Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Set

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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Tommy Meehan
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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by Tommy Meehan » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:00 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:....Interesting to note how the report noted the contrast between relatively underused and architectural masterpiece Grand Central and (drop your own adjectives in) Penn Station .
Relatively underused?

I think I understand why MTA is doing this. They probably have a number of reasons. First, as far as placating the ridership it's a lot more effective than a flyer on your seat telling you how sorry everyone is. Second, they have said repeatedly they want to behave less like a state agency with a monopoly on rail service and more like a competitive private enterprise business and this is a common tool: when there's a problem do something for the customers. Recently a cinema I was at had a fire alarm go off by accident and we had to go stand in the parking lot. We still saw the film in it's entirety but they gave us vouchers for a free admission. That turned our frowns upside down. NHL riders have had a rough few months starting with the Fairfield derailment. That plus the fact the NHL has suffered far worse in recent winters than the Harlem or Hudson Lines.

I think the critical part of this for MNR is that they depend on political and public support to continue the subsidies and investment funds. They don't want to risk seeing this issue become the catalyst for eroding that support in a way that might make life very tough for them in the future.

CTRailfan
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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by CTRailfan » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:40 pm

If you exclude the political/funding portion of it (which is important, but a little bit less certain/ longer term), MN should give the riders some refunds. It appears they didn't provide the service that they could have during the outage, even given the limited amount of diesel equipment they have. If they were using all their diesel gear effectively, then they have a big chunk of the P32/maxi fleet out of service for maintenance or whatever, then that's a big problem too. They shouldn't have 25-35% of a fleet out of service, if that's the case. Also, they didn't even bother to run their normal schedule on the weekend, which they easily could have using just Maxi equipment. The monthly pass holders and weekend riders are likely a different crew, but still. I could see the argument for not refunding iff they were running way more maxis than they did. They could have gotten almost back to normal capacity with the diesels if you have some standees, and a portion of riders diverting to the Harlem.

And relatively underused GCT? Haha. GCT is utilized fully without over-utilization, unlike Penn, which is over-utilized.

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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by runningwithscalpels » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:36 am

Oh here we go again...where have I heard this line before???
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Tadman
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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by Tadman » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:35 am

NHAirline wrote:If you exclude the political/funding portion of it (which is important, but a little bit less certain/ longer term), MN should give the riders some refunds. It appears they didn't provide the service that they could have during the outage, even given the limited amount of diesel equipment they have. If they were using all their diesel gear effectively, then they have a big chunk of the P32/maxi fleet out of service for maintenance or whatever, then that's a big problem too. They shouldn't have 25-35% of a fleet out of service, if that's the case. Also, they didn't even bother to run their normal schedule on the weekend, which they easily could have using just Maxi equipment...
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NH2060
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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by NH2060 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:40 pm

Trainer wrote:
NH2060 wrote:
Trainer wrote:Otherwise they'll spend your subsidies on highways and new bus lanes. The suits MUST think big picture.
To suggest that a significant number of those currently using MNR would opt for other modes of transport is just not true. Commuters will raise heck when something goes wrong (and sometimes with good reason), but they'll ride it one way or another.
Customers are not hostages. Every railroad, every mode of transportation who ever thought so is now defunct. Perhaps they'll ride it today, but not always tomorrow. Lots of people have discovered that Peter Pan and other carriers can get them into the city in about the same time as the train, and they're very comfortable. Some people are car pooling. Do we want to screw those people just because we can? Today, that's just bad business.

MN is doing the right thing, and that is a GOOD precedent moving forward.
You misunderstood what I said. I wasn't implying "they have *literally* no choice but to take MNR to/from work or else". What I meant was "They could try to fight their way through traffic in their car or on a bus or even drive/take the bus when and where there is no traffic, but -in spite of these snafus- they'll still ride MNR to/from work because they know it is a fast, reliable, and efficient way to get where they're going. When the local TV stations interviewed various commuters many of them -from what I saw- seemed to take it in stride as best they could. MNR provided as best service as they could either with limited train service, busses, and/or both. They were doing anything but sitting back and simply passing the buck to ConEd.

I'm still not exactly sold on the refund idea (with the exception of perhaps non-monthy passes) because the request of a refund for every little glitch that happens just might become the new precedent, not just when there's a major disruption. And if that happens getting out of such a policy would prove VERY unpopular. Remember what happened when the 3 month expiration date was cut back to.. was it 2 weeks? The traveling public was NOT pleased. NJT and the LIRR aren't giving refunds whenever there's a power/signal/tree problem. Or even a minor derailment/collision like what happened in Queens this past year that knocked out a couple of tracks. Or when the Northeast Blackout and Hurricane Sandy knocked out service; the latter of which lasted for a few days IIRC. And in the case of Sandy they simply provided 2 days of free service system wide by order of Governor Cuomo and Governor Malloy due to the severity of the situation (and presumably the loss incurred from that was covered by state tax dollars). You start giving refunds like this for EVERY little incident (even for things beyond their control) and it could really hurt their pocketbook in the long run.

