Stuck on a crowded morning commuter train amidst an ongoing pandemic, Long Island Railroad rider and Facebook user Dan Valenza summed up the frustration of thousands of commuters in this Facebook post.
The Long Island railroad just fucked everybody on the train this morning. They cut service and the trains are standing room only. BUT I have to wear a mask or I’ll get a 50 dollar fine. Totally bullshit.Posted by Dan Valenza on Monday, March 8, 2021
Excuse Valenza’s French. Many morning — and now evening — Long Island commuters are livid that the embattled railroad’s new limited service schedule resulted in standing room only trains and proved to be what many have declared an unmitigated disaster.
Many commuters were forced to stand inches apart, rather than the socially distanced norm of six feet.
Chris Sloan, 41, of Sayville told Gothamist that “Everyone was pissed off, but kind of together in the struggle with the quiet knowledge that LIRR screwed us all.” The seats were filled and aisles were crowded with standing commuters on the construction worker’s 5 a.m., 90-minute train ride from Ronkonkoma to New York, he said.
It didn’t take long for LIRR President Phil Eng to wave the proverbial white flag.
In a statement, Eng acknowledged that “During this morning’s rush, there were sporadic and isolated incidents of crowding on a few trains in the morning rush and we are prepared to add service during the p.m. rush as well as tomorrow morning to immediately address this issue.
“As always, we will continue to monitor ridership and make adjustments as necessary whether that is lengthening trains or adding additional service,” the statement continued.
Regardless of how many trains are added in time for Tuesday’s commute, it’s too late for many riders, considering the ongoing risk of catching COVID-19 with so many people grouped together in small, enclosed spaces.
The commuting chaos spurred Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who herself is at home on COVID-19 quarantine, to call for action.
Many Long Islanders worry that today’s events on the railroad will prove to be a super spreader event.