This section of the CT Rail Commuter Council's website is for comments from commuters. To have your comments includedclick here. All comments will be posted along with the name and e-mail address of the sender. The Council reserves the right to edit all comments.
We wish that Metro-North would respond to comments placed here, but they will not. Incredibly, MTA policy is to not answer complaints submitted by e-mail! So if you are expecting an official response to your complaints,click here for more information about how to submit a written complaint.
OPPOSING THE CDOT FARE INCREASE PROPOSAL:
The following letters were e-mailed to members of the CT Legislature:
I write this letter to voice my opposition to the proposed 4.5% fare increase for Metro-North Railroad commuters in Connecticut. Based on the current level of service we receive as commuters, and the outrageous amount of money this service costs, the requested increase is totally unjustifiable! At a time when the inflation rate is incredibly low (below 2%), the fares charged for commuting on the railroad continue to increase at a much higher rate!
Metro-North commuters have been saddled with similar fare increases for four of the last five years. However, the service we receive in exchange for our hard-earned dollars is substandard at best. Perhaps the Connecticut Department of Transportation should play a more critical role, or at least pay more attention, regarding where these dollars are going. If service has not improved in conjunction with the recent years of fare increases, then why is the legislature and Metro-North expecting the commuters to continue to pay more and more? We are getting no return on our increased fares!
The State has mandated a 5% reduction in highway traffic over the next five years, supposedly to be achieved by expanding public transportation. Are we, as commuters, expected to foot the bill for that expansion? How can the State justify the funding of a $400 million football stadium, while the more important issues of public transportation and cleaner air are blatantly disregarded? How can I, as a resident of this State and a voter, support elected officials that are unconcerned with the issues that affect me directly?
The State's goal of a 5% reduction in highway traffic, through the use of expanded public transportation, is not grounded in reality. The state legislature must realize that it cannot change the goals of the public transportation system without also changing the operation of that system - your constituents, and especially the railroad commuters, pay far too much toward the operating costs of public transportation. For example, railroad commuters in Connecticut cover 73% of the operating costs of the railroad with their ticket purchases, the highest in the nation! And we are now being asked to pay more! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! THE CONNECTICUT LEGISLATURE MUST FIND A BETTER WAY!!!
My ability to pay taxes depends on my ability to get to and from work at an affordable cost. The current cost for commuting between New Haven and New York City is $319 per month - that equates to almost $4,000 per year! And with a 4.5% fare increase it will cost almost $200 more per year!
A campaign must be launched to revamp the current public transportation system, and its funding. If the State of Connecticut is truly concerned about the environment, and is mandating a 5% reduction in highway traffic in an effort to reduce pollution, then it must change the public transportation system to attract more commuters - not punish those who choose to utilize public transportation. GIVE US A BREAK! WE ARE DOING OUR PART - NOW DO YOURS!!
Submitted by: Michael A. Oberempt, Branford, CT firstname.lastname@example.org
I am writing in protest at the current effort to once again raise fares on the New Haven Line division of Metro-North. The increase is completely unjustified given the fact that similar increases have occurred in 4 of the last 5 years and service has not demonstrably improved to any degree. At the margin, this increase will drive some commuters to forego the train in favor of their cars. While I travel between Darien and Grand Central, I know that other commuters in upper Fairfield County drive to locations along the Harlem Line in New York to catch the train. A monthly commutation from White Plains is only $141/month versus $218 from Darien.
I am concerned that there is a lack of oversight on the part of CDOT regarding MN budgeting and operations. How is it possible that with a rate of inflation of only 1.7% this railroad can run at such a massive deficit? The price of electricity, which is a major input to MN's operations, is at a record low, yet costs of operation spiral up. The fact that New Haven Line riders cover more of the cost of their trip than any other commuters in the US, and perhaps the world, says to me that this is a perfect example of Connecticut's inability to get back the tax money it sends to the federal government on an annual basis. While I do not support tax increases to fund Metro North operations, I feel that if the Legislature can so cavalierly agree to a multi-million dollar boondoggle in the form of a subsidized football stadium that will be used only 7 days a year by the professional team it will house, priorities are clearly out of order. If these fare increases are approved ad infinitum, at least cut the income tax and sales tax so your constituents can afford to buy a ticket.
Marshall Steeves, Darien, CT MSteeves@refco.com 3/15/99
Metro-North riders have had 4.5% fare increases in four of the last five years. Enough is enough! I oppose this call for another fare increase on Metro-North and feel a different funding system must be found.
Remember, my ability to pay state income taxes depends on my ability to get to/from work at an affordable cost.
My challenge to you: take the Waterbury line to Bridgeport just once, change there for Stamford; and make the return trip. Let me know how you feel about the alleged "service," and whether it's worth having to pay for at all. It's filthy, smelly, chronically late and certainly not worth $107 a month, never mind an increase!
Sender: Cathie Lydon
NEW MILFORD SERVICE?:
I am from New Milford, Connecticut. It is a community of 25,000+ a few miles up the tracks from Danbury. (It is also miles east of the Harlem line.) Since 1971, no commuter trains have run to New Milford. The tracks are there, the station is there, and the people are there, New Milford is larger than many stops on the New Haven and Harlem lines.
The debate of extending the Danbury branch to New Milford is often raised, but as you know, when it comes to government, nothing ever gets done. How is that going? Any new developments? Please let me know.
Sender: Jeff Hoose, New MilfordHoosej@sacredheart.edu 2/17/99
DON'T FORGET NEW HAVEN RIDERS:
I wanted to offer my congratulations on your appointment toSCAC. I'm confident that your participation will prove beneficial to the rail commuters of Connecticut. But I can't let this opportunity pass without a plug!! Upon reading the SCAC Implementation Plan, including suggestions for a "free" parking lot in Bridgeport, the recent reduction in fares for Bridgeport commuters, a Fairfield parking lot expansion, etc.,!
I can't help but notice that New Haven commuters seem to be forgotten. Are we less appealing? Or is it that there are less of us? Although there is mention of a parking garage expansion in New Haven, please represent us in arguing that $319 per month for a rail ticket (with a 5% fare increase coming in June 1999) and $63 per month for parking is ludicrous - by saddling New Haven commuters with these outrageous prices, they are discouraging the use of rail as a means of getting to work! They should launch a campaign that attracts rail commuters, and not follow the current course of penalizing them!!! Isn't less vehicle traffic the prime objective? Don't forget us because we are farther away - please change the current scenario that being farther away from NY means you get less and pay more!
Sender: Michael Oberempt, New Havenmoberempt@gj.com 2/23/99
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