LIRR service returns to 90% of pre-pandemic levels
As New York City began Phase 1 of its reopening Monday, the Long Island Rail Road greatly increased service to accommodate for a spike in ridership.
The LIRR will be operating at 90% normal weekday service, 680 trains each day. Fares will remain off-peak.
If you are heading back to take the Long Island Rail Road to get you to your destination, remember a face covering. Face coverings are mandatory on trains and platforms when you can't social distance.
Stations across Long Island have been disinfected 7,400 times since May 1, and cleaning efforts will continue. The Long Island Rail Road plans to disinfect stations twice a day and trains once a day.
More coverage from the LIRR
Sanitizing stations have been set up at stations and more signage and directional arrows have been added to control traffic flow.
"They're going to see roaming ambassadors that we have across Long Island at some of our busiest stations helping customers to social distance, ticket purchasing and the current schedule that we have," explained Phillip Eng, president of the Long Island Rail Road.
If a train gets overcrowded, operators are on standby to bring extra trains out to comply with social distancing guidelines.
"We are ready to run additional trains if we need. We have protect trains right here in Ronkonkoma yard ready to go if we see perhaps one train a little crowded," says Eng.
Ticket stations on Long Island will remain closed, but in New York City, they reopened Monday. Ambassadors in orange vests are stationed at busy LIRR branches to help riders with tickets.
Cash payments will no longer be permitted on trains to minimize employee/rider contact. Using E-Tix, a train ticket that you keep on your phone, is encouraged.
Nathaniel Jerome, of Huntington, says he had no problems finding a seat. At Hicksville, LIRR's busiest station, ridership was nowhere near where it was pre-pandemic. Platforms, train cars and the parking lot were nearly empty.
"The ride was fine. No problems. Empty, clean, everything was good," says Richard Hartwig, of Bethpage.