Conductor apologizes; MTA comms team responds

Metro-North Railroad's in-house team is handling communications without agency help after one of its conductors taped an apology to hundreds of seats on Monday after a scheduling mistake.

Metro-North Railroad's in-house team is handling communications without agency help after one of its conductors taped an apology to hundreds of seats on Monday after a scheduling mistake.

The conductor told customers he is as “sick as apologizing…as you are of hearing it” with regards to poor information about train times.

In response, Metro-North issued a statement acknowledging that railroad union president and conductor Mike Shaw's open letter expressed the “same frustration that customers and employees alike feel about the railroad's recent challenges.”

Yet the railroad said it does not condone his method of communicating his grievances, adding that Shaw “made assumptions about train service based on his long experience, but Metro-North operations managers can and do make changes based on the conditions they encounter.”

Metro-North's statement urged customers to check the MTA website, the Metro-North Train Time app, and official social media posts, as well as to register for text messages and email alerts to keep up with schedule changes.

“[Shaw] will not lose his job, but he will be reinstructed,” Meredith Daniels, media liaison at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, told PRWeek.

Daniels would not comment on the railroad's communications strategy in response to the note. 

 

Thirty-year railroad veteran Shaw reportedly told passengers on platforms at four Connecticut stations on Friday that a Manhattan-bound express train would imminently follow his local train. However, the railroad cancelled the express trip after its schedule was interrupted due to a train developing equipment problems, according to Metro-North.

Last month, a system malfunction in the railroad's control center brought trains to a standstill until just before 10 pm on a week night, filling Grand Central Terminal with stranded riders. That followed a crisis-ridden 2013 for the MTA that included five derailments, the most recent of which occurred in December and left four passengers dead and 75 injured in the Bronx.

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