LIRR President: Be a hero by wearing your mask in public

Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng.
Photo courtesy of the MTA


Doctors. Nurses. Transportation workers. Grocery and pharmacy staff. And you.

What do we all have in common? Yes, some of us are heroes and others of us mere mortals, but we all can do our part in overcoming this crisis.

We know that there’s no proven playbook for this. But we also know there are things that work: Washing your hands. Using hand sanitizer. Staying home unless you absolutely need to travel. Feeling sick? Stay home. 

Now we need everyone to go one step further: When you’re on public transportation, you must wear a face covering.

That’s an order from the Governor. It’s important. It can be a mask, a bandana, a scarf. Whatever kind of cloth it is, it must cover your mouth and nose and it must stay there for the entire duration of your trip. If you’re at a station or on a platform, wear it there, too. 

As we all prepare for what’s to come next, we must embrace this necessary part of public health and safety. And it’s up to all of us to play our part. 

For the LIRR, that means keeping up with increased disinfecting of our stations – right now we’re getting to each of our 124 stations twice per day. Train cars are also getting increased attention: round-the-clock efforts are getting to our entire fleet of more than 1,000 train cars each day.

We do this to meet our goal of giving riders as much comfort as possible when they need to use our system to get to their jobs. This is a dynamic situation, and we’ve all been forced to be dynamic along with it. 

But we can’t be reckless, and we can’t let the virus get ahead again. It’s more important than ever that we show and share compassion for one another. While we all may be affected by this virus in different ways, we must remember the importance of community and watch out for each other. 

Long Island, NYC, and the entire region will undoubtedly be changed – but we’re doing everything we can to ensure that our customers and employees feel safe when it’s time to reopen. While we come up with a blueprint for future service, we ask that you continue to do your part by wearing a mask and practicing good hygiene. The future of our region depends on how we act. Let’s do so responsibly and with care.

During times of great stress and uncertainty, we all need to practice more patience with ourselves and with each other. But as we see the curve continue to flatten, this gives me confidence that New York will rebound – stronger and more resilient than ever before. 

Phillip Eng is president of the Long Island Rail Road.

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