Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Old Choo-Choos

From today's BostonNOW. . . even though more than half of the locomotives servicing the commuter rail are past their intended service life cycle, the T says the trains are OK enough to provide "adequate service."

"Adequate service." Does anyone who works for the MBTA actually commute to work on a commuter rail? Maybe they're not taking the Worcester - Framingham - Boston line. Because I wouldn't call the service "adequate." I would define the service as "sub par."

BostonNOW found that 43 of the 80 engines currently in service were built 27 years ago. That is nearly 54% of all the trains currently being used - so 1 out of every 2 locomotives servicing the 12 commuter rail lines should probably be retired.

The stats get even better. Twenty-five of the locomotives (31%) in service were built between 1973 - 1975. The T feels that these engines are "new" because they were rebuilt in 1997. That's crazy. If I were driving a car from 1973 and rebuilt it in 1997, it would still be considered a classic vehicle today.

Yup. The T doesn't think that the on-time performance of the commuter rail lines has anything to do with the age of the locomotives. On-time performance for October 2007 dropped to 68.2%, with the worst performing lines running less than half their trains on-time. If the commuter rails were being graded in a school, they would have received a D+. I know my parents weren't thrilled when I brought home D pluses, so I don't understand why the T thinks that a 68.2% on-time rate is satisfactory.

Here's the best quote from the BostonNow article: ""The age of the fleet is not a factor as long as the equipment is properly maintained," MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

Well Joe, if the age of the equipment isn't the factor, then what is? You should be able to tell the commuters and tax payers why the commuter rails are performing at dismally low rates.

According to Joe, the maintenance of the fleet is the MBCR's responsibility. Nice way to pass the buck!

The MBCR did not provide a comment for the article.

Maybe the T can aim for a passing grade of 70% in November. But from my commutes this past month, I doubt that they'll get a C-.

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