Fordham Service Questions (GCT - Fordham and New Haven Line)

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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Postby Tommy Meehan » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:22 pm

Erie-Lackawanna wrote: If they think they can get one over on a conductor ....


To me this attitude is unwarranted. It's not about people trying to get over but instead simply get transportation. Remember, 'memory schedules'? People go to a train station and when a train comes in they get on it. When I heard an NH conductor begin announcing over the IC, "No passengers at Fordham, we don't pick up," the people getting on looked baffled but they got off.

Out in Illinois I can see the reason why at, say Kensington on Metra Electric, you can't get on a South Shore train to go to Randolph Street. I don't think that makes a whole lot of sense either (couldn't South Shore simply credit the fare revenue to the charges they pay Metra?) but at least I understand the reasoning. (South Shore, an Indiana operation, DOES service at least one station in Illinois, though.)

One nice example of putting convenience to the public first is in Philadelphia with Amtrak and Septa. Septa will carry you between 30th Street and Center City stations upon presentation of an Amtrak ticket stub reading Philadelphia. They could bust people's chops and make you buy a City Ticket (plus an onboard charge) but Septa doesn't do that.
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Postby Gerry6309 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:51 pm

Conductors have a tough time collecting all tickets between GCT and 125th. dealing with local traffic would only make the job more difficult. As it is people board the trains totry and snag a free ride to 125th.
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Postby Erie-Lackawanna » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:35 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:To me this attitude is unwarranted. It's not about people trying to get over but instead simply get transportation.

You sound like you're speaking from the utopian position of a ride for anyone, to anywhere, for nothing. That's nice, but that's not how the world works. It's our job to collect a fare from everyone. You want to get from Fordham to GCT? Read the timetable, pay the correct fare, and have a nice ride. If you can't or won't do both of these things, then you deserve to freeze on a platform. Sorry, that's how it is.

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Postby lstone19 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:40 pm

I suspect the real reason is inertia. The New Haven Railroad (remember it?) could not carry passengers locally on the New York Central (remember it as well?). The New Haven's trackage rights agreement did not permit it. Now that it's all the same railroad, there's no longer a legal reason for it but just like many things on railroads, that's the way it's always been done so that's the way it's still done. I very much doubt CDOT and any restrictions from them has anything to do with it.

Someone above mentioned the South Shore and it not carrying passengers locally in Metra territory. That does still make sense since the South Shore and Metra Electric are different railroads.
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Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:19 am

Going way back the New Haven originally couldn't stop at 125th Street either. Based on some old news accounts, around the turn-of-the-century a combination of rider complaints and pressure from the city got NY Central to relent and allow it.

Not until Metro-North did any NH Line trains make a Bronx stop at Fordham.

Btw, there are some evening rush hour Wassaic trains on the Harlem that are marked "Stops to receive customers only" at White Plains yet if you're at White Plains you'll see about 50-60 riders get off. They're not all riding on monthly tickets either (those you just show to the train person, they don't have to turn anything in) having been on those trains out of GCT I've seen people present one-way tix to White Plains including off-peak tickets where they have to pay the step up. The crew member never uttered a word of protest.
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Postby Hebrewman9 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:27 am

I've never been a fan of recieve/discharge only stops, but I'm not a fan of fare evaders or overcrowding either- especially when the subway is only a few blocks away, and there's a ticket office (isn't it heated in there?)
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Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:08 am

Erie-Lackawanna wrote:If you can't or won't do both of these things, then you deserve to freeze on a platform


It "almost" sounds like you're saying "The Public Be Damned," but being a nice fellow I'm sure you wouldn't say that! :wink:
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Postby Hebrewman9 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:07 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:Going way back the New Haven originally couldn't stop at 125th Street either. Based on some old news accounts, around the turn-of-the-century a combination of rider complaints and pressure from the city got NY Central to relent and allow it.

Not until Metro-North did any NH Line trains make a Bronx stop at Fordham.

