FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Crowding on trains and parking at stations remain big problems for Metro-North train service in Fairfield County but riders also seem pleased with the upgraded M-8 cars, according to the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council's annual report .
Of the 400 M-8 cars ordered by Metro-North, 174 are in service, according to the report.
"The cars are performing well with only minor complaints from riders," the report says.
The organization also lauded the railroad for adding quiet cars to each train and letting passengers know more quickly about delays and other service problems. Riders can now get information about delays from more places, such as email alerts, Facebook and text messages, the report says.
While Metro-North expanded service to the stations in Southport, Greens Farms, East Norwalk and Rowayton, more trains are needed on the Danbury branch that also serves Wilton, Ridgefield, Bethel and Redding, according to the report.
More riders means trains are increasingly crowded even though more cars are in service. Meanwhile, there are five- to eight-year waiting lists for parking permits at some stations in southwestern Connecticut.
"More must be done to expand parking and access to the trains," the report says.
The organization also heard complaints that some passengers' fares aren't being collected.
"The council handles dozens of complaints from riders who see other riders’ tickets go uncollected on the trains," the report says.