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Metro-North, LIRR Commuters Face Rough Trips To Work And Back

Metro-North train at the Noroton Heights station on Feb. 14, 2014. (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

Metro-North train at the Noroton Heights station on Feb. 14, 2014. (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Metro-North railroad put more trains into service for the evening rush, after riders were squeezed into cars during the morning commute in the wake of the snowstorm Thursday.

“Based on forecasts of up to a foot of snow falling overnight, we were conservative in planning schedules to help reduce the chances that trains could become stranded or would have to be canceled,” said Joseph Giulietti, President of Metro-North Railroad. “When the sun shone through this morning, we had more customers than anticipated, particularly on the New Haven Line. We apologize for this morning’s crowding and expect to do better this afternoon.”

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, there was a rush Friday evening for every Metro-North train at Grand Central. The railroad was running on a Saturday schedule, which is about 40 percent of normal weekday service, because of “projected lower ridership..

The seats filled up quickly and the vestibules were crowded.

Paul Nardi was expecting a complex commute.

“Well, I’m to get home. I have to catch a bus, the shuttle, and hoping the roads were clear,” Nardi said.

He said his commute Friday morning took three and a half hours, while it usually takes an hour and a half.

For the morning commute, Metro-North later added 14 trains through the morning — nine on the New Haven Line, four on the Harlem Line and one on the Hudson Line. As of 11 a.m., Metro-North ridership was 68 percent of a normal weekday.

As WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane reported from Noroton Heights stations, some riders waited an hour and a half. A packed train showed up in that time but was too full to accommodate most waiting passengers.

“Standing all the way through the aisles because it’s a Saturday schedule,” one commuter told Murnane. “Maybe about six guys squished on.”

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“It’s not Saturday,” one frustrated commuter said. “A lot of people stayed home yesterday so they’re gonna try to get in today.”

The Long Island Rail Road was running 90 percent of its normal weekday schedule during the morning commute.

As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported from the Mineola station, commuters faced some delays and crowding on the platforms and trains.

Some said the waiting for the train was still better than driving into the city.

“Just do the best they can,” said one man.

“Could be worse,” another commuter told Xirinachs.

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