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.
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.
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.