How to Survive the Long Island Rail Road Strike

Long Island Rail Road workers could go on strike this weekend if the MTA and union don't agree on a new contract. Here's what you need to know about the strike and how to survive it: 

  • The deadline for the strike is July 19 at midnight.
  • Sunday ridership is smaller than it is on weekdays, so the first major test of a strike for the LIRR's 330,000 daily commuters would be Monday, July 21.
  • The MTA says its latest offer includes 17 percent raises over seven years, with retroactive pay going back to 2010. It is seeking concessions including new employee contributions of 4 percent toward health care. The union has already agreed to pay 2.5 percent to health care costs.
  • The union, which has been working for three years without a contract, wants a larger raise with no health care contributions.

In the event of a strike, the MTA has released the following contingency plans:


  • The MTA suggests riders, if possible, use subway lines other than the E and F lines, which are heavily utilized.
  • To/from lower Manhattan: take the J and Z lines
  • To/from midtown: take the M and R lines
  • The MTA advises riders to purchase and/or reload Metrocards in advance to avoid long lines ($5 and $25 cards are sold at all LIRR ticket offices) and consider leaving earlier or later to avoid peak rush hour crowds.


  • The MTA said it would provide 8,400 parking spots in Nassau and Suffolk counties where friends and colleagues could meet to carpool including Farmingdale State College, Belmont State Park, Sunken Meadow State Park and Heckscher State Park in Suffolk, and Valley Stream State Park, Hempstead Lake State Park and Bethpage State Park in Nassau County. 
  • The high-occupancy vehicle lane on the Long Island Expressway would require three people instead of two.
  • Two park and ride locations have been established at designated subway stations in Queens. Commuters can park at Citi Field to transfer to the No. 7 subway line and at the Aqueduct Race Track to transfer to the A line. There will be no parking fees at these lots.
  • Click here for a comprehensive list of parking options and rates near other subway stations.
  • Roadway and toll plaza lane capacity at all major crossings will be optimized to meet any additional traffic demands, and peak travel direction will be favored wherever possible


  • A free ferry would operate from Glen Cove to East 34th Street, making three westbound runs in the morning and three eastbound in the evening. Monthly LIRR tickets should be displayed upon boarding.
  • The travel time is about 40 minutes each way.
  • Ferry capacity is limited to 500 of seats, and seating is first come, first served.
  • There is limited parking at the Glen Cove dock; the MTA recommends customers carpool or arrange to be dropped off/picked up.


  • The MTA has said it would deploy 350 buses to shuttle customers from eight Long Island locations to three major subway stations in Queens. The buses would be able to accommodate 15,000 customers -- double the capacity of the 1994 strike, but would only operate during rush hour in the peak direction of travel. (Scroll down to see map) 
  • Only a fraction of regular weekday, rush hour customers can be accommodated and riders will have to present a valid LIRR ticket to board a shuttle bus. They will not be required to pay a fare at a connecting subway station in the morning, but they will have to pay a return trip fare.
  • For details on bus service to the eight Long Island locations from which the shuttle buses will originate, click here.
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