World

Smoother commute for most LIRR passengers

TransportationLong Island Rail RoadTravelTicketsRailway TransportationTouro Law SchoolNew York City Police Department

In Day Two of the citywide transit strike, stranded straphangers and the Long Island Rail Road alike learned from the mistakes of Day One.

Wednesday, the railroad added staff, changed tactics for crowd control and a smoother commute resulted. Passengers, on the other hand, bought tickets in advance, and anticipated the queuing required to reach railroad platforms.

The wait in Jamaica Wednesday morning was a half hour to board LIRR trains, a stark contrast from Tuesday's commute, on the first day of the transit strike, when riders stood for nearly three hours in the cold.

LIRR commuters also found a much more orderly situation at Penn Station Wednesday night as they tried to get home .

Police and Long Island Rail Road officials set up two entrances through which the crowd flowed and let people into the station in intervals. Thousands of frustrated passengers had converged at Penn Station on Tuesday, forming a chaotic mob outside.

"It's better than Day One," said Kathryn McDonald, 27, an office manager from Lindenhurst who sailed through Penn Station at the start of the evening rush. "It was 40 minutes to get to this point [the LIRR entrance] yesterday. It's a little bit smoother."

But not all was rosy. Riders trying to board trains in Forest Hills Wednesday morning faced waits of up to two hours long. The LIRR served nearly 55,000 additional riders Wednesday morning on top of its usual 100,000 commuters, a jump of 2 percent from the first day of the strike, said LIRR spokesman Brian Dolan.

Wednesday, LIRR officials added staff to handle the crowds at Jamaica and also split passengers into two lines -- those who held tickets and those who had to buy them. Dolan said that many passengers bought tickets in advance.

"Today is much more organized," said Kamille Bersaud, 41, of Richmond Hill, who was at the Jamaica station Wednesday. "People are getting on their way."

It was also the first day of full implementation of the LIRR's contingency plan, which provided shuttle service in Queens between Jamaica and Penn stations during the rush hours.

Still, the journey tried commuters' patience.

Mary Boamah, 20, of Far Rockaway, was traveling to Touro Law School in Huntington. She said it took two hours on a private bus and a Dollar van just to reach the Jamaica station.

"This is too much before finals," she said. "I just want to get on the train."

Railroad officials said more New York City Police Department officers, MTA police, managers and staff were assigned to the street around Penn Station during the evening commute where access is being limited to the station during the strike.

"If we don't control access, we could have an unpleasant situation in the waiting area. Everybody would be converging down there," Dolan said. "We understand the discomfort of waiting in the cold."

But some commuters said the railroad should have been more organized for the ride home.

"I thought they would have come up with a better plan," said Osmin Imtaz, 34, a receptionist from Coram who commutes to 55th Street.

Staff writers Christine Armario and Jerome Burdi contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
TransportationLong Island Rail RoadTravelTicketsRailway TransportationTouro Law SchoolNew York City Police Department
Comments
Loading