Our blogging brethren over at IRidetheHarlemLine scores a pretty good get–a sitdown with Metro-North President Howard Permut.
Permut, who’s been with Metro-North since it debuted in 1983, offers an entertaining look at, as he describes it, the railroad going from worst in the nation to first.
My memories from the beginning were that nothing worked. If you go back to 1983 the trains were rarely ever on time, the heat was always working in the summer, and the air conditioning in the winter, Grand Central was a homeless shelter – we had 900 people living in Grand Central when we took over – there was nothing good about Metro-North.
One memory I always have is on the Harlem Line, taking a trip up in the old coaches – and they came from any place in the world that ConRail could find them. Literally the whole trip to Pleasantville, in a cold car in October, I was holding up the side of the wainscoting, the side of the train, because I thought it was going to fall on me.
Permut talks about how the railroad doubled its ridership in 30 years, the decision to drop “Commuter” from the Metro-North name years ago, recent moves to expand service, and the advice he has for Metro-North riders.
If they see things that they think we should make improvements on that they should let us know. We take very seriously all the letters we get, I personally read every single letter that is sent to me, and if they have really good ideas we will follow up on them.