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MTA names Free president of Long Island Rail Road

Free (center) began his career with the LIRR as a station cleaner 31 years ago.
Photo – Metropolitan Transportation Authority


Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber yesterday appointed Rob Free as the 42nd president of the Long Island Rail Road.

Free has served as LIRR's acting president for the past six months. He began his career with the railroad as a station cleaner 31 years ago, then rose through the ranks to become chief transportation officer and senior vice president of operations before becoming president.

Free was instrumental in the rollout of LIRR service to Grand Central Madison, helping to oversee a 41% increase in service that accompanied the terminal’s opening, the largest service increase in LIRR's history, MTA officials said in a press release.

As president, Free will oversee LIRR's 24/7 service, 700 miles of tracks and 126 stations, which includes three of the top five busiest commuter railroad stations in North America. Free says a top goal is to boost ridership and continue to adjust schedules to improve on-time performance.

"It's been an amazing journey so far and I am excited to continue to build on our successes and make the riding experience even better for Long Islanders," said Free. "Ridership continues to climb, with weekdays routinely carrying 230,000-plus riders, as is on-time performance which has been above 95% for three straight months."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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