MTA Launches LIRR Train Capacity Google Maps Feature, Freezes Fares For 2021

google maps
Google Maps

Long Island Rail Road now has real-time seating availability information available on Google Maps, LIRR president Phil Eng announced on Wednesday.

The LIRR is one of the first two transportation agencies in the world to offer train capacity updates on the widely-used navigation app, with a South Wales transport entity being the other in Google’s pilot program, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said in a news release.

“The LIRR is not only looking at best practices across the industry, but developing our own,” Eng said. “Through our work with Google, more customers will be able to know as much information about their ride as possible. We want to make it as easy as possible for riders to make safe decisions as they return to the railroad. I want to thank the LIRR staff for their hard work on this industry-leading technology that will now be used across multiple apps.” 

LIRR customers can now use both the LIRR Train Time app and Google Maps to see which train cars have available seating. The real-time seat tracking function was developed by LIRR employees and uses either infrared sensors or weight measuring to update the system, depending on the type of railcar.

The MTA also announced on Wednesday that it would not increase fares for riders in 2021 thanks to an expected incoming federal aid package. The transit authority still, however, faces a potential $605 million deficit in four years.

“The $10.5 billion in expected federal dollars gives us a bridge towards the future, which now allows us to see how ridership further recovers and avoids some of the drastic cost-saving measures we outlined in February’s plan,” said Robert Foran, MTA’s chief financial officer. “With farebox revenue trending towards the midpoint scenario and toll revenue trending towards the best-case scenario, the major challenge ahead will be addressing the structural deficits remaining in 2025.”

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