A Message to Our Customers
March 3, 2014
In the short time I have been President of Metro-North, I have spent a considerable amount of time speaking with the people whose lives this railroad affects so deeply – the elected officials who support it, the employees who make it run, and most importantly, you – our customers who ride it.
I realize how frustrated you are, and that you are eager to see Metro-North service return to what it had been just a year ago.
That is why I want to share with you a summary of our 100-Day Action Plan. This is Metro-North's first important step toward re-establishing a safe and reliable service. This course of action includes feedback from you, as well as elected officials and our employees.
This plan focuses on Metro-North returning to the basics of good railroading. This requires, first and foremost, that we rebuild the culture of safety at Metro-North that had served as the railroad's foundation.
Doing so will not be quick or easy. Diagnosing all the issues and establishing comprehensive corrective actions will take some time.
There are also three important external reviews currently underway that will inform our efforts:
- A Blue Ribbon Panel on Safety, established by MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, and comprised of five of the most distinguished railroad and transportation experts in the nation.
- A "Deep Dive" review of our safety, operations and training areas conducted by the Federal Railroad Administration.
- The continuing investigations being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of each incident last year and provide recommendations for corrective action.
We expect the FRA's Deep Dive and the MTA Blue Ribbon Panel reviews to be completed soon. The NTSB investigations will likely be completed this fall, although a number of specific recommendations have already been issued and either have been addressed or are under evaluation for implementation.
Our 100-day plan will be adjusted to reflect certain elements developed after we receive the results of the MTA Blue Ribbon Panel and FRA Deep Dive reviews.
We also welcome any feedback that you, our customers, want to provide about this action plan. You can send us your comments via email here (put "100-Day Action Plan" in the subject line).
A key effort that was undertaken immediately after the Bridgeport derailment last May, included retaining Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI)-the internationally-renowned research affiliate of the American Association of Railroads-to assess and improve track maintenance and inspections. Metro-North also undertook a comprehensive right-of-way improvement program to address track conditions on all three lines.
We realize that the promise of a safer, more reliable service is not enough; Metro-North must develop concrete plans and actions and deliver on them.
This 100-Day Action Plan is an important first step. While we continue to develop this plan, as previously stated, I wanted to provide you with a general summary of the key themes and initiatives that we have identified to date.
You will be able to see the progress we make on our promises through regular updates posted on this website.
Our priorities are simple:
- We need to operate safely.
- We need to start communicating better.
- We need to bring back Metro-North's legendary on-time performance.
I commit here my efforts and the efforts of the men and women of this railroad to finding and fixing the underlying problems that caused such a series of failures in 2013. And we will do so with a sense of urgency.
But I expect to accomplish more than that.
Just one year ago, Metro-North was almost universally considered the best railroad in the United States. My goal is to restore that reputation by providing excellent service delivered on a solid foundation of safety.
It's what you deserve. It's what this region deserves. I won't settle for less.
Joseph J. Giulietti