Friday, November 30, 2007

MBTA out thousands in refunds

This morning's Boston Metro published a lengthy article about how the MBTA has had to issue thousands of dollars because of ongoing service issues.

For September and October 2007, the T refunded $262,142 to commuters mainly because of the dismal performance of the commuter rail lines.

As part of the T's "On-Time Performance Guarantee," 10,570 commuters received refunds in October and 12,659 commuters got refunds for September. I'm one of those commuters who has submitted refund requests! I would gladly trade in my refunded fares for better on-time performance.

The bad buzz for the T continues. Along with shelling out $262,142 in refunds, the T has had to deal with irate commuters (this blog is just one example of how angry we are). In today's article, the Metro noted that they are receiving hundreds of emails from commuter rail riders just in the past month. Commuters have said that the delays range from 10 minutes to over an hour.

Unfortunately, if your delayed train is only 25 minutes late, you can't receive a refund. The "On-Time Performance Guarantee" is only good for trips delays longer than a 1/2 hour. And the T has been very slow to process the claims.

Overall, the T is running at a 9 billion deficit. That's crazy money, huh? To help manage their debt, the MBTA fines the MBCR (the lovely organization that runs the commuter rail) each time commuter rails are delayed. Since July, the MBCR had to pay $782,324 in fines for poor on-time performances. In October and November, about 30% of all commuter rail trains ran late.

Everyone has an excuse. The T has excuses for having such a large deficit. The MBCR is blaming the new Greenbush line and "aging" equipment for train delays. Blah, blah, blah.

Of course, I don't understand why they needed to add the Greenbush line. Residents in Hingham and other South Shore towns were against it and commuters South of Boston already have a wonderful ferry service and they are in driving distance to both the Red Line and other Commuter Rail lines. If you ask me, Greenbush was one big waste of money.

As a Massachusetts tax payer and a commuter who would like to rely on public transportation, I would obviously like to see the deficits go away and the services improve. Please do this without raising my already outrageous monthly commuter pass!

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