Wednesday, January 30, 2008

MBTA/MBCR Greenbush Commuter Rail Line is Empty

Due to being busy at work, I didn't have time to post an article about the new Greenbush line that ran on the front page of the printed Boston Globe newspaper yesterday.

Why the Globe is writing about the underused Greenbush line instead of all the on-time performance issues plaguing other lines is beyond me. Perhaps the MBTA actually has a stellar staff of PR professionals that are good at pitching stories.

For $513 million, the Greenbush riders get to ride an empty train. How sweet for them! In December the MBTA said there were 1,368 rider. A third of the riders of this line weren't new to mass transit commuting. While the line was built to try to get more cars off of the traffic plagued South Shore highways (like Route 3 and Route 93), the riders seem to be converts who used to take the commuter boats out of Hingham.

Since the T is so fantastic at managing and initiating strategic planning, this didn't surprise me at all:
The line was projected to attract about 4,300 daily commuters within three to five years of opening, but the T says it never estimated how many riders the line would attract before that.
Fantastic!! Shouldn't they have estimated ridership before spending all the time and money trying to build a line no one really wanted in the first place?

The T doesn't want to be held accountable to any "conclusions" about the effectiveness of this line until 2010. Where can I get a job where I can launch a massive project and not be held accountable until 3 years after the projects go-live date?

Ultimately the Greenbush line's performance could impact whether communities like New Bedford and Fall River gain a commuter rail line. Honestly - the T and the state of Massachusetts should have launched a commuter rail line where (1) a line didn't exist before and (2) where the only commuting options really consist of driving a car into Boston.

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