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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Changes on track for Bronx commuters

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
An evening train pulls into Spuyten Duyvil station on Jan. 27 on time.

After Riverdalian Lisa Siegel boarded a Metro-North train at Grand Central Station just before 8 p.m. on Jan. 23, she said an announcement warning of a potential delay prompted her and some friends to get off of the train and seek another route home.

Ms. Siegel, who took the subway home, saved herself a lengthy wait. It ended up taking authorities nearly two hours to restore service to Metro-North lines after workers reportedly shut down electricity to a key computer system by accident last Thursday night.

With inclement weather causing other, shorter delays to train and bus service in recent days, commuters like Ms. Siegel are growing irked.

“It’s been happening too much lately,” Ms. Siegel said at the Spuyten Duyvil station on Monday night. “It doesn’t seem like they’ve resolved whatever their issues are, and it’s a little frustrating.”

The power outage came at a time of flux for Metro-North, which will welcome a new president and launch the start of a major expansion into the east Bronx over the coming months.

Metro-North President Howard Permut announced his resignation following the deadly train derailment near the Spuyten Duyvil station on Dec. 1.

Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) board member Charles Moerdler said Mr. Permut had indicated retirement plans prior to the crash, but that stress from the accident and its aftermath likely prompted Mr. Permut to retire earlier.

“This is the man who took a broken down old railroad called Conrail and turned it into the nation’s premier commuter line,” Mr. Moerdler said of Mr. Permut.

Joseph Giuletti, who helped found the Metro-North line in 1983 and currently works for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, is expected to return to Metro-North as president in the coming weeks. He could not be reached for comment for this article.

He will oversee the expansion of the Metro-North line into the east Bronx, a step Mr. Moerdler and MTA Vice Chairman Fernando Ferrer have sought for years.

At his State of the State Address earlier this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans for new stops in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point.

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