Metro-North commuter posts manifesto

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s been a rough year for riders on Metro-North. There have been deadly derailments, numerous outages and complaints about trains running late. Still, ticket prices continue to go up and riders aren’t happy about it.

Longtime commuter activist Jim Cameron is posting a manifesto: it’s a list of the basic things Connecticut train commuters say they deserve.

“And they’re nothing extreme, you know, like heat on the train in the winter, air conditioning in the summer. A seat, responsive customer service,” Cameron said.

Just last Wednesday one train got stuck without heat in Westport.

Then Thursday, human error was blamed for a shutdown that stranded thousands at Grand Central. Metro-North has had a lot of bad luck lately.

“I mean, they try to get there on time,” said Ann Prum.

“It’s just not as reliable as it used to be,” said Matthew John.

Cameron says it’s not just bad luck, it’s a culture within the agencies running the railroad.

“Metro-North and the DOT seemed unresponsive to the complaints that were being brought to them,” Cameron said. “The constant mantra we got from them was we’ll get back to you. And they never did.”

In addition to writing that manifesto, he’s created the Commuter Action Group to get people directly involved in lobbying for better service. There’s a Facebook page, and a Twitter handle. This morning there were already tweets from passengers frustrated with unexpected delays.

Politicians have already voiced concerns about Metro-North.

“Human error that repeatedly has caused accidents, derailments, crashes,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said.

On the Commuter Action Group website, there are links that take you directly to the Metro-North complaint page, but also you can plug in your address and find links to your own representatives in state and federal government

“I think the only people the DOT listens to these days are elected officials, and the only people that elected officials respond to are their constituents,” Cameron said.

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