Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Would Have Been Late to Work Even if I Took the Train In Today

In case you can't decipher my headline, I drove into work today. I needed to run an errand before work this morning. I just arrived into the office about 20 minutes ago. My lateness was due to auto traffic. Traffic, traffic everywhere. I'll get to my story in a second.

Since Train Stopping was created to discuss riding the rails, I'll share some third-party feedback about the Worcester line commuter rail train. My co-worker, who takes the P508, JUST GOT HERE! Yes, it is about 10:00 a.m. and she just arrived to our office. She said the P508 train broke down and they were transferred to another train, which sat outside of Natick for awhile. Then the train they were transferred to finally started moving . . . at 10 MPH the whole way into Boston from Natick to Boston.

I am so glad I wasn't on the train today, I would be steaming mad. I know my colleague is ripped and I can just imagine how all the other passengers feel right now, as they stumble into their offices.

Now we can get back to my commute. I took the Pike to Rt. 128 to go to a friend's house. My friend is battling breast cancer, so a group of us bring her meals on a regular basis. Today was my turn. Getting to my friend's house was fine. But leaving her house to get to work was another story. I took Rt. 128 to Rt. 93 North to get to my office on the Boston Waterfront. What a cluster. Honestly, I can't tell that there's a gas crisis with all the traffic on Rt. 128 or Rt. 93.

It makes me believe more than ever that they need to start subsidizing the 128/93 loop with tolls. I find it incredibly unfair that those of us who live along the Pike end up seeing our toll monies used to subsidized the other highways in Massachusetts. And I think it is ludicrous that they want to re-instate tolls on the Western exits of the Mass Pike. Honestly, unless it is a summer weekend with people driving to and from the Berkshires or leaf peeping season, the Western Pike is like a deserted country road compared to the highways in the rest of the Commonwealth.

The bill for our roads should be more fairly split.

I know if I lived North or South of Boston and I could drive into the city without a toll, I think that it is a pretty fair deal. And sure, adding tollbooths to parts of 93 or 128 could be a logistical nightmare. But why is the burden for funding highways in our state placed unfairly on those who live West of the city? Because I just don't believe the Mass Pike gets to keep all the revenue they generate JUST for use on the Pike.

Here's to a better trip home for all of us tonight!


Kidney Stones said...

I was on that very P508 train. I got on in Worcester at roughly 6:47, and didn't get off until 9:47 or so. THREE hours one way!

I was forced to ride (illegally, I might add) in the "boarding" section of train, squeezed in like sardines. Luckly, I was near one of the conductors, and she was able to explain everything to us.

Apparently, the MBTA has known for weeks that the P508 train has "flat wheels." Flat wheels can cause the train to de-rail. The maximum "Wear and tear" that's allowed by law is 1 1/2 inches. Some of the wheels on this train had flat spots of OVER three inches. So, they forced everyone off in Framingham and made us switch trains. I got into the office at 10 AM.

Two things REALLY bother me about this:

1) If the MBTA knew that our train has been running dangerously for weeks, why didn't they do anything?

2) Why would they allow us to ride illegally from Framingham to South Station? If we had crashed, I easily would have died. I had nothing to hold on to, and was using the backs and fronts of my fellow passengers as support.

Today will go down in history as the worst commute of all time. It was laughable, and you better believe I'm getting my $15 claim.

Keith said...

I found it particularly amusing, in an MBTA sort of way, that while standing on the Natick Center platform waiting for the P508, the electronic crawl sign stated, "All trains operating on or near schedule Wednesday 6/25/08" followed immediately by the message "P508 (6:55 am) running approximately 20 minutes late."

The P510 local did arrive, about 5 minutes late, but ended up pulling into South Station about 12 minutes late. They kept asking people to move into the center of the five single-decker cars, but as some point there just wasn't any more room.

When I submitted my On Time Guarantee online this morning, I had to go back to refer to the schedule, so I clicked on the link back to the schedule that they provided, and it was the old schedule! I'm talking pre-February here.