Btw, there are some evening rush hour Wassaic trains on the Harlem that are marked "Stops to receive customers only" at White Plains yet if you're at White Plains you'll see about 50-60 riders get off. They're not all riding on monthly tickets either (those you just show to the train person, they don't have to turn anything in) having been on those trains out of GCT I've seen people present one-way tix to White Plains including off-peak tickets where they have to pay the step up. The crew member never uttered a word of protest.

Discharge-only is different that recieve-only. A conductor can tell you not to board a train. It doesn't make much sense for them to hold you on a train until the next stop, as long as you pay a step-up charge. Maybe some conductors would have a problem with regular "offenders".

However, I'm sure that if Metro-North only opened one door at White Plains on the Wassaic recieve-only runs (I'm being hypothetical here), then the NYC-White Plains passengers wouldn't have much of a right to complain that their stop was skipped. I'm sure something like this has happened to an Amtrak passenger.

There is also a problem with not listing the first stop as Fordham. Sometimes people identify trains by matching its station stops up with a similar train in the schedule. Not listing all the stops listed in the scheudle might cause confusion among some passengers (although I may just be nitpicky here)
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Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:45 pm

Hebrewman At a 'stops to receive only' station in the old old days I 'think' the crew would insist a passenger wanting to get off there pay a step up to the first discharge station. In the case of a White Plains rider on a Harlem Wassaic train, that would mean paying an additional fare to Goldens Bridge, about 20 miles and several dollars away. I'm sure the conductor would allow them to get off at White Plains though.

I'm trying to remember when I saw a specific situation like this on a New York Central train -- yes I go back that far -- but it was so long ago. I know I did see these things happen. I think the trainmen would 'solve it' in the way I outlined above.
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Postby Hebrewman9 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:36 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:Hebrewman At a 'stops to receive only' station in the old old days I 'think' the crew would insist a passenger wanting to get off there pay a step up to the first discharge station. In the case of a White Plains rider on a Harlem Wassaic train, that would mean paying an additional fare to Goldens Bridge, about 20 miles and several dollars away. I'm sure the conductor would allow them to get off at White Plains though.

I'm trying to remember when I saw a specific situation like this on a New York Central train -- yes I go back that far -- but it was so long ago. I know I did see these things happen. I think the trainmen would 'solve it' in the way I outlined above.

I think it would be fine in the modern day to charge a step-up charge, but if it's regular practice not to, then I suppose only a really strict conductor would charge it.
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Postby fordhamkid7721 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:48 pm

They still have Harlem trains stopping at Fordham in pickup and discharge service.CDOT doesnt want trains making local service within NYC so it just stops at Harlem and Fordham just to pick up people to service the New Haven Line stations I suppose if u give them a city ticket they just cant take it
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Postby Erie-Lackawanna » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:28 pm

My entire response, quoted in context, makes it clear that I don't take a "public be damned" attitude. The information given to the customer prior to the customer making his/her travel plans is quite clear on what trains they can and cannot take. If they choose to ignore the information given to them, then you can't call the railroad cold-hearted for not changing its schedule and fare policy rules to accommodate their ignorance/carelessness.

If you boarded Amtrak train 237 at Penn Station, bound for Poughkeepsie, would you expect to be able to get off at Poughkeepsie, even though the schedule clearly shows the first stop being Rhinecliff? I think not. It's no different: the schedule says you can't get off there, so you should have no expectation of being able to get off there.

As for CityTicket: It is not valid on any New Haven Line train for any trip.

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Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:48 pm

Hebrewman9 wrote:...I'm not a fan of fare evaders or overcrowding either- especially when the subway is only a few blocks away, and there's a ticket office (isn't it heated in there?)


Hebrewman - First, I'm talking about inbound trains here, not outbound. The two situations are markedly different in my experience. I can't recall seeing people trying to get to Fordham on New Haven Line trains at GCT. The destination boards at GCT DON'T list Fordham. Plus there are Harlem Line trains around the same time that DO list Fordham.

