Metro-North (MNR) has once again refused my request to give our West of Hudson riders a ten-percent fare reduction. This is absolutely insulting to our commuters. After many phone calls, letters and meetings by myself and other local elected officials over the summer, NJ TRANSIT (NJT) announced a ten-percent discount on NJT rail fares for travel in November, December and January in acknowledgement of disrupted service due to ongoing PTC (Positive Train Control) installation.
Unfortunately, this reduction applies ONLY to NJT rail service but does not apply to MNR service. Despite the continued cancellation of trains and inconsistent levels of service. Metro-North contracts with NJ TRANSIT to provide it’s West of Hudson service, and riders on the Pascack Valley and Port Jervis lines have suffered through months of cancelations and delays as NJT attempts to complete its PTC installation.
In the spirit of goodwill, NJT offered this fare discount to its riders and frankly it is ridiculous that Metro-North will not do the same for their West of Hudson riders. The attempt to “sell us” the notion that their making improvements to the stations is a sad joke as those “improvements” are nothing more than repairs and due maintenance. Using the savings from our canceled express trains to fund the work should not have been necessary.
I will continue to push for Metro-North to give its riders a break as a minor compensation for the abhorrent service they have suffered, the same as commuters in New Jersey. Our commuters deserve at least this refund as some substantive recognition of the time, cost and energy they have been dealing with during this pseudo time crisis called Positive Train Control. Their ignoring of that mandate for years only got their attention after four were killed in the 2013 Bronx derailment that could have been avoided if Metro North had acted in a timely manner.
On December 13th at 5:30 pm the MTA has scheduled a public hearing about a proposed four-percent increase in fares and tolls. I will be there, in the Adler Community Room on the fourth floor of the Palisades Center Mall, to demand that our commuters be exempt from any increase. I ask that you join me and make your voices heard. It is long past time for the MTA and Metro-North to wake up to the needs of Rocklands commuters.
Exempting us from future fare increases in the very least they can do to make up for years of terrible service.