What's wrong with Metro-North?

Commuters will have a chance to tell the state's top transportation official just what they think of the beleaguered railroad at a meeting Tuesday night, Feb. 18, at the Pequot Library in Southport.

The meeting is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. at the 720 Pequot Ave. library and is open to the public.

The session is billed as a "Metro North Commuter Speakout" and is sponsored by the Citizens Transportation Lobby, a consumer group.

State Transportation Commissioner James Redeker will be on hand, and discussion will be moderated by an official of the League of Women Voters, the sponsors said. Metro North's new president, Joseph Giulietti, also has been invited.

One of the nation's busiest commuter lines, the railroad and its passengers have faced one crisis after another in the past year, including fatal accidents, a series of shutdowns, serious personnel issues and troubling questions about its safety and maintenance records and about its management.

The litany of problems prompted the resignation last month of the railroad's previous president, Howard Permut. Less than two weeks later, on Jan. 23, the entire system came to a screeching halt during the evening rush hour because of what the railroad said was "human error."

Five days later, a railroad employee was charged with sexually assaulting a female passenger aboard a train as it approached the downtown Fairfield station.