Starting this November, Yalies and other Metro-North riders will experience fewer delays during their travels, as trains will begin running every half-hour between New Haven and New York City.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and State Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker announced the new schedule at a press conference yesterday at Union Station, during which local leaders stressed the new schedule’s importance in jumpstarting the local economy. In 2012, a record 39 million passengers traveled on the New Haven-to-Grand Central line — the only major transportation link between New Haven County and Manhattan other than I-95.
“Knowing that a train will be available at least every half hour will make it much easier for customers — whether heading to New York for work or pleasure — to plan their travel,” Redeker said in a statement.
Stamford Mayor David Martin said he believes the project will significantly improve economic development and increase jobs throughout Connecticut, citing Metro-North as the “most important job creator” in the state.
Executive Vice President of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) Joe Brennan added that a modern and efficient transportation network is key to developing a competitive business climate in the New Haven area
“More frequent service between New Haven and New York, along with other upgrades to the Metro-North system, will add more options for business travelers and improve service along this critical line,” Brennan said in a statement.
While municipal leaders underscored the development’s economic importance, many Yale students were excited for different reasons. Yalies traveling to New York City for job interviews said they do not experience difficulties during rush hour times, but missing a train on off-peak periods means waiting at least an hour — an hour that could potentially cause them to miss their interview.
Noah Siegel ’15, who has traveled to the city several times already this semester for job interviews, says the new times will be helpful, especially because New Haven taxis are extremely unpredictable with their arrival times.
In addition to the new schedule, yesterday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it is proposing to extend the New Haven line to Penn Station in Manhattan to further ease crowding and provide access to Manhattan’s West side. This initiative is a part of a recently unveiled $32 billion, four-year capital improvement program.
Thomas Aviles ’16 said the new schedule will be helpful, but potentially adding a stop at Penn Station would be even more beneficial to Yalies hoping to head to Madison Square Garden or the city’s West Side. Extending the line to Penn Station would also allow students to transfer directly to Amtrak, the Long Island Railroad and the New Jersey Transit.
Nastassia Lopez, who lives in New York City but visits her sister at Yale frequently, said that while she believes there were a good number of options when she split time working between Greenwich and New York City, she was frustrated with the discrepancy in express versus local trains on the weekends.
“There should really be an express line going from New Haven to Stamford to New York City on the weekends,” Lopez said. “That way, they could really compete with Amtrak and charge a bit more for the service.”
Mayor Toni Harp proposed developing a one-hour train from New York City to New Haven during the 2013 mayoral campaign, but she has yet to make visible progress on that initiative.
Starting in November, three new midday trains will leave from New Haven on weekdays at 11:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 1:25 p.m., while four new trains will leave from Grand Central Terminal at 9:34 a.m., 10:34 a.m., 11:34 a.m. and 12:34 p.m.