PATCO boss apologizes for service disruptions

PATCO High Speed train on the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Service on PATCO suffered disruptions again Wednesday even as the railroad's general manager, John Rink, was apologizing for a series of problems that have made High-Speed Line passengers late and frustrated.

The commuter rail line has been bedeviled in recent days with breakdowns and equipment shortages that have delayed service, resulted in crowded platforms and trains, and triggered outrage on Twitter.

In  a statement, Rink was frank.

"We are very sorry for our recent level of service," he said. "We know that, in recent weeks, we have failed to provide the level of service you expect and deserve. We are monitoring customer feedback and we have heard the frustration of passengers who have withstood extended wait times, crowding on our platforms and in our trains. What our customers have experienced is not the level of service we strive to provide and we continue to take steps to improve our service."

He said PATCO is working to fix the problems and has been replacing traction motors on trains since the Jan. 7 snowstorm.

That work apparently has caused a shortage in operating trains, and hours after the apology was issued, PATCO was again reporting problems Wednesday.

And the complaints followed.

Still, there was some support for PATCO's beleaguered workers.

Meanwhile, the agency on Wednesday was also calming riders' fears about sparks being seen. PATCO said the sparking was common on electrical rails due to moisture and not a cause for concern.

PATCO carries nearly 40,000 riders per day and is in the midst of a project to rebuild its aging fleet of trains.