During Thursday’s Long Island Rail Road committee meeting, President Patrick Nowakowski announced a new “Performance Improvement Plan,” or “PIP,” to combat a recent decline in service.
The plan comes as the railroad is experiencing a deterioration in service, hitting a low of only 83.9% of trains arriving within five minutes of schedule in January.
The PIP strives to improve across three categories: service reliability, seasonal preparedness, and customer communications. Actions such as hardening power poles against storms, purchasing additional snow-fighting equipment, and better organizing its response crews are among those being taken.
“This plan lays out the steps toward doing everything we can to prevent incidents that can impact service and when incidents do occur, to recover service faster by improving our response times to the issues impacting us and our customers,” said L.I.R.R. President Patrick Nowakowski.
The railroad outlines several ways to better hear concerns from riders, including market research, focus groups, and “LIRR Listens” public engagement meetings in stations with executives. A new “Chief Customer Advocate” position is also being created to focus on improving the rider experience and communications.
Many board members expressed support for the plan, but a few noted deficiencies in its rollout.
“Perception is a reality. And unfortunately our reality is really bad right now,” said board member Scott Rechler, who is also the CEO of RXR Realty.
“You have to lay out a plan that the public understands,” he added.