In response to the fatal Dec. 1 derailment of a Metro-North Hudson Line train, the MTA has suspended all service on the Hudson Line south of Tarrytown, N.Y., until further notice. As a result, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has authorized an inter-county shuttle service to assist area residents and to ease their inconvenience.
“To assist our commuters wishing to access Grand Central Station, I have authorized a free round-trip shuttle service beginning this morning (Dec. 2) from both the Garrison and Cold Spring stations to the Southeast station,” said Odell. “We will provide this shuttle service until the Metro-North Hudson Line service is restored.”
The temporary shuttle will bring commuters to Southeast for their morning commute using the Metro-North Harlem Line and in the evening, it will return them to either the Cold Spring, N.Y., or Garrison, N.Y., stations.
Six morning shuttles will depart the Cold Spring station for Southeast with the first bus leaving at 5:00 a.m. Additional shuttles will run at 5:15; 6:00; 6:15; 6:30; and 7:15 a.m. Three morning shuttles will depart from the Garrison station for Southeast at the following times: 5:00; 6:30; and 8:00 a.m.
In the evening, a return shuttle service will carry commuters from Southeast to either Garrison or Cold Spring. Evening departures from Southeast are scheduled at 6:00; 6:30; and 7:15.
Getting the word out to Putnam’s commuters became a priority Sunday afternoon. Odell ordered the Incident Command Structure be put into place.
“I activated the ICS so we could better manage the situation,” Odell said.
ICS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and non-governmental organizations to work together during an emergency event.
Odell also called for reverse 9-1-1 calls to be implemented so commuters would receive telephone messages concerning the shuttle service.
“We took the initiative without waiting to hear from Metro-North to make sure that information was transmitted to our commuters. By taking advantage of reverse 9-1-1 calling, we were able to reach out to everyone west of Route 52 and make them aware of the problem and of the shuttle service we were offering for their convenience,” Odell said.
The commuter shuttles will be available Monday through Friday. Weekend travel into New York City is still encouraged. Residents may drive to the Southeast station and park their vehicle in the ample metered commuter parking lot.
As a co-chair of the Mid-Hudson Regional Transportation Council, Odell hopes to have a meeting once the commuter situation is resolved.
“We want to review how, after the incident took place, the communication process worked and how we can improve upon it,” she said.
Odell said the thoughts and prayers of everyone in Putnam are with the families of the four individuals who were killed and the numerous passengers who were injured in Sunday’s derailment. Among those killed was Philipstown, N.Y., resident Jim Lovell who leaves his wife, Councilwoman Nancy Montgomery and four children.
“At any time a tragedy like this is difficult but perhaps more so after celebrating Thanksgiving and spending a weekend with family and friends and feeling so grateful. To open the holiday season with a tragedy like this is certainly a reality check for all of us. But the Putnam County family will always do what we do – and that’s ‘to be there’ with them and to support them in any way we can.”