LIRRCC calls for real-time updates


After a summer filled with major service disruptions, the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council has called on Long Island Rail Road to send a feed from the agency’s rail control directly to the trains’ public address system, which would allow “customers to get real-time updates on service problems directly from those working on resolving them” says Alfonso Castillo in an August 11 story in Newsday titled “LIRR watchdog: Give riders direct updates from control center.”

Castillo describes the problem saying, “currently, during service problems LIRR customers typically rely on alerts sent out by the railroad’s public information office and occasional updates by train crews with limited knowledge about a situation.”

LIRRCC Chair Mark Epstein is quoted: “Riders are not receiving the accurate and timely information that they need and it is time for the LIRR to implement direct communications between their control center and riders on individual trains,” Commuter Council Chairman Mark Epstein said in a statement. “This system would reinforce the efforts of individual train crews, which may be engaged in other duties during service disruptions or may have not receive the most current information.”…“I can’t tell you how often they ask a conductor, who tells them, ‘You know more than I do,’” Epstein said. “If they’re told directly from the command center, ‘This is what’s going on. This is what you should anticipate,’ it would just calm people down a bit.”

According to the article,  “Anthony Simon, general chairman of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union, which represents LIRR conductors, said the union ‘understands the frustrations of our customers about timely communication’ and ‘will continue towards improving that communication.’ ”

Read the full story by Alfonso A. Castillo at

Photo from credit: Howard Schnapp