Editor’s note: The MTA Long Island Rail Road is beginning a monthly column featured in amNewYork Metro focused on LIRR issues and improvements, written by Phillip Eng, the railroad’s president.
BY PHILLIP ENG
Hello, New York! I’d like to kick off this new monthly column by saying “thank you” to amNewYork Metro for this opportunity to connect directly with all of you.
Since joining the Long Island Rail Road, my focus has been on improving the customer experience while delivering a safe, reliable and comfortable trip. I’ve found the best way to do this is to truly listen to our riders. As a native Long Islander, working to improve public transportation for my neighbors is my life’s greatest honor. I want you to know that I take your feedback to heart every single day, and I take our responsibility to make rail travel an attractive choice for commuters very seriously.
I know our LIRR workforce does too. Our workers are embedded in the communities we serve, and we all take pride in knowing that our work impacts hundreds of thousands of people daily. As public servants, it’s our duty to deliver excellence.
Over the last two years we’ve refocused efforts on how to rebuild public trust by delivering results. I’m proud to report LIRR’s on-time performance hit a three-year high in 2019 at 92.4%, while we performed an unprecedented amount of work across the system, all while carrying 91.1 million riders in 2019 – a modern-day record. This trifecta brings momentum we will continue to build on in 2020.
Through LIRR Forward, our workers – with a renewed sense of urgency – are repairing and replacing infrastructure components like rail, switches, signals, and track circuits, removing overgrown vegetation, installing life-saving traffic delineators at all our grade crossings and supporting our partners like PSEG LI in accelerating utility pole replacements along our tracks. These efforts have helped move critical metrics in the right direction, translating to improvements for our customers.
At the same time, we’ve been working on capital projects like station enhancements and bridge replacements alongside the game-changing LIRR Expansion Project. With East Side Access opening day on the horizon in 2022, LIRR’s future terminal at Grand Central Terminal will ensure that we’re better able to support a growing Long Island in the years to come.
There’s still much to do, but as we start the new year I remain hopeful and excited. The $5.7 billion committed in the 2020-24 Capital Plan enables us to complete more critical repair work while also building for the future.
We’re the busiest rail road in North America; you can trust we’re committed to being the best.