Monday Commute Still Expected To Be Difficult
(Updated 11:13 a.m.) By 8:30 a.m. Monday morning Metro-North’s New Haven Line, which is working on temporary power, had transported 13,400 individuals to their destination, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
At a 10 a.m. news conference, Malloy said on a typical day the line transports about 17,900 individuals mostly to Grand Central Station in New York City. The Harlem line just across the border in New York saw an increase of about 2,500 commuters and 1,000 individuals used the bus service provided as another temporary solution to the problem.
“We’re getting back to some level of normalcy,” Malloy said from his podium in the Emergency Operations Center.
However, the problem won’t be permanently fixed until next week. Malloy said the feeder cable that went down and caused the problems will be replaced on Oct. 7 and full service is expected to be restored by Oct. 8.
One of the electrical feeder cables went out last week when Con Ed was repairing the other one causing an eight mile stretch of track between Stamford and New York to go dark on Sept. 25.
Malloy said they’re hoping to bring in one more temporary power source to get another train operating on the line before the end of the day. He said that would alleviate some of the overcrowding and the standing that’s occurring on the trains that are running.
He said they’re up to 50 percent capacity in the number of trains and their over 50 percent capacity in numbers of passengers.
“At least 1,000 people were standing, it is estimated, for the ride,” Malloy said.
Malloy was on a conference call with MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast and Metro-North President Howard Permut Monday morning.
He said he told them they need to develop protocols that will not lead to any additional single feeds on a temporary or permanent basis. In the meantime, Malloy said he instructed the Department of Transportation to inspect the feeds along the tracks in Connecticut.
The feeder cable that went was in Mount Vernon, New York.
Malloy also reiterated his desire to make sure weekly and monthly riders are compensated for the extended service disruptions. He said Mr. Prendergast was going to call a board meeting to decide how to address the issue before its regularly scheduled meeting in November.
“I want an answer and I want an answer quickly and I believe that Mr. Prendergast understands that that’s necessary,” Malloy said.
Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, has said the incident reinforces the need for a policy change regarding rail commuters. She proposed unsuccessful legislation during this year’s session which would have required that rail ticket validity be extended following service disruptions of more than 48 hours. In a statement, she said she would reintroduce the bill next year if necessary.
“These tickets cost hundreds of dollars. Commuters put up with enough. They deserve reassurance that they won’t lose their money if rail service is disrupted for any length of time. However it’s done, they need a policy to protect them now,” she said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty have called for Congressional hearings to identify problems in rail infrastructure where immediate investment may be necessary. In a Friday statement, Blumenthal called the equipment failure “inexcusable.”
Tags: MTA, Metro-North, outage, dh
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