LIRR President: We Miss Our Customers, Too

LIRR Train Driver
A lone passenger boards a Long Island Rail Road train in Long Beach (Joe Abate).

“We miss you @LIRR #commute #NYtough” tweeted @LBMTY.  

I couldn’t have said that better, and it’s mutual. My colleagues and I at the Long Island Rail Road miss the 95 percent of our riders who have been unable to ride with us the last few weeks.

While I am so proud of what the LIRR managers and workforce continue to do, I can’t overstate how we are all praying for our colleagues that are currently battling the virus themselves, and with a heavy heart remember our MTA brothers and sisters that have succumbed to this deadly disease.  The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis that’s been brought right to our front doors, our train stations, and other places that have always been routine stops in what was our normal days. New York City and Long Island are the epicenters of this pandemic.

Yet every day our brave workforce is battling to honor their colleagues and move essential workers to save lives. They are “heroes moving heroes” — doctors, nurses, pharmacists, first responders, grocery store workers, utility and childcare employees, and transportation workers to name a few who literally went from family providers to heroes in a week last month.  They have performed so admirably against an invisible enemy.   

“Thanks! I work in a hospital pharmacy & have to take LIRR to NYC everyday and weekend!” tweeted @Daniella.         

Frontline conductors, engineers, ambassadors, station cleaners and behind-the-scene maintenance and cleaning crews, safety team, communications team, HR and managers; all working tirelessly, seven days a week. These are the most important rides we have provided in our history. The selfless efforts of the entire dedicated LIRR workforce and colleagues across MTA will be forever part of history. The tremendous uncertainty and pain that we feel, like others across the world, have been met with strength and compassion demonstrated by our actions.  

Christina tweeted, “Never thought I’d say this, but I actually miss the @LIRR trains.”  

Yes, Christina, there is light at the end of the (Penn Station) tunnel. We miss you too. The men and women of the LIRR are here for you.

The curve is flattening. Stay the course. We are all New York Tough!

Phillip Eng is president of the Long Island Rail Road.

This editorial first appeared in amNewYork.

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