The CT Metro-North Rail Commuter Council has issued its Annual Report for 2012. The report summarizes the many accomplishments of the Council in 2012, and lists the following issues which the Council will continue to address in 2013:
As CDOT moved forward with plans to demolish the older portion of the parking garage adjacent to the Stamford train station (727 spaces), the Council pushed for reconstruction and expansion of parking at the current, convenient location. CDOT refused, and sought proposals from private developers for a replacement garage up to 1/4 mile from the station. The developers’ proposals remained secret, so the Council pushed for public hearings, persuading Governor Malloy to appoint a task force of private citizens (including a member of the Commuter Council) to work with CDOT as it reviews the proposals. A final decision is due in February.
East Side Access
The Council toured the massive $7+ billion East Side Access construction site under Grand Central Terminal where some Long Island RR trains will arrive starting in 2019. The Council continues to express its concerns to Metro-North about the impact of tens of thousands of new daily riders on the already crowded terminal and adjacent Lexington Avenue subway line. The Council also urges MTA to make accommodation for Metro-North trains to service Penn Station as an offset.
Most stations in southwest Connecticut have waiting lists for annual parking permits of 5 to 8 years. More must be done to expand parking and access to the trains.
The Council handles dozens of complaints from riders who see other riders’ tickets go uncollected on the trains.
When service is canceled due to bad weather, commuters should be given refunds on tickets they purchased but could not use.
Crowding on Trains
Despite having more cars in its fleet, increased ridership has again led to serious crowding problems on many trains. More cars should be added to trains to assure that every passenger gets a seat.
With an expanded fleet of rail cars, The Council encourages Metro-North to add more trains more often, especially on the under-served Danbury and Waterbury branch lines.