The Worcester line's January 2008 on-time performance rate was 69%. While the on-time performance rate for November 2007 was a dismal 58%, the Worcester line still lags behind other lines even though January's performance increased substantially over November's.
The other commuter rail line's generated a 77% on-time performance rate in January 2008. So even though Worcester's rate improved from November to January, it is still pretty poor.
The T&G interviewed MBTA GM Daniel A. Grabauskas. Here are some quotes:
“The good news is it appears to be paying off in on-time performance across the system, and particularly on the Worcester line. It’s not happening as quickly as I’d like to see — and certainly not as quickly as our customers would like to see — but we are seeing movement in the right direction,” he said.
State transportation officials have long voiced frustration at what they consider CSX’s priority to freight trains over passenger trains on the Worcester line.
“It’s always an extra battle to get on-time performance on the Worcester line,” Mr. Grabauskas said. “Our staff has been working cooperatively but making it clear that we were unhappy with the way things were going with on-time performance. … We’re moving in the right direction after six months of decline.”
He said improved service is a result of many factors, including better weather conditions, some additional staffing and more reliable mechanical equipment. Disgruntled union employees who caused a “work slowdown” last year now are being more cooperative, he added.
CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan said CSX initiated the now-regular phone conversations between transportation officials to improve on-time performance on the Worcester line.
He declined to elaborate what has surfaced in those meetings and directed questions about any specific changes made to improve service to MBCR.
“The important thing is MBCR, the MBTA and CSX started meeting, basically, daily to review the performance of the trains,” he said. “At that point the objective is to find out … what the issues were. There were a lot of issues.”
The Worcester line is one of the most used commuter rail lines - there are 18,000 every weekday.
In 2007, while the other commuter rail lines generated an 83% on-time performance rate, the Worcester line only managed to generate a 66% on-time performance rate.