Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Dear Train Stopping" - A Grafton Train Rider's Letter to and Response From the MBCR

I received the below email from a Grafton Train Rider.
Dear Train Stopping,

I read about your blog in Worcester Magazine. I think it is great and now subscribe.

Fortunately, I am in Phoenix this week and don't have to deal with the new horrible schedule. I work in Cambridge and will likely have to take the 5:57 AM from Grafton. I can't believe how much this train was pushed back! Apparently, the people working in the Longwood hospital area complained about wanting in earlier train due to their shifts (probably they get off at Yawkey). I typically walk from Yawkey since I work near MIT. Usually, walking and taking Bus #1 (if in sight) across Mass Ave bridge is faster and more reliable than South Station, Red Line to Kendall and walking from there (I am sure you can relate). I am also angry about the 7:15 PM and subsequent local trains that added 13-14 minutes for the arrival time to Grafton. What gives here?!? These trains are rarely busy/late. I will be very upset if I miss the 6:15 PM express and get stuck on one of these slow boats to China!

I thought that you would appreciate this comment from Linda Dillon. I have started to report lack of fare collection as often as possible. There was no excuse for this incident as the train was not overly crowded as is typical.

A Grafton Train Rider
This is the response that Grafton Train Rider received from the MBCR:
I am in receipt of your e-mail concerning the lack of fare collection on your train (P508) on February 7th.

I agree that the lack of fare collection is a matter of great concern. I know you have received one response already, but would like to tell you that we will have people monitoring this trains specifically, and if necessary will assign a spotter over a brief period to ensure that the conductors are in compliance with procedure.

I am sorry for this shortcoming and I want to assure you that we are taking this very seriously, and appreciate your patience during our investigation.


Linda Dillon
MBCR Customer Service Manager
Thanks Grafton Train Rider. I appreciate the feedback.

I also agree that we should all be tracking when fares aren't collected. I've begun to do some research on issues that have plagued the MBCR/MBTA commuter rail lines and the lack of consistent fare collecting has been an ongoing issue. Seriously - for an agency (the T) that is basically bankrupt, you would think that they would be trying to get every dollar they can get. I can understand the occasional "free ride" (especially if the train is really late). Heck, I wish the Mass Pike would wave us through on peak travel days like Thanksgiving (when traffic gets backed up from Boston to Stockbridge). But not collecting fares on a consistent basis is a travesty!

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