Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why Can't They...

Every week I bump into someone on the train or at a store who says… “Hey… You’re that train guy!”  Who knew that this job would come with such notoriety? 

How did I come to this “commuter advocacy” job?  First, from a passion for trains but more importantly from a belief that even one person can provoke change.  Your voice matters, especially when you direct it to your State Rep and State Senators in an election year.
Everybody’s affected by our transportation problems and everybody has a question.

Here are a few of my favorites, by category:

Why can’t they get disabled cars and trucks off the road quicker, avoiding back-ups?
Why don’t the raise the speed limit on the interstates to reflect the real speeds that people drive?
Why are the overhead lights on our interstates and parkways always burned out instead of illuminating the road for better nighttime safety?
Why can’t they keep truck inspection / weigh stations open 24 x 7?
Why are gasoline prices on the interstates’ service areas always higher than on local roads?
Why do we have “zone pricing” for gasoline in Connecticut instead of letting competition determine the lowest price?

Why are airlines allowed to squeeze more people on planes, in tighter seats with no knee room?  Is that really safe?
Why do the airlines always lie to us about delays?
Why can’t families with screaming kids be seated in their own section, away from me?
Why does the car service to the airport cost more than my flight?

Why can’t they collect all the tickets on the trains?
Why do the train conductors hide in their compartments?
Why doesn’t somebody enforce the Quiet Car rules?
Why has CDOT waited so long to bring back the bar cars?
Why do I have to stand all the way to New York at rush hour because CDOT waited so long to order new cars, meaning there aren’t enough seats?
Why don’t they have carts selling coffee and donuts in the morning, run by Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks?
Why isn’t there a choice of first or business class seating on Metro-North?
Why don’t we have Wi-Fi?  Amtrak does!
Why can’t we get a rebate on our ticket price when trains are late or service is cancelled?
Why are fares on Metro-North the highest commuter rail fares in the US?
Why is there an eight year waiting list for parking permits at my train station?  Why don’t they just build more parking?
Why do they charge a fee to get a refund on unused train tickets?  And why do tickets even expire?
Why isn’t there a map at each station showing how to get to local businesses and landmarks without taking a cab?
Why can’t lawmakers in Hartford be required to commute on Metro-North at rush hour before they vote on the CDOT budget or fare increases?
Why has CDOT taken more than three years to negotiate a contract to rebuild the Stamford parking garage, let alone start construction?
Why are station waiting rooms kept locked on nights and weekends in the winter?

Over the years I’ve found that even these simple questions all have complex answers.  If the issues were so easily addressed, they’d have been solved long ago.

But what are your pet peeves?  What are the questions that you have about “getting there”?  Send them along and let’s see if we can’t help find the answers:

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