NORWALK, Conn. – State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) has issued an open letter to MTA Metro-North Railroad Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast and President Howard Permut regarding the handling of Wednesday’s service disruption. The interruption in service is reportedly expected to last as long as three weeks.
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Dear Mssrs. Prendergast and Permut:
Connecticut has once again been impacted by a major service disruption on the New Haven Line impacting over 100,000 rail commuters, employers and travelers on the region’s highways. While yesterday’s substation incident was beyond the control of Metro-North, management of the incident and the response falls squarely in Metro-North’s line of responsibility.
In what appears to be a continual problem for Metro-North, the timeliness, accuracy and usefulness of the communication to customers was inadequate throughout the day yesterday. Although the first notification was sent immediately after the incident, it failed to inform customers or employers of the basic problem, significance of the problem, and possible delays anticipated in order for them to properly plan their commute or alternatives. In addition, there were inadequate or no announcements at stations or platforms to assist customers waiting for their trains.
The lack of accurate and timely information creates an issue of credibility and can further undermine the public’s confidence in the rail system and our ability to provide good customer service. The implications are further enhanced, since impacts are felt beyond Connecticut and through the entire Northeast Corridor.
Thanks to the efforts of Governor Malloy and the Connecticut Department of Transportation, there was an effort to reach out to our residents and to help direct commuters. Sadly, though, it is the MTA who is the main source of information, which was not forthcoming in a timely way.
Metro-North has continually made a pledge to provide accurate, timely and meaningful information on service conditions, including alerts via email and text, MTA website information, customer service phone lines, station displays, news, and public address announcements on stations and onboard trains to keep customers informed and allow them to plan for their trip wherever they are. This was not the case yesterday, which lead to a lot of confusion, misinformation and delay.
I respectfully request a response and an action plan for ensuring that you live up to your promise.