Rob Free was named acting president of the Long Island Rail Road Thursday, succeeding Catherine Rinaldi, a Huntington native, who served as interim president for the last year and a half.
Rinaldi will continue as Metro-North Railroad president and will also serve as senior adviser, MTA Railroads.
Free grew up in Port Jefferson and started working at the LIRR 31 years ago as a station cleaner.
“Rob Free has seen and done it all during his long career at the LIRR. A Long Island native, he’s widely respected by his colleagues and a natural choice for acting president,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Over the years, he’s led efforts on system safety and customer experience while helping to open critical projects like Grand Central Madison, Main Line Third Track and the first new LIRR station in 50 years at Elmont-UBS Arena.”
Free has said he would prioritize three things.
- Safety for customers and employees
- Improving the Customer Experience
“We have to ensure the safety of our employees and customers while providing a reliable system with consistently improving on time performance and a strong service plan,” Free said. “I am always looking at ways to improve the customer experience, from planning your trip, by improving the TrainTime app, and making sure train service is meeting our customer’s needs. From the moment you arrive to the moment you depart our facilities I want it to be the best experience possible.”
Free is a married father of four children and has lived for 25 years in Port Jefferson Station. He commutes from his home by train daily.