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Meeting Minutes Apr 18, 2013



A meeting of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council (MNRCC) was convened at 4:30 pm on April 18, 2013 in the 5th floor Board room, MTA Headquarters, 347 Madison Avenue, New York City.

The following members were present:

James F. Blair                       Randy Glucksman

Rhonda Herman

The following members were absent:

Richard Cataggio                 Frances T. Corcoran

Neal Zuckerman

In addition, the following persons were present:

William Henderson              -PCAC Executive Director

Ellyn Shannon                       -PCAC Sr. Transportation Planner

Approval of Agenda and Minutes

The agenda for the April 18, 2013 meeting was approved.  Also approved were the Minutes of the February 21, 2013 meeting.

Chair’s Report

The Chair’s report had previously been distributed to the members, and Randy Glucksman briefly summarized several points of interest.  He said that he had not yet heard the issues that some riders have with the new East of Hudson schedules that took effect April 7.

Rhonda Herman commented that she was aware of instances where the new schedule had raised issues for riders.  She said that one example of this is the 4:20 pm Harlem Line train from Grand Central with its first stop after 125th Street in Chappaqua, which can easily be confused with the 4:23 pm Harlem Line train that makes its first stop after 125th Street in White Plains.  She said that she had personally boarded the wrong train and had to travel to Chappaqua and return to White Plains.  Ms. Herman said that when her train departed 125th Street, the announcement of its next stop was not made until after the car doors had closed and that it is important that this information is conveyed to riders when they can correct the situation by exiting the train and boarding another train.  She said that in her case the additional ride was a relatively minor inconvenience, but in some cases being on the wrong train could create a major problem.

Board Report

Jim Blair gave the Board Report.  A summary of performance had previously been distributed to members and Mr. Blair noted that in general the performance that was reflected in the summary is a continuation of the trends that have been in place since Sandy.  He highlighted the 100 percent on time performance day that Metro-North had achieved on April11.

Mr. Blair noted that the April Board meeting would include the formal selection of a contractor to construct the North White Plains parking facility.  The Board had previously authorized the selection of a contractor through a Request for Proposals process, and at the upcoming meeting it is expected to formally authorize Metro-North to enter into agreement with the preferred proposer.

Mr. Glucksman noted the reduced levels of ridership on the Pascack Valley Line.  He said that despite the restoration of service, the number of passengers still has not come back to its prior level.

Ellyn Shannon said that NYC Transit staff will present the progress that they have made on an asset management program at the MTA Board Finance Committee meeting this month.  While this is an NYC Transit presentation, the model that is being developed there is likely to be rolled out to the MTA and its agencies over time.  She said that Michael Salvato is managing the asset management effort at NYC Transit.  Ms. Shannon noted that data visualization fits well into an asset management framework and that the move toward data visualization would also be advanced by State open data requirements that will take effect May 1.  She said that the MTA recently met with the State to talk about these requirements.

Jim Blair said that he had contacted potential new members William Farrell and Gary Prophet.  He said that Mr. Farrell is moving ahead with the paperwork for appointment and that he would try to find out where Mr. Prophet stands.  Bill Henderson said that he will contact Francena Amparo, a Dutchess County Legislator who has been recommended for a seat on the Council.

Mr. Blair also mentioned that LIRR President Helena Williams was interviewed as a segment of a program on WLIW-TV.  He said that both she and the interviewer were very well prepared and that she discussed the pension scandal that involved some LIRR retirees.  The Council briefly discussed the elements at the LIRR that had created the conditions for fraudulent applications for Railroad Retirement disability pensions.

Rhonda Herman said that she wondered if the move toward telecommuting may be a factor in the ridership declines that Metro-North is experiencing.  She said that at her workplace telecommuting has been institutionalized with three levels of participation corresponding to infrequent telecommuting, telecommuting a few days a month, and frequent telecommuting amounting to more than 80 hours a month.  The system has many rules and safeguards, including provisions that participants cannot discontinue child care arrangements.

Mr. Henderson said that the Council needed to appoint a representative for the reduced fare subcommittee that will recommend changes in the current system to the full PCAC and that the committee would meet with attendees both in person and by conference call.  Ms. Herman said that she would represent the Council.

Randy Glucksman and Neal Zuckerman were nominated for reelection as MNRCC Chair and Vice Chair, respectively.  Mr. Henderson said that he would contact Mr. Zuckerman to confirm his willingness to continue as Vice Chair.

Mr. Glucksman noted that he is a member of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers, by virtue of his use of the West of Hudson lines operated by NJ Transit.  He said that his organization to support the extension of the 7 subway line to New Jersey and wanted to get a sense of the Council’s support for the project.  He said that he would send material on the extension to the members.  Mr. Blair concurred that this project would be a plus for West of Hudson passengers.  Ms. Shannon noted that studies done for the current 7 line extension had raised issues of crowding if additional passengers were added.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:40 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

William Henderson

Executive Director