Tuesday, March 25, 2014


(Reading time 75 seconds)

Anyone who has followed me over the years knows my passion for improving Metro-North, the commuter railroad that connects Connecticut with NYC.

Late in 2013 I resigned from the official CT Metro-North Commuter Council after 19 years when it became clear that deteriorating train service was not being addressed by the railroad or the State.  My blog proclaimed that I had “resigned, but not quit”.

In January, I launched a new effort, The Commuter Action Group, focused on social media.  I knew that 125,000 daily riders had time and smartphones and we could harness both to affect change.

Our website (built using free software) connected commuters directly with the railroad and their elected officials.  The Twitter feed kept them updated on service outages and our Facebook page provided a forum for longer discussions.

The media pick-up was incredible.  In a month we had 500 opt-in e-mails, 2,300 Twitter followers and a thousand visitors to the Facebook page.  Complaints to the railroad more than doubled and lawmakers were suddenly focused on fixing the problem.

A “Commuter Speakout” event, which drew almost 200 angry commuters, dozens of politicians, four TV stations and all the major state media generated coverage seen by millions.

The campaign worked.  And it wasn’t expensive.  Aside from my time and energy, the total out-of-pocket cost was $12…  $10 to register the domain name and $2 to make some flyers.


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