MTA gripe 1

Ok, I do like it up here in the Hudson Valley. Perhaps I’ll get into why in a future post or two. But, here I want to mention one of the things that irks me: the trains. Now, the service on Metro North trains is usually fine; that's not the issue. My problem is their limited frequency.  The first part of my journey to NYC is along the non-electrified, single-track length north of the transfer point--the town of Southeast, with trains running there every two hours during non-peak times, and every hour from there. Since the drive to Southeast is about 20 minutes longer than to my local station, I normally stick with the nearer one, until just recently, when an appointment came up that made me think it a good time to check out Southeast.

Here is a Google Earth image of this roughly half-mile-long train station and parking area...

I arrive at the station with about 10-15 minutes to spare, entering the parking lot from the road emerging from the left side of the image.  A sign directs people with parking passes to the right, and mopes like me to the left, which is a metered area.  The train platform, of course, is way to the right.  The metered parking area is two double rows and about 1000 feet long, and full to the point that I am forced to park near the end (toward the top of the image). I would estimate my spot to be nearly three football fields away from the parking meters, which are on the right edge of the metered area (at the intersection of where I turned left into the metered area). I walk quickly to the meters, and only carrying $20s, I’m wondering if I am going to be stuck with a fistful of dollar coins (the rate is $3.25 for the day) as change. Turns out, I have nothing to worry about in this regard, since the meters do not take any bill larger than $10...

Great, now I have to get from the meters to the train platform, so that I can get my train ticket and change for the parking meter. The distance from the meters to the platform, you wonder? Oh, just about four football fields.  So, I pick up the pace, arrive at the platform, and head up a flight of steps to get to the train ticket machines. I buy the train ticket, and now with change, descend those same steps, and hurry back to feed the parking meter. I turn around and start heading back to the train platform when an older guy runs by me. I asked if we were at the point where running was necessary.  He nodded affirmatively, so I “sprinted” the rest of the way back to the station, ran up the stairs, past the ticket machines, and now totally out of breath...heard the warning signal that the train doors were closing. They shut before I could get down the steps to the track, and the train headed south without me...

The next train? Yep, the next one out of Southeast--an hour later--would have originated up near me.

Now, I called this "MTA gripe 1". It may have been more appropriate to call it "Town of Southeast gripe". I'm not sure. And, sure I could have arrived a couple of minutes earlier to the station, and I could have arrived with smaller change, but it seems that placing one of the train ticket machines near the parking meters, or having a parking meter on the train platform, would have saved me (and who knows how many other riders) some grief…


  1. Ok, since posting this, the parking meters have been upgraded, and now take plastic! I don't know if they take 20s too, but being able to use credit/debit cards will no doubt prevent problems such as the one I encountered.


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