Letter: Frustrated commuter gives up on Metro-North

To the Editor:

Not only do I completely agree and sympathize with the frustrations described in your article of Jan. 30, but I have actually changed my life’s course as a result of the permanent snafu described therein. After being terminated at my high-powered, high reward job in New York City, I have simply decided that any job or occupation in the future will need to be within 20 minutes of my home in Darien. No more commuting.

For more than 10 years, after working 12 hours a day like many Darien “salarymen” (and yes, only we men are actually dumb enough to put up with this), I had to experience each day the “hell on wheels” that is Metro-North.

Weeknights, I could rarely see my kids because of the commute; I could not afford to go to theatre in NYC because the trains don’t run at the right times and car services are expensive; and the long and unpredictable commute made me too tired most evenings to attend local events back here in Darien.

Year by year, I grew more exhausted and fell into the “life of quiet desperation” that is commuting to NYC. And finally when circumstances pushed me, I decided to take action and free myself from voluntary servitude. I have not looked back.

In your article, David Bayne talks about the railroad’s human error being harder to forgive. I agree fully but the real “human error” is being made by the governor and assembly of the state of Connecticut who siphon most of our income taxes off to pay for the rest of the dtate’s needs yet fail to maintain the basic infrastructure for Darien commuters. Our trains were ordered years after New York’s and many of the delays continue to occur on our track (does anyone realize that the equivalent of Amtrak in the 1910’s ran faster to Boston than the non-Acela trains today due to the better track quality?).

For one person to stop commuting to NYC (and thereby earn much less money) has no material effect on our community. But if enough commuters become discouraged, then our state. county, and town will suffer tremendously.

In the notorious words of President Obama, come on governor and assembly, you didn’t build that Metro-North, you haven’t maintained that railroad, and you couldn’t care less about the passengers. If the appropriate role of state government is not to maintain the lifeline of our region, then I don’t know what is. We stopped fighting colonial wars long ago.

Elliot Royce


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