Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday he would “put the full power of the state of Connecticut” into ensuring state ticket holders are compensated for the extended service disruptions on Metro-North’s New Haven Line.
“I have told Metro North and the MTA in no uncertain terms that I expect them to produce a plan to compensate Connecticut riders for the lack of service,” he said at an unrelated press conference. “As you know, I’m more than willing to put the full power of the state of Connecticut behind that demand.”
The railroad has been running at a fraction of its normal capacity since Wednesday when power supply equipment to the rail line between Stamford and Grand Central Station stopped functioning. Malloy said the disruptions were not caused by weather or what the state considers an “act of God.”
The governor said he did not expect riders to have to fight the issue in court.
“It’s very difficult for a consumer to sue over a $20 loss. It doesn’t make economic sense. That’s why I’ve made it very clear that the full authority of the state stands behind this one,” he said. “That’s why I’ve urged them … to quickly come up with compensation plan for our riders.”
A spokeswoman for MTA and Metro-North said that no decision has yet been made on whether refunds will be issued.
Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, said the incident reinforces the need for a policy change regarding rail commuters. She proposed unsuccessful legislation during this year’s session which would have required that rail ticket validity be extended following service disruptions of more than 48 hours. In a statement, she said she would reintroduce the bill next year if necessary.
“These tickets cost hundreds of dollars. Commuters put up with enough. They deserve reassurance that they won’t lose their money if rail service is disrupted for any length of time. However it’s done, they need a policy to protect them now,” she said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty have called for Congressional hearings to identify problems in rail infrastructure where immediate investment may be necessary. In a Friday statement, Blumenthal called the equipment failure “inexcusable.”
“For the second time this year, failing rail infrastructure has caused catastrophic delays and cancellations, resulting in cascading delays and congestion throughout our region’s already overcrowded highways,” he said. “For the 125,000 daily commuters who rely on our rail lines—the busiest lines in the nation—and our regional economy as a whole, this is unacceptable and intolerable.”