Tuesday, March 4, 2008

MBTA Bus Riders Take a Stand

Unfortunately, it appears that the issues riders and commuters have with the MBTA transcend socio-economic, demographic and psychographic lines. I don't understand how a system can be so despised by its users - commuter rail riders are upset, bus riders are upset. I also don't understand how an authority that was designed to serve the public has such a disregard for the people they are serving? As a tax payer, this makes me very angry. Especially since my tax dollars are partially subsidizing this horrifically run entity.

Today's Boston Globe published a very disturbing article on the front page today about how some teenagers who depend on the MBTA bus route 23 to commute to school are standing up to the T to make their bus route safer.

Teenager Tiara Amarante, who is only 15 years old, should be applauded for taking the stand to make her bus route safer. Bus riders who rely on route 23 should not have to ride in fear of being injured or killed. This is the United States and this is absolutely unacceptable. I think Dan Grabuaskas, along with commuting in on the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line, should ride bus 23 with Tiara and her fellow riders to see if he enjoys being scared to death on a normal bus ride.

I'm sure the T thinks Tiara and the other route 23 riders maybe like to dabble in the creation of urban fairy tales. This is what the T had to say about this bus route:
T officials say statistics indicate that the bus is safe, but the teenagers, who believe that many crimes go unreported, keep their own mental record of the violence they have witnessed.


Riders have been killed in broad daylight on this bus route, so this isn't just the overactive imagination of a few riders. The T says this,the third busiest bus route, is safe.
Lieutenant Joseph O'Connor of the Transit Police said he has heard from young people in the community who feel unsafe on the bus. But he said that the 23, which has nearly 13,000 weekly riders and is the third-busiest route in the city, is safe.

Crime on MBTA buses fell 39 percent from 2006 to 2007, T officials say. In 2007, three violent events were reported on Bus 23: the killing of Graham; an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; and a robbery. In 2006, seven serious crimes were reported on the route, including a rape, four robberies, one assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and a larceny.

"Our service does run through many neighborhoods that have been affected by violence," O'Connor said. "When you do look at the number of people who do ride and the number of incidents that occur on the MBTA, your chances of being a victim of crime on that bus are very small."

Tiara and her friends aren't just concerned with violence. Their issues sound similar to other concerns raised by commuter rail and mass transit riders.
Along with their worries about violence, Amarante and her friends want to report other problems they say they have noticed: lack of room for baby carriages; drivers who fail to pull up to the curb during stops; and a slow schedule that they believe does not keep up with heavy ridership.
I am absolutely amazed that the T is allowed, yet again, to ignore situations. I wonder who they'll pass the blame on for this - poorer neighborhoods, school busing, the Boston Police Department, etc., etc.


Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like the T has already tried to diffuse any responsibility. This quote is absolutely unacceptable: "When you do look at the number of people who do ride and the number of incidents that occur on the MBTA, your chances of being a victim of crime on that bus are very small."

People who witness crime do not care about statistics or suppositions. They want action. They want to feel safe. A public transportation system should instill a sense of safety and security in their riders. If a rider makes an observation, they shouldn't be dismissed, they should be reassured.

This is jsut another sad, sad example of how out of touch the MBTA is with their consituency.

Anonymous said...

How about that ridiculous map that accompanied the Globe story. Since only 3 crimes occurred on the Route 23 last year, the Globe decided to include all of the crimes that occuured in the neighborhoods abutting the route. As if that is the T's fault. Completely irresponsible journalism.