LIRR App Lets Riders See If Train Is Crowded

LIRR App Capacity Tracker
Photo credit Steve Burns/WCBS 880
By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Long Island Rail Road riders now have a new tool to help them social distance on board trains.

The LIRR currently is seeing about 14% of normal weekday ridership, but when that changes, LIRR President Phil Eng said the railroad will be ready with an update to the TrainTime app.

Riders will be able to use the app to see in real-time how crowded an approaching train is, down to each individual car.

Cars on the app will show up either green, yellow, orange or red — indicating how many people are on board. The technology uses censors both in a car's suspension and over the doors to detect weight changes.

"You can see where you are standing on that platform, on any platform in our system, you can see where that train is coming in and you can see which car is expected to be in front of you when that train platforms," said Eng."You can see if you're standing in front of a green car, meaning there's ample space, or you can see if you're standing in front of an orange car which perhaps is more crowded."

The information will also be displayed on station platforms.

This is something the LIRR was working on even before the pandemic hit. 

Eng calls it a "game changer" for railroad customers.

"It's going to be invaluable to our ridership. It's going to be invaluable to operations," he said.

The LIRR says it's the first railroad in North America to offer the feature to customers.

The technology is not yet compatible with Metro-North and the subway.

Other features added to the app 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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