Commuters giving Fairfield Metro thumbs up
But he may not be heading to New York City from there much longer. Instead, the Trumbull resident said he may instead catch the train from the next point west on the New Haven Line, the new Fairfield Metro station.
"I've had a look at it, and it looks good," he said of the new station. "There's a lot of parking there, so that might work out better for me."
Six minutes later, Lynch's train pulled into the new Fairfield station. As he gazed out the window, the station's 1,400-space commuter parking lot stretched across the landscape. But, so far, relatively few cars appeared to be scattered across the expanse.
Only a couple of passengers boarded Lynch's car at Fairfield Metro during a tranquil morning on the first day of service at the town's third rail depot.
In contrast, dozens of passengers shuffled into the same car a few minutes later when the train arrived at the downtown Fairfield station.
The Fairfield Metro station showed more activity an hour-and-a-half later, as passengers arrived for an 8:46 train to Grand Central. Many riders who live near Fairfield Metro said they are pleased that they no longer had to travel to the downtown station to begin their commutes.
"I think it looks great," said Rick Reyes, a musician and textiles salesman. "The nice thing is that I can walk to this station."
Reyes added, however, that he would have preferred a different station name.
"This station is called Fairfield Metro and then you have the other station, which is just Fairfield," he said. "I think that could create confusion for people who aren't from the area. Black Rock would have been a good name."
Amy Jackson, a Fairfield resident who commutes twice a week into New York City for a marketing job, also said she would have chosen a different station name. In general, though, she is hopeful the new station improves her commuting experience.
"I'm hoping to get a seat by getting on here," she said. "I think it will be a lot better than getting on at the other Fairfield station with 300 people."
With many commuters like Jackson switching from the downtown Fairfield station to Fairfield Metro, passengers who use the former station may find fewer seats on their trains. But several riders who use the Metro-North station downtown, said they still support opening Fairfield Metro.
"I think that it could make things easier," said Elisabeth Ohlenberg, who Monday morning was headed to Grand Central Terminal with her husband, Charles.
The Ohlenbergs live within walking distance of the downtown station and said the new 1,400-space commuter lot at Fairfield Metro could relieve the demand for spaces at the older depot.
In Westport, many New York-bound commuters also expressed a favorable view of Fairfield Metro.
"It shouldn't affect me at all," Adam Bove said of the new station. "I don't think there will be any problems."
On the New Haven-bound platform of the Westport station, Anetta James waited for a train scheduled to stop next at the downtown Fairfield station. Later in the day, however, she said she would be taking her first train to Fairfield Metro. The new station is much closer to her Fairfield home, and she said she also plans to use that depot to start her commute to Stamford, where she works as a registered nurse. Previously, she had taken cabs from her home to the downtown station.
"I was glad when I heard that it was opening," she said. "It might save me $4 or $5 in cab fare, so that's good. I think it's going to make a big difference."
By Monday evening, Mitch Fuchs, a Fairfield member of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, told the Fairfield Citizen he had not heard of any major problems during Fairfield Metro's first day of service.
"There are some finishing touches that are needed, but for the most part I think it went smoothly," he said. "Getting more people on the train is a great thing."