Thursday, February 28, 2008

Deja Vu Commutes

Last night's commute started the same way as Tuesday night's commute. This morning's commute was the same as yesterday morning's commute. So it is a "deja vu" commute.

Again, all of the doors, except for the ones on the first car were locked when we got to South Station for the P529 outbound train. They announced the train, still the doors were locked. There was a conductor on the track, just walking back and forth. Finally, the majority of us standing on the platform, went through the front door and then back through the cars to get to a seat. While we were walking down the aisles, one of the conductors was coming through and getting angry (p*ssed) that the conductors couldn't get up the aisle. I said, "well, this wouldn't happen if all of the doors were open." Not sure they appreciated that! We got to Grafton at around 7:19 p.m., so right on schedule.

This morning, the P508 inbound train was on time as well. We arrived ahead of schedule to Back Bay Station at around 8:12 a.m. I got off and took the Orange Line to my office. The Orange line was packed! Thankfully I didn't notice any disgusting public displays of affection on the Orange line. When I was on the Orange line the other day, a couple was really going at it. "Get a room," it is way too early in the morning to view that type of behavior. The T shouldn't be Skinamax.

The only drama during today's commute involved the parking lot at the Grafton station. I
I slipped this morning in the parking lot. I think they didn't sand well yesterday and it was cold overnight, so whatever is underneath the inch of snow now is icy.

It just goes to show how inflated the new schedules are. Yesterday The Daily Worcesteria blog posted a comparison of the "new" Worcester-Framingham commuter rail schedule. I encourage everyone to check this comparison out. Daily Worcesteria is absolutely right in that the new schedule amounts to lower standards for the trains. It's so infuriating as a commuter.

In other news, I missed this "Letter to the Editor" published in Monday's Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Since it appears that the T&G archives their articles after 14 days, here is the letter in it's entirety:
MBTA should be held accountable

The MBTA continues to demonstrate a remarkable lack of interest in improving service on the Worcester line or communicating effectively with customers. On Feb. 19, I arrived at the Westboro station for my usual train after being away from home on a business trip for a week. Imagine my surprise to discover that not only had my train (the 6:23 a.m.) been moved over 20 minutes earlier, but that the next available express was not until 7:14 a.m. These changes were made without meaningful advance notice or opportunity for comment. The 6:23 a.m. train that I have been using was consistently full and clearly well used. In addition to the inconvenience on Feb. 19, the new schedule, with Worcester express trains leaving over an hour apart at the height of the morning rush, doesn’t serve my work schedule well and will lead to a much heavier reliance on my car.

It is long past time that the MBTA was held accountable for its approach to planning and providing services on the Worcester line. Much has been written about the poor service, limited schedule and large number of late arrivals. The MBTA’s response this week was to reschedule trains without providing notice to its customers.

Honestly, if I didn't have this blog (and if I didn't ask Commute-a-holic to post news updates), I would have been in the same boat as Mr. Butterworth. My first day back commuting after a two week business trip and a holiday was on the first day of the new schedule. I agree that there should be a formal process in place that requires the MBTA/MBCR to plan ahead of time new schedule changes. Announcing a new schedule 1 1/2 weeks before it goes live is not acceptable. Most commuters are used to formal schedule changes that occur at prescribed periods.

Mr. Butterworth also raises some key points that a lot of us have discussed concerning the amount of time in-between trains on the Worcester line.

When will our elected officials and business leaders start to work to improve mass transit in Massachusetts?

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