HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The president of Metro-North Railroad has told Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy that the commuter rail line cannot reach its target of 95 percent on-time service.

Joseph Giulietti, president of the rail line, cited improvements that put safety ahead of reliable schedules.

The Connecticut Post reported that Giulietti wrote Malloy that the best way to achieve the goal is to continue to rebuild the rail system.

Giulietti responded to a deadline set last month by Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker.

Metro-North hit a 94.7 percent on-time performance in September, but on-time performance on the New Haven line slipped to 86.7 percent in October. Giulietti said it was due to increased track work in advance of winter.

State transportation spokesman Judd Everhart said Monday the agency will review the letter.

Commuter advocate Jim Cameron said it makes perfect sense that customers can’t have a railroad that runs on time if it’s not first safe.

“The problem is it’s hard to find time to work on the tracks when you’re trying to run all the trains,” Cameron told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau. “It’s like trying to change the fan belt on your car while the engine is running.”

The real commuter issue, Cameron added, is overcrowding.

“We have more cars in our fleet than we’ve ever had before,” he said. “And I cannot understand why they can’t dispatch trains with enough cars to handle the passenger load.”

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