METRO-NORTH RAILROAD COMMUTER COUNCIL
MINUTES OF JULY 21, 2016
A meeting of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council (MNRCC) was convened at 4:30 p.m. on July 21, 2016, in the 10th floor Conference Room, Metro North Offices-Graybar Building, 420 Lexington Avenue, New York City.
The following members were present:
The following members were present via Phone:
The following members were absent:
In addition, the following persons were present:
William Henderson -PCAC Executive Director
Ellyn Shannon -PCAC Associate Director
Max Schwartz -Metro North
Richard Schulman -Concerned citizen
Approval of Agenda and Minutes
The agenda for the July 21, 2016 meeting was approved. The minutes of the January 21, 2016 meeting were approved.
The Council discussed filling the unexpired terms of Neal Zuckerman as MNRCC Vice Chair and non-voting representative to the MTA Board. William Henderson noted that Orrin Getz had expressed interest in serving as Vice Chair and that Randy Glucksman had expressed interest in serving as the MNRCC MTA Board representative. Mr. Henderson asked whether there are any other nominations for these positions. A motion was made and seconded to close nominations for these positions. Mr. Glucksman was approved as the MNRCC recommendation to the Governor for its MTA Board and Mr. Getz was elected MNRCC Vice Chair with the votes of all present or submitting proxies.
Mr. Glucksman opened the discussion on the Council’s position in the fare hearings that are expected this fall. He said that his position with regard to the West of Hudson region is that the Council should oppose fare increases unless there are increases in service for these riders. He said that the service available to West of Hudson riders has declined since the last fare increase.
William Henderson said that he would like to get more comments on East of Hudson fares and that members could send them to him by email.
Ellyn Shannon discussed the work that staff is doing on public participation. She said that the MTA had explored different means of dialogue with the public and even commissioned a study of ways to improve public participation that resulted in a well-regarded event. This direction was not pursued after the MTA’s leadership changed, however.
Mr. Henderson said that one thing that is clear is that hearings are not very effective. Bradley Brashears noted that other transit agencies use webinars to reach their riders and that Twitter has a platform allowing users to host town halls. Ms. Shannon stated that MTA was happy with the L line public meetings and that this may lead to a similar style of meeting being used for other public outreach.
Mr. Glucksman noted that one rack of timetables in Grand Central Terminal Station Master’s office has been restored and that he hopes both of the racks will be restored.
Mr. Brashears reviewed the status of Metro-North’s work on grade crossings. He said that Metro North is working with CTC, a consulting firm, and currently waiting to hear its findings, as well as wanting to hear the NTSB recommendations resulting from the Valhalla crash. Richard Schulman stated that in the past, there were as many grade crossing accidents as there are today, and so this is not a new issue.
Francena Amparo asked whether the council was in contact with the riders who stopped at the Meet the Council event. Mr. Henderson said that staff had responded to several riders who left their contact information and that all comments received were compiled and presented to Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti in letter form. He said that there has been no response to this letter to date.
Ms. Shannon made some comments about available capacity and the implementation of the Freedom Ticket proposal on Metro-North. She noted that many parts of the Bronx served by Metro-North also have subway service, which may be more attractive due to its lower cost.
Mr. Brashears explained the concept of Freedom Ticket to the Council members and outlined what it would do for Bronx commuters. Wilhelm Ronda asked whether it would make sense for regular commuters to purchase weekly or monthly Freedom Tickets. Mr. Brashears said that it would make sense economically for regular commuters to purchase a monthly or weekly ticket.
Richard Schulman said that a free transfer would be integral to the success of Freedom Ticket. Ms. Shannon agreed and said that one of the reasons for the City to participate financially in the program is to cover some of the revenue loss that might result from including a transfer to NYC Transit services in the cost of a Freedom Ticket.
The members discussed the implementation schedule for Freedom Ticket. Mr. Henderson said that the proposed schedule is based on phasing the product in over the next three fare cycles, but delays to the East Side Access project completion could lead to changes in full system implementation date for Freedom Ticket.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 p.m.