METRO-NORTH RAILROAD COMMUTER COUNCIL
MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 17, 2013
A meeting of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council (MNRCC) was convened at 4:30 p.m. on September 17, 2013, in the 5th Floor Board Room, MTA Headquarters, 347 Madison Avenue, New York City. The following members were present:
James Blair Randy Glucksman
The following members were on the phone:
Richard Cataggio Rhonda Herman
The following members were absent:
Francis Corcoran Neal Zuckerman
In addition, the following persons were present:
William Henderson -PCAC Executive Director
Ellyn Shannon -Sr. Transportation Planner
Karyl Cafiero -Research Associate
Approval of Agenda and Minutes
The agenda for the September 17, 2013 meeting was approved. The minutes of August 15, 2013 meeting were approved.
A copy of the Chair’s report is attached to these minutes.
A copy of the written Board report is attached to these minutes.
Jim Blair commented that the most notable feature of Metro-North’s reporting to the board is that the ridership and revenue numbers are flat from last year on a year to date basis. The news going forward is no better, as ridership and revenues have been affected by several accidents, two derailments and construction in Bronx portion of the service area. Mr. Blair said that there will probably be a decline in these indicators for the remainder of the year.
Mr. Blair said that the damage from the derailment in Spuyten Duyvil had been repaired at a cost of $1million. The out of pocket costs for the repair are reimbursed by CSX Corporation, the derailed train’s operator, but lost revenue from cancelled Metro-North trains will not be reimbursed.
Mr. Blair also noted that MTA management had sprung a procurement for the M9 cars on the Board at its committee meetings yesterday and said that he had great questions about the procurement. Mr. Blair said that he made public and private comments to this effect. He said that Charles Moerdler brought up the issue of why articulated triplets of cars are not being considered in this procurement, as they would allow riders free movement between cars. The answer that he received from Metro-North management is that 584 of the cars are contained in an option to the original order so that they could be of a modified design. Mr. Blair said that his feeling is that the design of the cars is essentially set. Once the base order of 92 cars is built, there is little likelihood that the design will be greatly changed going forward.
Ellyn Shannon asked whether there were any indications given why there is such a hurry to approve the contract.
Jim Blair asked the Council’s feelings on making a public statement about the process. After some discussion it was decided that Bill Henderson will make a statement in the public speaking session expressing the Council and PCAC’s concern with the procurement approval process and the openness with which it has proceeded.
Mr. Blair also noted that the interior of the Otisville Tunnel on the Port Jervis Line is to be finished with concrete and that this will cause some disruptions in service.
Grand Influences Events
Karyl Cafiero reported on the series of three events and commented that everyone she had worked with in the three communities was very pleased with the event in their town. She explained that each of the series of events was different in its own way, but there was a common theme. Ms. Cafiero said that in her view the most positive outcome of the MNRCC’s involvement with Grand Influences is that it got the Council’s name out into the local communities. She said that the MNRCC had the new Metro-North schedules for distribution at its booth after experiencing the demand for them at the first event in Pelham. As expected the schedules were very popular among riders who visited the MNRCC booth.
Mr. Henderson said that the weather was very favorable at all three of the events and this contributed greatly to their success. In addition, the people attending the larger happenings to which the Grand Influences events were attached were generally in a very good mood and even those riders who stopped to register a complaint were pleasant.
The Council discussed ideas for additional outreach in the 2014. It was decided that the MNRCC would pursue holding more historical train talks and listening sessions in local communities served by Metro-North, as well as Meet the Commuter Council events at Grand Central Terminal. It was decided that in lieu of a May meeting, the Council would hold a Meet the Commuter Council event at Grand Central.
The issue was raised whether it would be possible to have the Haverstraw – Ossining Ferry service run on weekends. Currently, it provides service only on weekdays. Mr. Henderson said that he would check into the issue.
Mr. Blair stated he had just taken a phone call from Howard Permut. Mr. Permut stated that he remembered that the Board had a discussion about the car configurations. Also, he said that there is enough time to make decisions on car design changes and that he would seek the input of the Board in these matters.
At 5:35 PM the meeting was adjourned.
William Henderson, Executive Director