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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Toilet in Tarrytown

Have you ever wished you had enough time to deal with life's annoyances? Well I am taking the day off today so thought I would find out why the men's bathroom at the Tarrytown Metro North station, used by thousands of commuters, is "out of order" and how long it's going to take to fix it. I don't have to tell you how important an issue like this can be to our quality of life...

So first I called the telephone number for complaints and comments posted right by the station's ticket window. The sign indicated that it was available 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. After trying three times and letting it ring at least 20 times with no answer (and no recording), I thought of going online to see if it was the right number. Turns out that it no longer is, and you have to call 511 and go through the usual long list of choices. Too much trouble to put a recording on the old number and let us know that? Apparently so.

Okay, so I called 511 and went through my many, many options, finally saying "comments and concerns" into the telephone as instructed. Amazingly, this actually transferred me to a real human being--imagine my surprise (how easy it is to be cynical.)

So this nice lady said she would immediately send an email to the Tarrytown station manager and make inquiries, and call me back when she found out more. Again, surprisingly, the station manager emailed back while we were still on the phone with a preliminary response.

Now it gets a little more typical. The station manager did not know when the bathroom would be fixed (isn't that something he should be concerned and curious about, given that he is the station manager?) He also indicated that since the Village of Tarrytown has certain responsibilities for running certain aspects of the station (the Village Hall is right across the street), it was not clear to him whether the village or the structures department of Metro North was responsible for the repairs. So he agreed to contact the structures department and find out more. The nice lady agreed to call me back when she had more information, perhaps as early as this afternoon.

So things could have been worse, but isn't this actually already pretty bad (I return to the issue of the station manager's ignorance--is this really the first time anyone has asked about it after several days of "out of order" status?

There are some other issues concerning Tarrytown station (a major stop on the Hudson Line) which I will save for a subsequent post. For, as you can see, I've decided not to let this one drop. Sometimes in life we just have to find time for the little things--the things that we can actually do something about.

Update 11 am: So the nice lady has now left a message on my cell phone updating me on the situation. It turns out that the bathroom was closed because there is some sort of blockage in the sewer lines that lead to the toilets, or possibly a crushed sewer pipe. MTA or Metro North (not clear which), possibly together with the Village of Tarrytown, is now hiring a company to investigate, which will involve putting a camera into the sewer pipes to see what is going on. That will determine whether Metro North (MTA) will be responsible for fixing the problem, or the Village of Tarrytown. The nice lady apologized and said it was too soon to know whether it would be sooner or later before the bathroom was operational again. Does this sound like the kind of thing that could go on for weeks or months? And what if MTA and the village can't agree on who is responsible? All I can hope is that they see the @MetroNorth and @MTA tags in my Tweets of these blog posts and get on the problem quickly. Unfortunately I am only in the area until April 7, and then back again briefly late April, but will monitor progress as best I can.

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