On Friday, word came out that the Metro-North may cut 4 trains. To be more specific, the Connecticut Department Of Transportation is considering the elimination of 4 off peak trains on the New Haven Line. The line is owned by the DOT which must approve any service changes or fare increases. Martin B. Cassidy of The Stamford Advocate has more in this report:
The state Department of Transportation is considering cutting four Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line trains and making other reductions because the Metropolitan Transit Authority faces a $1.2 billion budget gap next year, railroad officials said.
The railroad is working with the DOT to choose four off-peak trains that could be eliminated with the least disruption to commuters, said Marjorie Anders, a Metro-North spokeswoman.
Other belt-tightening proposals include cutting 88 jobs on the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson lines; decreasing the number of cars on some trains to reduce power costs; and cleaning trains less frequently, Anders said.
The railroad might eliminate its toll-free schedule information line at (800) METRO-INFO to save $200,000, Anders said.
“These are desperate times,” she said. “We’re looking for as many ways to eliminate costs throughout the system in ways that add up.”
The DOT owns the New Haven Line and must approve service changes or price increases, agency spokesman Kevin Nursick said.
The department will work with Metro-North and the MTA to limit service cuts, Nursick said.
“The budget process within the State of New York is ongoing and we will work hard with our regional partners to advocate equitable impacts for, and minimize hardships on, Connecticut commuters,” he said.
The MTA’s 2009 budget proposed last week included recommendations for cutting costs to reduce the deficit, which jumped from $900 million to $1.2 billion since September, officials said.
State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said cutting service or shortening trains would undermine efforts to promote use of mass transit.
“This is really the wrong time to do that when we are seeing increased ridership,” Duff said. “We need the MTA to look a little deeper on how they can finance this rather than taking away seats from commuters who use them every day.”
The New Haven Line is 65 percent funded by the DOT, and the MTA provides the balance, Anders said.
Metro-North plans to cut five other trains on its Harlem and Hudson lines, with a goal of cutting 4.7 percent, or $35 million, from the overall budget, Anders said.
Click here for the complete report.
I rarely ride the Metro-North so I can’t really dive into how big a deal this might be. Riders never like to hear about service cuts. However in this day & age where financial situations are not strong for many, saving money where possible is a necessity.
xoxo Transit Blogger