Monday, December 3, 2007

MBTA Commuter Rail Still Running Late

An article was published in the Dec. 2nd issue of the Metro West Daily News about commuter rail delays. November was the fourth consecutive month of commuter rail delays.

In this article, the MBTA's General Manager Daniel Grabauskas said " Wet leaves on tracks result in slowed-down trains this time of year." Um, it really didn't rain that much this fall. Plus, if this happens every fall, then plan for it and make sure the tracks are cleared of "wet leaves."

Grabauskas was also quoted as saying "“I understand there have been a number of different factors leading to the pretty rapid and steep decline in on-time performance across the system,” he said. “The specifics I am not privy to.” He "defers questions to the MBCR, which says it is working hard to identify causes of the delays and to improve relations with unionized conductors and employees."

I've said it before and I'll say it again - nice way to pass the buck and extend the blame game MBTA/MBCR management.

This article also contained some quotes from union representatives. The conductors are represented by the United Transportation Union. A spokesperson from the UTU said "workers are, however, constricted by new safety regulations put into effect following a fatal train accident in Woburn earlier this year." THe UTU represents 400 conductors and 200 engineers.

George Casey, the union rep, also said " “If a train becomes late, we can’t run faster than the rules require us or provide for us to do.” No wonder people get upset at unions. Find a solution!!

Just to keep track, here is a summary of recent on-time performance stats:

On-time performance for MBTA commuter trains

  • Nov. 2007: 69.2 percent
  • Oct. 2007: 68.2 percent
  • Sept. 2007: 71.8 percent
  • August 2007: 79.9 percent
  • Oct. 2006: 90.9 percent
Check out the big decline between October 2006 (which still wasn't at the lauded 95% performance metric that the T touts) and October 2007. That is inexcusable. They should be put on a performance improvement plan.

I would love to see a report illustrating the loss in revenue tied to the decline in performance.

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