Metra Apologizes For BNSF Changes, Overcrowding, But Riders Still Not Happy

Bernie Tafoya
June 13, 2018 - 9:20 am

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Metra is apologizing to Burlington Northern Santa Fe line riders for the crowded trains they've experienced since the line’s new schedule began on Monday.  

Blasts at Metra on social media were the first signs the new BNSF schedule was not sitting well with riders, especially those who were having to stand during their commutes. 

One person wrote on Twitter: "Standing room in all cars again. Conductors can’t even take fares. Also, we left late again. New schedule is a disaster."

Metra said the new BNSF schedule was needed because of procedures required for its new Positive Train Control safety equipment, prompting another person on Twitter to call the system, "Perpetual Train Congestion". 

At the Metra station in Hinsdale, commuter Sandra said she emailed Metra four times about the problems until she got a response.

"People had to stand. It was crowded. The first day the conductor was rude," she said.

Another rider told WBBM, "They haven’t taken a ticket yet since I’ve been on the train. Too many people. They haven’t taken a ticket….thinking I can cancel my monthly and just go on the train now."

Kanchana Siddhisna related her experience saying, "the conductor was a little crabby saying, find a seat and sit down which is not a good thing, because we didn’t have any seats."

Anchit Panchal said, "I usually get a seat on the second floor, above, with no problem, but yesterday and the day before I had to stand where the doors open. I had to stand the whole time. It was really hot and muggy and there was a lot of people there."

In light of Metra's apology to riders, however, Panchal said he's willing to give the agency a second chance. 

Metra apologized and plans to add more cars to some trains starting Wednesday morning.  The schedule change was prompted by new procedures required in setting up safety equipment for each run.

Metra said that changes may be needed as riders get used to the schedule and “adopt new travel patterns,” but rider Sandra said, "that would be nice, but many of us are in a situation where either children or work, you can’t do it. Have to get on a train and have to stand if that’s what it’s going to do, because you just can’t adjust that much."

The Twitterverse even had comments about that. One rider posted that you have to read Metra's apology "while standing in your over-crowded train."