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MNRCC Statement – Jan 25, 2010 – Proposed Service Reductions

Statement of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council

Before the MTA Board Metro-North Committee

January 25, 2010

I am William Henderson, Executive Director of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council.  The MNRCC, which was established in 1981, is the legislatively mandated representative of Metro-North Railroad riders.

The Council is understandably very concerned by the proposed service reductions released last week.  We recognize that Metro-North management faces a difficult situation and have made a major effort to minimize the number of riders affected by service cuts.  We appreciate the work that obviously went into the decisions that were made in balancing the maintenance of acceptable levels of service quality and the desire to minimize reductions in choices available to riders.

Beyond the number of individuals affected by the proposed changes, we are concerned about the impact of these changes on the robustness of the transportation network.  It is important for the system to provide options to meet a range of travel needs, and these proposals diminish the options available to riders.  We see this in larger headways and the loss of a West of Hudson train that makes the Railroad no longer a viable option for those who start work at an early hour.

While prospects for additional resources do not appear to be favorable, we ask that this committee explore every responsible option before these reductions, which threaten to affect the region in the long term as well as in 2010, are put into effect.  We appreciate the opportunity to present our views.  Thank you for your time and attention.