Now if they (behind closed doors or in some sort of "fine print") will only give refunds under certain circumstances (not for every snafu) then I say this is a good idea and an honest way to maintain a good public image. I don't think that's an unreasonable thing to suggest.
Tommy Meehan wrote:First, as far as placating the ridership it's a lot more effective than a flyer on your seat telling you how sorry everyone is. Second, they have said repeatedly they want to behave less like a state agency with a monopoly on rail service and more like a competitive private enterprise business and this is a common tool: when there's a problem do something for the customers.
I agree with your first point. I always wondered how many riders actually understood the nature of whatever caused their train to be delayed. But at the same time it's also not a bad way to actually address the public that they indeed are sorry for the inconvenience caused. Better than not saying anything at all or playing an automated announcement at the station. A flyer is more personal. The same way a letter is more personal than a text message ;-)
I think the critical part of this for MNR is that they depend on political and public support to continue the subsidies and investment funds. They don't want to risk seeing this issue become the catalyst for eroding that support in a way that might make life very tough for them in the future.
I doubt that and for one simple reason: Westchester, Fairfield, and New Haven counties depend greatly on MNR. You take it out you'll see significant economic losses. Just from the 10(?) days of limited service CT's economy took a $62M hit.

CTRailfan, I'd respond, but we've been over this again and again. They did the best they absolutely could and that's that.

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by Tommy Meehan » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:11 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:I think the critical part of this for MNR is that they depend on political and public support to continue the subsidies and investment funds. They don't want to risk seeing this issue become the catalyst for eroding that support in a way that might make life very tough for them in the future.
NH2060 wrote:I doubt that and for one simple reason: Westchester, Fairfield, and New Haven counties depend greatly on MNR. You take it out you'll see significant economic losses. Just from the 10(?) days of limited service CT's economy took a $62M hit. .
I'm not suggesting the local legislators would end support for Metro-North, much less try and discontinue the service. That's crazy. What I meant was, I'm suggesting that Metro-North values the good relationships it has with legislators and doesn't want to see those relationships damaged. The refunds were a relatively inexpensive step Metro-North could take to keep everybody happy. Everybody except for a few people who post messages on Railroad.Net, that is. :-)

CTRailfan
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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by CTRailfan » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:33 pm

NH2060 wrote:CTRailfan, I'd respond, but we've been over this again and again. They did the best they absolutely could and that's that.
Yes, we have already been over this. By the numbers, they didn't provide anywhere close to the service that they could have, and if they were using all the equipment available to them, an absurdly large chunk of the Maxi fleet is out of service, which would be a problem in an of itself.

NH2060
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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by NH2060 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:20 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:What I meant was, I'm suggesting that Metro-North values the good relationships it has with legislators and doesn't want to see those relationships damaged. The refunds were a relatively inexpensive step Metro-North could take to keep everybody happy. Everybody except for a few people who post messages on Railroad.Net, that is. :-)
Well when you put it that way it isn't hard to argue and, hopefully, won't lead to an abuse of refund power :-)

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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by lirr42 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:23 pm

NH2060 wrote:...hopefully, won't lead to an abuse of refund power :-)
That's my main concern here. They haven't made the line clear here. What is going to be the deciding factor here going further? Someone else's fault? Not weather-related? Less than 50% of service? What? They've left it far too open ended.

In my opinion they should amend the tariff policy to explicitly state any and all reasons in which MNCR would be in a position to offer refunds. Give that to the politicians and tell them to shut up next time something comes around that doesn't fit those parameters.

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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by ACeInTheHole » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:21 am

Im sorry CTRailfan, but for the patience and sanity of everyone on the forum, please... enough with the lack of the maxi bombs already,. Your drivel is driving me insane.

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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:05 am

Admin note: I think the mod Terminal Proceed would agree it's time to move on from the diesel fleet utilization argument which was exhausted in the other topic as well. Differing opinions are fine, but there's no more need for the back and forth. Thanks.
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ajp
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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by ajp » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:13 pm

when my wife went to the ticket refund "event" she was asked for her September and October monthly and got 50% off her November monthly MAMK-GCT. She didn't think to ask of she didn't have her September with her would she have gotten less of a rebate. Would that have made a difference one wonders?

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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by lirr42 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:19 pm

ajp wrote:when my wife went to the ticket refund "event" she was asked for her September and October monthly and got 50% off her November monthly MAMK-GCT. She didn't think to ask of she didn't have her September with her would she have gotten less of a rebate. Would that have made a difference one wonders?
Yes, it would have. You only get the credit for the portion of the month in which the outage took place. I don't remember the exact date for which the service was fully considered "restored," but if she just traded in her October monthly she probably would have gotten a little more than half the credit she did if she turned in both.

If it was the same no matter how many monthlies you traded in wouldn't people be better off trading in one for their November monthly and the other in for their December monthly!? Then people would get it twice!

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Re: Refunds for NHL Riders & an Unfortunate Precedent Now Se

Post by Amtrak7 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:26 pm

Despite the fact that the outage started on a Wednesday, both weeks' weekly tickets are valid for a 100% credit...

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