METRO-NORTH RAILROAD COMMUTER COUNCIL
MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 12, 2015
A meeting of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council (MNRCC) was convened at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2015 in the 10th floor conference room at the Metro-North Offices – Graybar Building at 420 Lexington Avenue, New York City.
The following members were present:
The following members were on the phone:
The following members were absent:
In addition, the following persons were present:
William Henderson -PCAC Executive Director
Approval of Agenda and Minutes
The agenda for the November 12, 2015 meeting was approved. The minutes of the October 15, 2015 meeting were approved.
The Chair’s Report is attached to these minutes.
Randolph Glucksman reported that an extension of the deadline for the installation of Positive Train Control (PTC) was approved by Congress and signed by the President. He noted that a letter was sent by the PCAC to the leaders of the Senate and House committees with jurisdiction over this legislation urging them to act to extend the PTC deadline. This letter was in addition to a strong push by railroads and railroad trade associations across the nation, making the case that enforcement of the PTC deadline could cause damage to the nation’s transportation system and economy. Mr. Glucksman noted that larger organizations certainly had more influence on the outcome, but that the PCAC members can have the satisfaction of having played a role in avoiding a negative outcome.
Neal Zuckerman commented that the PTC extension has not resolved the issue and that a greater problem may be created if they cannot meet the December 2018 deadline. He said that the subject of PTC is a part of every Board meeting and that he believes that the MTA is doing a good job in monitoring progress according to the schedule. Bill Henderson said that railroads will have to be diligent about meeting the new deadline, as this is likely to be its only extension.
Mr. Glucksman noted that a revised MTA Capital Program has been approved by the MTA Board. Mr. Zuckerman said that he did not believe that any of the controversy over the content of the Capital Program with regard to the Second Avenue Subway will affect any Metro-North projects. He said that the addition of four Metro-North stations in the Bronx are the most exciting capital projects affecting the Railroad.
Mr. Zuckerman also asked the issues that members wanted him to advocate for on the Board. He stated that he is focusing on safety because there is no pricing issue coming up for another year and he believes that safety, service, and value are the primary issues that the Council should address. He said that the value of the service is good and that if the MTA stays with its 4 percent increases every two years it will hold the line on pricing. Service is likely to be largely a West of Hudson issue, but the status of service in this area is largely dependent on NJ TRANSIT’s willingness to make operational changes.
Mr. Glucksman stated that there will be a transition in NJ TRANSIT, as Ronnie Hakim is moving to become NYC Transit’s President. The big issue on the Pascack Valley line is moving forward with passing sidings, with one additional siding needed at a minimum. He said that Mark Mannix has told him that the cost of passing sidings is not great.
Mr. Zuckerman stated that, as a matter of course, he will be forwarding the Board agenda to members.
Mr. Glucksman stated that the Rockland County lost again with regard to restoring train 1601. He stated that he was told there would be nothing else done as Metro-North had not received complaints about the loss of the train. The complaints may have been forwarded to NJ Transit, however, as riders know that service is operated by that agency. The issue is now with the Rockland County Executive to continue the battle. Mr. Zuckerman raised the question of how many people must be affected before alternative service is provided. Mr. Henderson stated that there are places where fewer passengers are served by a train, among them the LIRR “juror trains.”
Mr. Glucksman asked whether the Council can continue pursuing passes for MNRCC members. Mr. Zuckerman stated that this was discussed. He said that he wanted to know the riding schedule of the members and said that he will ask about the possibility of getting passes and noted that it would not be extremely costly to provide the passes. He asked how often other members rode and this confirmed that there would be an extremely small cost to the MTA to provide this benefit.
Mr. Glucksman said that among the accomplishments on which he has worked are getting the fence at Nanuet train station repaired, running the Friday only train on the eve of Yom Kippur, getting Nanuet station lighting fixed, having the New Clarkstown Road crossing repaired, and having the parking lot at Nanuet repaved after drainage repairs. He said that he is happy to take up battle for anything else.
Mr. Corcoran asked Mr. Henderson to touch base with him and he can work on getting a Westchester positions filled. He stated that he knew several people who might be interested in serving on the Council.
Mr. Glucksman wanted to know if there were posters about the MNRCC at every station. Mr. Henderson stated that there were posters in each of the station, but they probably need to be refreshed. He said that he would speak with Mark Mannix.
Mr. Zuckerman stated that the Council’s number one role is to hear the voices of the riders. He stated that they should find ways to do that. He suggested a public event every quarter.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 PM.