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MNRCC Testimony – December 15, 2016 – Fare Hearing

Testimony of the Metro-North Commuter Council to the
Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
on Proposed Fare Increases
Crowne Plaza
3 Executive Blvd, Suffern, NY

December 15, 2016

Good Evening, my name is Randolph Glucksman. I am the chair of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council, recommended by the Rockland County Executive. The MNRCC is a group of legislatively mandated representatives of Metro-North Railroad riders. It was established in 1981 by the State Legislature as one of three riders’ councils under the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). Our 11 volunteer members are appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, and Rockland County Executives, and the Bronx Borough President.

I am also a West of Hudson rider who uses the Pascack Valley Line and I oppose any increase in fares for the following reasons.

There is a gross inequality of service between the West-of-Hudson service and East-of-Hudson service, which is appalling. For example, there is a five and a half hour service gap for inbound Nanuet trains between 3:51 PM and 9:17 PM, and on the Spring Valley line there are three unevenly scheduled inbound trains between 9AM and 2PM. These gaps make the service effectively unusable for many potential riders.

There is also a gross inequality in value. A monthly ticket from Nanuet to NY Penn Station is $302 and riders get 18 trains in each direction. A monthly ticket from Croton-On-Hudson is $300 with 71 inbound and 79 outbound trains. West-of-Hudson riders are also not only subjected to MTA fare increases, but also those imposed by NJ Transit, that sometimes come within months of each other.

Recent West-of-Hudson fare increases have not been accompanied with commensurate service increases, in fact, the Pascack Valley line service was reduced.

If a fare increase must occur, West-of-Hudson riders must be given a benefit, and to that end Metro-North must fund the construction of the much needed sidings necessary to improve the level of service worthy of 21st Century transportation. Without them there cannot be reverse peak service.

Finally, Metro-North should renegotiate its contract with Connecticut and remove restrictions for Fordham station passengers wishing to board inbound New Haven Line trains. When the New Haven Railroad and the New York Central were privately owned, these restrictions made sense. But that is no longer the case.

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