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Metro-North Low-Volume Riders Not Being 'Punished'

NORWALK, Conn. – Metro-North riders know it is cheaper to buy tickets at the station than on the train, but a reader of The Daily Norwalk wondered whether riders on the Danbury Branch were being "punished" with the new fare hike.

With train fares going up Sunday, Mel Huang checked online to see how much the increase is. He wondered whether he was being punished.

Huang gets on the Danbury Branch at the Merritt 7 station, which has no ticket machine. Metro-North has always charged the same onboard as it would at a ticket machine, but an online MTA chart indicated that the policy would no longer be in effect.

The fare should have been going up to $10 from there, but it looked as if it would now cost $17 for an off-peak fare to Grand Central Terminal.

Marjorie Anders, media liaison for Metro-North, had not heard of the problem. But she checked and agreed that the chart was misleading. The policy is the same as it has always been, she said.

"The higher, on-board fare is waived for customers boarding at any station without a ticket vending machine, including Merritt 7," she wrote in an email. "There are about 18 stations in that category, most in Connecticut. These are stations with low ridership. None of the Waterbury Branch stations have TVMs, only Wilton and Danbury have them on the Danbury branch and only New Canaan has a TVM on the New Canaan Branch."

Metro-North's customer service department was looking into changing the chart to make it more clear to customers. "It's a big website, and we are constantly making improvements," Anders said.

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