LIRR proposes "Pledge to Customers"

October 24, 2011 9:01:28 AM PDT
Under sharp criticism from riders and lawmakers, Long Island Rail Road has introduced a draft "Pledge to Customers."

MTA Long Island Rail Road President Helena E. Williams presented the proposal at the MTA Railroad Committee Meeting today.

The LIRR worked closely with Senator Charles Schumer and the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council to develop the written 'Bill of Rights' or 'Pledge' for customers following the service disruption on September 29.

A lightning strike at Jamaica knocked out the LIRR's signal and switching control system and delayed customers for several hours during the evening rush hour.

"Our customers deserve to know their rights when they ride the LIRR, including what they can expect from us during a delay," said LIRR President Helena E. Williams.

The 'Pledge' will be reviewed, revised, as needed, and distributed to customers in the form of posters at stations and on trains and an on-seat flyer in the coming weeks.

The draft LIRR 'Pledge to Customers' follows:

LIRR is dedicated to delivering safe and reliable transportation. Our highest priority is to ensure customer safety and this pledge is always subject to that paramount concern:

1. A Safe, Reliable Ride - Our top priority is to provide transportation that gets customers to their destination safely, comfortably and on time.

2. Accurate and Timely Information - We will provide accurate, timely and meaningful information on service conditions, including via email alerts,, news, station, platform and onboard announcements to keep customers informed and allow them to plan their trips wherever they are.

3. Courteous Employees - LIRR crews and other employees will be helpful and courteous at all times and will provide accurate and timely information to customers. Our goal is to provide excellent service.

4. A Clean Environment - We will maintain a clean environment for our customers and the communities we serve, including at stations, restrooms and along our right-of-way.

When service is disrupted, customers can expect us to respond quickly and customer safety will remain our No. 1 concern:

5. Alternative Transportation - We will make every effort to stop trains at stations and open the doors to allow customers to seek alternate transportation and will provide customers with information concerning alternate routes and means of transportation. If scheduled LIRR service is not available, we will make every effort to provide customers with emergency bus service when possible.

6. Comfort - If a significant incident occurs that prevents us from bringing a train to a station, we will move immediately to assist affected customers. Emergency personnel will be dispatched to offer medical assistance and efforts will be made to provide water. If efforts to move the train are unsuccessful, customers will be evacuated safely. We will also coordinate with emergency personnel and other transportation agencies to ensure safe conditions during service disruptions. To facilitate these efforts, it is essential that customers listen for crew announcements and never leave a stranded train unless under the supervision of the train crew or rescue personnel.

7. Weather Emergency Notification - If it becomes necessary to temporarily suspend service when extreme weather is forecast or when snow accumulations are expected between 10-13 inches, we will use all our communication means so customers can "know before you go."

8. Severe Service Disruption Procedures - Customers will be given updated information regarding service restoration, including estimates of the time until service resumes. Onboard personnel will walk through trains regularly and provide accurate and timely information to customers. Comfort trains will be provided for customers stranded at Penn Station.