Commentary on transportation in Connecticut and the Northeast by JIM CAMERON, for 19 years a member of the CT Rail Commuter Council. Jim is also the founder of a new advocacy effort: www.CommuterActionGroup.org Disclaimer: his comments are only his own. All contents of this blog are (c) Cameron Communications Inc
December 11, 2013
Derailment Kills Four... But Who's To Blame?
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I have commuted to NYC on Metro-North since 1995. They are a rail industry descendant and inherited the New Haven corridor. Because I have seen and experienced poor service and customer/commuter abuse I expect it will continue. Fares go up in spite of the helpless commuter. hey are like any other gov't agency run service. They take in & spend lots of $$. They are wasteful and inefficient. Surveys are timid and canned. They don't want the uncomfortable truth from passengers. I say if you haven't learned and fine tuned the service, after a century of running rail in the Northeast, get out and let someone else step up. Weather is a poor excuse. Leaves are a poor excuse. Pressing timetables over passenger well being is unforegiveable. For what we pay, that any passenger should have to ride the old cars, tolerate bar cars on a.m. commutes, and sit in repulsive toilet cars, is a disgrace. Until the commuter has another rail option fares should be frozen and Metro-North should be forced to clean house and get their shit together. p.s. it is rumored that MTA Madison Ave. regards the New Haven line as a cash cow that will pay fare hikes with little objection despite poor service.
Our governor ran on a platform that was honest.... he told us he would raise taxes to solve problems. And the people voted him in ! We could've sent any monkey to Hartford to get that creative. The upcoming 5% fare increase is one, I'm sure, our Governor and Madison Ave. have no second thoughts about.
NOTE: The following comment was e-mailed to me by MNRR:
Your most recent column contains a couple of errors that need to be corrected:
“Why was Metro-North President Howard Permut noticeably absent at the crash scene and subsequent NTSB press conferences for five days after the deadly crash? Isn’t he responsible for this railroad?”
Howard was at the scene both Sunday and Monday. Were you there? Or did you fail to see him on TV? Chairman Prendergast was there along with Governor Cuomo and the ranking people are always the spokesmen. As for Howard’s attendance at NTSB news conferences, the NTSB runs its own show and does not invite participation by the properties they are investigating.
“Why didn’t Mr. Permut and MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast attend the wakes and funerals of those who died on their railroad?”
Condolences were expressed privately. Neither man desired to intrude on family services and make the wakes and funerals more of a media side show than they already were.
These misstatements amount to personal attacks and I’d like to see you correct them.
Thank you in advance,
Media Liaison, Metro-North Railroad & Long Island Rail Road
I ride Metro North (MNR) and was dumbstruck at the lack of any acknowledgement that four people were killed by a “zoned out” MNR employee. It was business as usual Monday morning and every day after, until on December 19th when a legal sized “An Important Message to our Customers” appeared on the seats for the PM commute. 18-days later, it finally cleared Legal, and informed us MNR was shaken to the core by the accident. Really? I hadn’t noticed. You work in the press office. Was that the strategy? Pretend it never happened. I must say it was working really well until the recent hearings, so bravo.
Anyway, after the first 3-sentances, the rest of the Important Message went on to tell us how awesome Metro North is. Now that is some good Press Officing by you guys. A simpleton like me would have had the Conductors out there making a statement on the PA of all trains. Telling the riders how terrible the employees feel about the disaster, explaining to them whether there were any tricky sections on the upcoming ride and fielding rider questions. But that’s a little hard. It takes effort. The Union might not agree. Therefore, it was back to the flyers.
Thanks for the flyer and have a nice day.
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