For years now, MTA officials have been trying to take away one of the last remaining "privileges" enjoyed by adults schlepping home from Grand Central on Metro North: Alcohol. First they tried to just ban booze, but backed down in the face of an outcry (and the fact that alcohol sales brought in $1 million profit for the MTA at the time). But with the introduction of a new fleet of 300 train cars to replace the 1970s-era models, it seems The Man is one step closer to wresting the bottle from riders on the New Haven line. Not a single new bar car has been built, and the old wood-paneled ones aren't compatible with the new fleet!
"A decision was made early on that more seats on the trains was our top priority and that bar cars—as popular as they are—could wait," said Judd Everhart, a spokesman for Connecticut’s department of transportation, tells the Times. "It was about that simple." It may be simple for the guy who doesn't commute back and forth to Manhattan every day, but tippling travelers in the trenches are tetchy. "It raises my anxiety level," says Tom Skinner, a marketing executive who, in his spare time, runs a website devoted to bar cars. "There’s always people trying to scuttle the bar cars. It’s just a fact of life."
"The commute is so bad as it is," chimed in Paul Hornung, a financial worker, as he sipped a Stella Artois. "This is the one thing you can look forward to." Which is a little sad, but we definitely relate. And what makes this news even more upsetting is that the designer of the new Metro North cars was actually contracted to design bar cars as well! His designs include "more space for group seating and a smaller, more streamlined bar to replace the current cramped setup."
But these bar cars of the future may never see the light of day, and Connecticut rail officials wouldn't even release images of the prototypes to the Times. We suppose they're worried that if the bar car crowd ever caught a glimpse of the new rolling saloon that was so senselessly denied, they'd surely riot. And who could blame them? A rush hour commute to Connecticut without a drop of alcoholic to silence the voices in your head is enough to rile anyone up.