I’ve been in Houston all weekend watching Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte close out their spectacular careers while the painful 2013 Yankee season drew to a merciful close, and I only now just realized that the service advisories never went up on Friday evening. My apologies for the oversight. I could try to make it up to you by bringing home by bringing home one of the eight billion parking lots that mars the face of Downtown Houston and has otherwise made it a ghost time after offices close up shop for the weekend, but I’m not sure I could fit them in my suitcase.
Anyway, joking aside, I have a variety of updates for those Metro-North New Haven Line riders itching to get back to a normal routine. Service is still not yet back to normal, but the MTA hopes to offer service for approximately half of its regular weekday customers. Still, the agency is urging those who can to travel outside of the rush hour and utilize some park-and-ride spaces in Westchester County and the Bronx, if possible. Considering how Joe Lhota has been pushing park-and-ride as a major piece of his transportation platform, we may see this week just how it all works out.
“Con Edison’s temporary substation allows us to run very limited electric trains through this critical section of the New Haven Line for the first time since power was disrupted last week, but it’s still far less than the normal service our customers expect,” MTA Chair and CEO Tom Prendergast said. “While Con Edison works to restore full power to their damaged feeder cables, the MTA is doing everything it can to accommodate New Haven Line customers on other services.”
The full schedule and all of the details are available in the trip finder on the MTA’s website. The current plan will remain in effect up to and including October 7, when Con Ed estimates it will finish repairs on the feeder cable its own crews knocked out of service last week. The MTa explained that the reduced schedule is a result of the temporary repairs made along an eight-mile section of track between Harrison and Mount Vernon. The limited power supply means that only two electric trains can operate at one time and only under very limited loads. These trains will run express along that stretch of rail as accelerating draws the most power. Diesel trains will provide additional service.
Furthermore, nearly 8600 parking spaces at Orchard Beach, near Yankee Stadium, near Rye Playland and at the Kensico Dam in Valhalla will allow riders to stash their cars and hop on a shuttle bus. It’s not ideal, but it’s a start.
Meanwhile, the MTA is considering refunds for New Haven Line customers (though I question if Con Ed should be the ones fiscally responsible). Prendergast says he will make a “strong recommendation” to the MTA Board to allow for refunds or credits for those with monthly or weekly tickets. In the past, the agency has eschewed refunds, and recently, for instances, Metrocard holders were unable to draw a refund or see added time added to their cards in the aftermath of the extensive Sandy shutdowns last year. But under pressure from Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, agency officials have reconsidered their stance. We’ll see where this goes.