Boucher says commuters need a branch line advocate

Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) last week commended Metro-North Railroad for the appointment of a new Waterbury Branch Line advocate but asked whether the railroad will name anyone responsible for improving service on the Danbury line.

“Naming a Waterbury Branch Line advocate is great news for commuters,” Ms. Boucher said in a press release. She serves as ranking member of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.

“Of course, I am left to wonder whether the Danbury line and other branch lines that have thousands of daily rail commuters will receive the same attention. Commuters on the Waterbury line have expressed their frustration, and for good reason. But so have commuters on the Danbury line, and they have done so for many years.

“Danbury line riders often tell me they feel that Metro-North is not listening to them,” she continued. “They have complaint fatigue. They feel unsure if they’ll get to work on time, or even get home safely. You can’t keep a job if you can’t show up on time on a regular basis. This is a rail line with more than 2,000 daily passengers. Earlier this year, one veteran commuter told me she finds the deterioration of service so maddening that she is considering walking away from her job of 14 years or moving someplace else because she cannot take much more.

“Others bypass their branch line that is close to home and drive miles away to pick up the main line. This adds to congestion on our roadways and worsens the already tight parking situation in other towns and cities. If more attention was placed on our branch lines we could improve commutes and the region’s economy, not to mention real estate values.

“This train is crucial to the tri-state economy. I certainly hope Metro-North’s commitment to commuters will be made on all rail lines, including Danbury’s. Connecticut’s riders deserve this attention.”

Ms. Boucher said she will be writing to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urging him to join her in calling for Metro-North Railroad to appoint more rail advocates.