NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A train commuter leader launched an online effort Monday that included social media to air complaints directly to Metro-North Railroad and elected officials, saying commuters are fed up after recent derailments, service outages and stranded passengers.
Jim Cameron said the Commuter Action Group is encouraging commuters to immediately report problems such as late trains and lack of heat directly to the railroad and copy the email or tweet to their elected official.
The group is providing links to the railroad's complaint page and to lawmakers and encouraging commuters to take photos with their smartphones. Among the complaints retweeted by the group Monday, commuters cited delays, a lack of communication and a train that was two cars short, so many passengers were standing.
"My hope is that we're going to finally be able to capture not only the number but the depth of commuters who are angry about how bad service has got," Cameron said. "I don't think elected officials can ignore that. If they do, come November we will remember who helped us and who didn't."
Metro-North defended its response to complaints.
"Metro-North has a well-trained workforce of front-line employees who are in a position to, and do, resolve thousands of issues in real time each day: namely, train crew members and ticket sellers," the railroad said in a statement. "For those who need additional assistance, we have a responsive customer service department that responds to every email it receives through MTA.info and phone call it receives through 511, as well as incoming tweets from Metro-North customers."
The campaign comes after a train derailed in New York in December that killed four passengers and a derailment in May in Bridgeport that injured 73. Also in May, a track foreman was struck and killed by a passenger train in West Haven.