WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES JULY 16, 2020 13
Moving the LIRR ‘Forward’ during COVID-19 pandemic
BY PHIL ENG
As we welcome more and more
customers back onto the
Long Island Rail Road, it’s
clearer than ever that the progress
we’ve made over the past two years
through “LIRR Forward” can’t stop
We continue to follow the philosophy
of the LIRR Forward blueprint
to provide robust reliability and
exemplary customer service, while
at the same time finding ways to cut
costs and innovate instead of following
decades-old industry standards
that have long fallen short of our
needs and those of our customers.
We’ve executed project and
maintenance delivery in ways
many people haven’t witnessed in
decades. How did we get this done?
Smart decisions and the hard work,
dedication, and pride of our 7,600-
strong workforce. Even as the novel
coronavirus slammed New York and
affected our own ranks, we’ve been
working creatively to embrace new
ways to get work done efficiently.
Over the past several months,
we banded together once again, as
heroes moving heroes, with management
teams across Maintenance of
Equipment, Transportation, and Engineering
departments that focused
on controlling costs while delivering
robust, safe, and reliable Essential
Service for frontline workers.
A partnership with the Transportation
Communications Union (TCU)
leadership helped create new roles
using existing staff. At the height of
the pandemic, a newly formed ‘GO
Team’ was deployed to employee
facilities whenever a worker was
suspected of having been exposed to
the virus to disinfect that workspace.
As the number of cases dwindled
on LI, this team was repurposed to
disinfect smaller, remote employee
facilities like trailers and signal huts
(previously cleaned by contractors),
When the virus forced us to close
ticket windows, we reassigned ticket
agents as Station Ambassadors at
nearly 30 stations, engaging with
customers and assisting station
maintainers in disinfecting key
touchpoints to supplement aggressive
cleaning protocols. They also
provide masks to customers who left
home without face coverings and
monitor hand sanitizer dispensers,
among other duties.
We didn’t take our job in this
lightly. And now we need the federal
government to step up so we
can continue to do our part to help
bring back New York’s economy, and
in turn, the nation’s economy.
Each one of us did our part to take
Long Island from one of the country’s
hot spots to Phase 4 reopening. New
York: Help keep the curve flattened
by doing the right thing. Wear a face
covering. You never know whose life
it’s going to save.
Let’s keep this progress up.
Phil Eng is president of the Long
Island Rail Road.
THE WHITESTONE BRIDGE AT SUNSET
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY ELIZABETH AKONG
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