New Tech Shows LIRR Riders How Crowded Trains Are Before Leaving Home

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By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New technology will let Long Island Rail Road riders know ahead of time how packed every train will be.

Customers using the LIRR's TrainTime app will now see icons gauging the capacity of each train. The icons range from 1 to 4, with 4 being the most crowded and 1 being the least crowded.

"You can sit at home and look up trains for tomorrow and we will tell you exactly how crowded we expect each train to be based on that train's ridership over the last seven days," said Will Fisher, the railroad's innovation officer.

The railroad said the function works by utilizing sophisticated sensors which can determine how many passengers are on board a train at any given moment. 

The railroad system says its app’s update has been in development since before the pandemic. Infrared technology and a weighing system have been installed on some of the LIRR's newest trains that help make the app’s reporting on crowds more accurate.

According to the MTA, the LIRR is the first transit agency globally to deploy the crowding data feature.

 "In the days and months following the start of this global pandemic, MTA Chairman Pat Foye openly discussed the possibility of instituting a reservation style ticketing system on the railroads. What we've developed is even better," said LIRR President Phil Eng. "In effect, the historical loading feature updates daily and provides our customers with perfect data. Our riders can rest assured that this information is reliable and never subject to human error. Our customers will be able to understand the exact ridership trends of their particular trip so that they can make the most ideal decision possible about when to ride with us. MTA LIRR TrainTime is first in class and our customers deserve nothing less."

Other features added to the app in June include real-time train location, push notifications for track assignments at Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica stations, sharing trips with others, and bookmarking favorite trips.

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