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Testimony to Joint Metro-North/LIRR Committee-Thanking Crews and Addressing Commuter Concerns

By Lisa Daglian, PCAC Executive Director

July 25, 2022

Good morning, I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC. Welcome Co-Chairs Chu and Lopez: we look forward to working with you on behalf of Metro-North and LIRR riders.

These dog days of summer are busy! We want to recognize the incredible efforts of MTA workers who got trains and riders moving during and after last week’s storms. It’s a testament to them that Tuesday’s morning commute was relatively hitch-less. It’s also a testament to the need for significant, continuing investment in resiliency projects – more on that in CPC.

On July 16th, Metro-North saw 102% of pre-pandemic ridership, while the LIRR hit 90%. That same day, traffic on bridges and tunnels reached over 101% of pre-pandemic levels. Clearly, there is ample opportunity to draw drivers from their cars onto train cars.

Hearing concerns raised by riders at the July 13th public meeting on LIRR service to Grand Central, we know there is room for improvement when East Side Access opens later this year. We hope you’ll listen and appreciate that additional meeting dates have been added.

New commuters won’t just be coming to Grand Central; they’ll head to an improved Penn Station. We support the transit improvements to Penn: they’ll meet travel demands and help drive economic growth, while providing a more accessible and equitable space for New Yorkers and visitors.

We support the first mile/last mile project on the agenda, as it will give people more options for getting to and from stations We also urge acceleration of enforceable e-bike/e-scooter/e-moped regulations that address rider concerns, including: riding on platforms and in stations; taking up space, including that designated for the disabled; presence on peak trains; and oversized vehicles — essentially motorcycles. We know these rules and regs are in development and will look at an array of safety measures, but the presence of these vehicles is increasing. Perhaps you’ll consider a sticker for approved bikes and scooters so conductors and MTAPD can better enforce the rules, and people attempting to board with them will be forewarned. Rules also need to be prominently posted, for everyone’s sake. We are happy to continue working with you on this matter.

Thank you.