NY: One-Stop State Strike Site Urged for LIRR Riders

The Long Island Rail Road's commuter watchdog group Monday called on state officials to work with all levels of government to create a clearinghouse for rider information in the event of an LIRR stoppage, including through a "strike app."

The LIRR Commuter Council recommended the creation of a special website and/or mobile application to give riders answers to their questions heading toward a potential July 20 walkout.

"Riders impacted by an LIRR strike need a one-stop site to explore their options," council chairman Mark Epstein said. "An LIRR service suspension would have a terrible impact on all Long Islanders. The state should bring together information needed for all travelers to make the best of a potentially bad situation."

Among the issues the council wants addressed are the updated status of LIRR operations and strike contingency plans, with specifics details on alternate busing; real-time traffic information, including special regulations during a strike and detailed carpooling plans; information on parking, including regulations at LIRR stations, carpool facilities, and park and ride sites; and resources for other transportation alternatives, including NICE Bus, Suffolk County Transit, private commuter buses, taxi companies, and subways.

In addition to a website and app, the council said the state and Metropolitan Transportation Authority should keep riders notified of all critical strike information through regular communications to local news media, text and email alerts, and the state's 511 information system.

"LIRR riders will be facing a major disruption, not unlike a severe storm," Epstein said. "They have every right to expect that state and local government will take action to provide them with access to vital information and resources to ease the crisis."

The MTA has said it is still revising its strike contingency plan, and will notify riders of its details when it becomes necessary to do so.

In a statement, MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said the agency has "either done or will do" everything recommended by the council.

Copyright 2014 - Newsday