecedented clarity thanks to new technology.”
Long Island Rail Road added additional service Tuesday after new schedule changes prompted overcrowding and social distancing concerns.
“Not acceptable! What a disgrace! Terrible move,” one rider tweeted. “I’m 6 months pregnant essential worker and @lirr is putting my life at risk!”
Politicians also railed against the decision.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran pushed back against the schedule change.
“As our economy continues to reopen, we need more – not less LIRR service,” she tweeted. “COVID-19 is still a risk, and the MTA must ensure adequate service to accommodate social distancing. I’ll continue to push MTA to return old service so we can get our residents back to work safely.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his Tuesday press conference to denounce the schedule changes.
“We had a situation with the Long Island Rail Road with a reduced service due to reduced ridership,” Cuomo said. “That did not work, certainly didn’t work well. So I’m calling on the Long Island Rail Road to reverse what they’ve done, increase service.”
Beginning Tuesday, commuters on the Babylon and Ronkonkoma branches can expect more trains during the morning and evening rush.
Three more westbound Main Line trains have been added to the Ronkonkoma Branch in addition to eastbound trains added in the evening.
Babylon Branch customers can also see additional trains during morning and evening hours.
Riders have been advised to use the LIRR’s TrainTime app to track real-time customer loading information and find the least crowded cars on any train.
The new schedule changes on the LIRR kicked off Monday and resembled a weekend plan. However, it caused congestion, leaving many commuters feeling frustrated and furious.
Check the LIRR website for current transit changes.