The problem is the inbound NH trains at Fordham stopping when people are waiting on the platform. Fare evasion is not an issue so far as I have ever seen. Metro-North levies a very steep "on-board" charge for passengers without tickets. So most people boarding have already purchased a ticket. Overcrowding is not an issue either. Since so many more people get off inbound trains at Fordham then ever want to get on.

As to the ticket office, when I've been at the Fordham inbound side it's been the end of the PM rush. Say 6:30 PM-7:00 PM and I don't recall the agent's hours. There is a heated waiting room but it's been gated off when the ticket office is closed. Also the station is at street level but the platforms are below grade. It's a steep, narrow set of stairs and a long platform too. Do they announce in advance inbound arrivals in the waiting room? If they don't then you need to be on the platform when the train rolls in, not upstairs staying warm.

As for the subway alternative- If you're bound to the GCT area in Manhattan -- or east of GCT, say 3rd or 2nd Avenues -- the Metro-North train is worth the extra fare. Especially if you're already in (or close by) Fordham Sq where the train station is and the subway ain't. I've done it, paid the extra fare, and I'm usually known as a pretty frugal guy. :-)

The closest subway is the old IND at Fordham and Grand Concourse. You can get the B or D train there. But those trains run under 6th Avenue in Manhattan and require a second train to get to the east Midtown area. From Fordham Sq the D train is several long long blocks away through a usually densely crowded shopping district. Packed sidewalks and streets you can't cross unless the light's red because of the heavy traffic. It's almost all uphill too. There's plenty of buses, that's true, but I bet a healthy person could make better time on foot!!!
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Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:09 am

I remember pre Metro-North days, probably around 1982 when I had a
regular job that did a round trip to Harrison, crossed over at Pike at that
time and deadhead the cars back to Grand Central and then a trip to
New Canaan. The trip to Harrilson stopped at New Rochelle only to pick
up passengers. We used to get a guy on at GCT in the head car who
caused a lot of trouble with the conductors and train crews. One trip we
had a spare conductor who had a run in with this individual who did not
like him so he asked me to pull the two head cars off the platform at
New Rochelle as this person always rode the head car. I pulled the two
head cars off, the doors of course did not open, he banged on my cab
door but I ignored him and I got two to go and away we went with him
still on board. The guy got off at Larchmont and immediately turned in
the entire crew to the company. The higher ups got in on the act and
they saluted the conductor for his actions. I never heard anything
officially about it but the officials were pleased with these actions. The
guy did not ride with us anymore after that particular day. The conductor
if he is still working will surely remember this incident but I will not
disclose his name either on here or in a PM. If he is still working, he
can't be too far from retirement at this point. i always liked working with
him because he did not take any crap but did his job well. I think he also
liked me for exactly the same reasons.
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Postby pnaw10 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:48 am

@Tommy - The one downside about trains has always been, they don't do door-to-door service. If you don't want to deal with changing between trains and/or buses, get a cab. (Yeah, I know I'm being snippy, but I do so jovially, not maliciously.) At least you're not in the parts of Qns or Bklyn where it's a much, much farther walk to subway or LIRR service.

@Noel - That's awesome. And I'm especially pleased with management's response to the complaint.

At the end of the day, if it's spelled out a certain way in the schedule, that's the way it is. If your schedule says trains stop at 2:40 and 3:20... and a train stops in at 3:00, I think it's pretty obvious the 3:00 isn't your train. But on the same token, I can see how some people would think "they're all going to the same place anyway, what's the difference?"

One possible reason -- aren't NHL trains (especially in AM peak) pretty full by the time they get to Fordham? It wouldn't be fair to the folks who are already on the train to have their trains filled even more. And it wouldn't be fair to tell people at Fordam they could board NHL trains, in the event the trains are too full to take on more people. Much easier to just let them get Harlem Line trains, where they've got a better chance of getting a seat.

Of course, regardless of the reason, the rules are the rules are the rules. If you don't like them, argue your case directly with the powers that be. Who knows? Maybe others have voiced similar concern and your letter is that "one" more they need to tip the scales. Or maybe they'll just put it in the circular file. Either way, griping on this board may get lots of discussion going, but it won't ultimately change anything.
.
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