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MTA Board Approves Credit For Weekly, Monthly New Haven Line Ticket Holders

Extra Trains To Run Starting Wednesday Morning
Commuters wait on the platform at Metro-North's Stamford station, Oct. 1, 2013. (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

Commuters wait on the platform at Metro-North’s Stamford station, Oct. 1, 2013. (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board has voted to compensate monthly and weekly ticket holders affected by the service issues on Metro-North’s New Haven line.

In a special meeting held Tuesday afternoon, the board approved a credit to essentially reimburse passengers who’ve been without regular service since last Wednesday. The board voted to offer a credit toward future purchases for New Haven line customers with monthly or weekly tickets valid for travel between September 25, 2013 and the restoration of full service.

“Because of the unprecedented magnitude and duration of this disruption, the MTA Board has concluded that a credit for our customers is simply the right thing to do,” MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Prendergast said.

Riders are urged to hold on to their tickets, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported. The MTA was still working out how to handle the credit and will post information on its website later in the week.

“Detailed instructions will be going out, and they will have through March 31 to be able to gain that credit,” Prendergast said.

The board also said service will be up to 65 percent in time for the Wednesday morning commute. It had been operating at 50 percent of normal service.

Specific schedules and service details have been released.

There will be five additional peak trains beginning Wednesday morning, powered by a third temporary transformer installed by Con Edison along an 8-mile stretch near where the main electrical feeder cable failed.

Metro-North service notice at Grand Central Terminal, Oct. 1, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

Metro-North service notice at Grand Central Terminal, Oct. 1, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

In the morning, there will be two new express trains from New Haven, departing at 5:59 a.m. and 6:45 a.m., which go express from Fairfield, and three new departures from Stamford, at 7:11 a.m., 7:40 a.m. and 8:13 a.m. In addition, the 8:03 a.m. train from New Canaan to Stamford will now operate through to Grand Central Terminal, the MTA announced.

In the afternoon, there will be three additional expresses to New Haven, departing Grand Central at 4:58 p.m., 5:21 p.m. and 5:49 p.m.

Free park and ride and shuttle bus service will remain in effect until Friday, the MTA announced.

As 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported Wednesday evening, some Connecticut commuters pay about $200 or more for their monthly tickets. One commuter said getting credit for a couple of weeks sounded like a good deal.

“My normal commute takes about 47 minutes; some days it’s been two hours and change,” he said. “I’ve had to transfer from a train to a bus, back to a train.”

The MTA will also seek reimbursement from Con Ed for the power outage that caused the service disruption.

Meantime, Con Ed continues to investigate what caused the outage that has frozen service on Metro-North’s New Haven line for a week.

As WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported, the utility said they can’t say with certainly what went wrong, but preliminarily, it appears something went amiss with the routine freezing of a high-voltage feeder cable.

Last week, a feeder at the Mount Vernon substation produced something Con Ed said it hasn’t ever seen before.

“It ended up freezing, it seems, the ground outside the work site,” Con Ed spokesman Mike Clendenin told Murnane. “It seems to have impacted the other feeder and led to the fault.”

The line the MTA was counting on failed just outside what was called the freeze pit.

Clendenin said Con Ed will learn more when the failed cable is pulled from five feet underground.

The MTA will hold a special board meeting later Tuesday to consider approving a credit for customers impacted by the outage.

But commuters at the Stamford station Tuesday morning said the outage is about more than just the monetary impact.

“It’s shocking to me that really one feeder cable can go out and you could have this much impact,” a rail passenger told Murnane.

“When you have this kind of situation, it just hurts everyone’s confidence in the system massively,” one commuter said.

Con Ed said the feeder that was removed from service several weeks ago for routine upgrades will be the first source restored, allowing normal train service to resume on Oct. 7.

The utility also announced they’re in extensive discussions with the MTA to come up with contingency plans for future incidents.

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