Yellowspoon wrote:On a seperate note: When doing research on fares, I noticed that MN has service from 125th to GCT, none of which are on Connecticut bound trains. Only about 15% of the Harlem or Hudson trains allow service between 125th and GCT. Why bother at all? A LEX express is just as fast, and since the service from GCT to 125th is so intermittent, it hardly seems worth the effort.
First of all, there's no way you can be going from 125th to GCT and
be Connecticut-bound at the same time. Opposite directions
I know what you meant, though.
The policy is such because Metro-North is intended to get commuters into the city or out of the city, not so much for getting commuters between points within the city -- that's the job of the subways and the buses. Regarding the New Haven not allowing any GCT<==>125 traffic, same story as the policy at Fordham: the New Haven Line was originally run by the New York, New Haven & Hartford RR, while the Hudson and Harlem Lines were run by New York Central. Although NYNH&H had a deal with NYC to share the trackage rights from Mount Vernon to GCT, the deal prohibited NYNH&H from competing with NYC. That's why NHL trains skip most Bronx stations, and any stops at Fordham are only intended for people going to/from Connecticut, not further into NY City. Even though the original railroads are gone now and MTA operates Metro-North, there is still some distinction due to the state-level funding invested in MNR. New York covers the cost of equipment for the Hudson and Harlem Lines. As for the New Haven, I recall it being a 30/70 split (or something similar) with Connecticut picking up most of the tab -- and rightfully so, as the line and its passengers live mostly in Connecticut. As a result, CDOT doesn't want "its" equipment dollars being spent on people who are only traveling between NY stops that are also served by the Harlem Line.
Getting back to the general lack of "legal" service between GCT<==>125th... as MACTRAXX noted, the fare for this short, 4-mile trip up Park Avenue is "$7.75 Peak; $5.75 Off Peak; On-Board fares: $14 Peak; $12 Off Peak." Cheaper and faster than a cab ride... but by comparison, the (4) and (5) lines of the subway can run from GCT to 125th (one block east of Metro North) in the same amount of time (10-11 minutes) for just $2.75 around the clock, 7 days a week. Not to mention, the subway runs much more frequently.
Presuming most New Yorkers want to reach their destination as quickly and cheaply as possible, the subway wins -- not many people would want to pay double or triple the fare on top of dealing with the scattered track layout when the only benefit is having a cushioned seat versus a plastic one. Not to mention, the MetroCard you use to get on the subway can be used to make free transfers to other subway lines or bus lines... Metro North tickets don't include free transfers. It would be silly for someone to get on MNR at 125th to GCT, only to have to pay even more to get on the subway to continue downtown, when they could have just paid one subway fare for the entire trip.
One could argue that MNR purposely outprices the subway, in order to prevent intra-city passengers from overcrowding MNR trains. It would be pretty stupid if a Poughkeepsie-bound semi-express left GCT overcrowded, only to see 90% of the passengers get off at 125th and then the train is mostly empty the rest of the way. If you Google the history of MNR, you'll find the predecessor railroads originally had more stations within the city (including a few within the Park Ave tunnel, which now serve as emergency exits), but those were eliminated over time, especially as subways and buses became more prevalent uptown and into the Bronx, and even moreso as people started moving out to the suburbs. (If you think a local takes a long time now, imagine several more stops once you hit the NY City border.)