Metro-North has hired Steiner Strategies, the strategic marketing firm that’s working on the new Yankee Stadium with the Brothers McSteinbrenner, to find new revenue streams for the railroad to help offset a massive budget shortfall.
Steiner has worked with the Yankees to create $1,000 “Legends” seats and $250 “Field Championship” seats, and has proposed a similar model for Metro-North trains.
Under the new plan, each of the Metro-North train seats will be assigned a value during peak hours and holidays, and riders can guarantee one of those seats at a markup ranging from 25% to 125% of their usual value.
The various seat sections and markups are as follows:
Commodore’s Choice: The semi-private two-seaters across from the engineer’s cubby (Also known as 1 3/4-seaters for the slightly truncated second seat). The seats fold down and feature their own windows and heaters. Your nearest fellow rider is about eight feet away. 125% markup.
Station Master’s Select: The aisle seat in the last row in the aisle–no one behind you, kicking the back of your seat or breathing down your neck. Legroom on the aisle. 100% markup.
Conductor’s Choice: Aisle seats in the second to last row–no one behind you, no one next to you on the aisle, and typically no one next to you in the middle seat of a three-seater. 100% markup.
Porter’s Preference: The window seats in all three seaters. Usually no one next to you in the three-seater, but you’re boxed in by the person in the aisle seat. 75% markup.
Assistant to the Porter’s Preference: The middle seat in any three-seater; known in biker terms as “sitting bitch,” though bikers don’t spend much time on trains. Neighbors on either side resenting you taking their briefcase’s usual seat. 75% markup.
Porter’s Intern’s Preference: The fold-down seats in the handicapped areas near the door. The seats leave you a little lower than riders in other sections, offering the strange sensation of your fellow riders looking down on you. Often they are looking down on you for taking some handicapped guy’s space. 50% markup.
Janitor’s Select: Seats across from the bathroom. Also known as the Stench Bench. Designed for the “value-minded” customer, Metro-North says, these seats feature a modest 25% markup.
The “Premium Pricing” proposal is being reviewed by the MTA board and could go into effect as soon as July.