Gather round Team CT Commute and those who care about their plight. We've got good news and bad news to discuss. First, the good. A few years back, your right to the one thing that makes the lives of people slogging back to CT each day after what was probably a miserable twelve hours on the job worth living was threatened. Obviously I'm talking about the right to get smashed on the ride home. They wanted to take that way from you, and they tried, hard. Unfortunately they didn't anticipate just how important Happy Hour on Wheels is to your existence, or that the proposed ban would awaken a fire no one saw coming. You fought back and you won. And all was good in the world, for a while. Then, a few months ago, it happened again. Citing the "recession," officials said that new trains might not include a place to booze it up, claiming more seats are a bigger priority than the bar car. It was like they were trying to suck out our wills to live. Things have been tense to say the least since then, operating in a state of uncertainty, not knowing if today would be the last day you'd get to mix it up with your fellow financial services hacks while chugging a Tall Boy. This morning though, news came over the wire that should offer some relief:
It looks like the party will keep on rolling on the Metro-North Railroad's Connecticut trains, as officials are moving forward with plans to replace out-of-date bar cars with new ones.
Having said that, the bad news is that whoever is in charge of designing these things apparently has never ridden a bar car, or he/she would understand there are some serious design flaws to the plans. Currently, the set up of the old cars facilitates situations like this:
With the new cars, there'll be none of that. And that's a problem.
Bar-car regulars...are worried, though, about the proposed design. It includes three rows of seats, four banquette-style tables and three round tables in the middle of the car. That will leave far less standing space than on the current set of cars. "We want to stand around and talk, and not be sitting in tiny little groups of four," said Terri Cronin, the vice chair of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, which has been surveying passengers about the new designs.
"It's like a big group party," Ms. Cronin said. "You end up talking to all these people you never would have talked to if you were sitting in all these little social pods everywhere."
Ms. Cronin and other passengers say they don't want to get stuck in small groups at tables. They'd rather mingle. Ms. Cronin said that's how she's met business contacts and made good friends in the bar car.
CT, this is serious. Don't take Ms. Cronin's "business contacts" away from her. Fight this one hard.