Friday, July 11, 2008

BBJ Poll - What Would it Take for You to Use the T

The Boston Business Journal frequently publishes weekly "Business Pulse" polls on various business topics.

The question for 6/26/2008 was "Is it T time for you? - What would it take to get you on the MBTA?"

The most popular response (47% of this unscientific poll): More frequent commuter trains, buses.

The second most popular response - 20% said more parking at stations.

Along with the poll, participants could submit comments. A lot of the comments touched upon the inefficiencies of the entire MBTA system, the fact that there aren't frequent enough trains - especially on the Worcester line, the lack of consistent communications to commuters, the poor conditions of both the cars and the stations, lack of parking at suburban stations, the fact that the T doesn't reach where someone lives (such as Roslindale and the 495 loop), and the fact you can't depend on the service.

Here are some interesting comments:
also, for the sporadic--not daily--user of the greenline, an easier way to pay not involving a Charlie Card would be a true attraction!!

Parking at or near stations has always been an issue, but my problem is my workplace is nowhere near a commuter rail stop. If it was, I'd be taking the train in a New York minute! I used to when I worked right on Comm Ave and it was a lifesaver. It's crazy to drive if the T/commuter rail can get you there.

Subway service is abysmal. In the morning, three outbound trains often go by before an inbound train arrives (C&D lines). Or a train will pass a stop without taking on passengers because it's running late (who's fault is that?). Service is neither rapid nor reliable.

Faster trains stopping every other station. Like and odd even train and stations: odd trains to odd station and even to even. It would make them at least 33% faster not to mention the wear and tear on the trains.

Commuter trains need to have more frequent schedules and later trains! The Greenbush line last train is 10pm during the week, and many times that's just too early if I'm meeting with clients or coworkers for dinner.

I live in Westborough and do not take the commuter rail because the trains do not run early enough for me.

We also need to have simple things such as electronic notice boards informing commuters about the expected wait time until the next train arrives.

Ridership would increase with more dependable trains and more comfortable cars.

The commuter trains and subways have to be more convenient than driving, and right now, it is not.

We need more frequent and faster service on the the lines, but especially the Worcester line. While the region doesn't have the density of NYC, having no mid morning, no afternoon service and no reverse commute makes it so much easier to get into the car and drive. The fact the MBTA brought the line's on time record to its current point by adding 20 minutes to a 40 mile train ride is inexcusable.

The conditions of MBTA stations, trains, buses, & personnel are horrendous. The stations are inhospitable. Certain choices made by the T boggle the mind. For example the newer bus shelters designed for looks not function provide almost no protection and were a waste of money. The long drawn-out T revamping projects in various stations, i.e.,the Kenmore and Arlington Street Stations have drawn on for years now and actually impress me as public relations and public safety nightmares. Those projects unnecessarily clog city streets, rarely are contractors or workers seen there doing anything!?!?! T Employees are cantankerous, entitled, and often arrogant. Uniformly through out the systems facilities the public address speaker system and lack of diction and clarity by announcers is unprofessional and annoying. The inefficiency of schedules and the inability of the T management to guarantee timeliness is the primary reason I don't ride the T. Time is money, and if the T can't make good time and make good on the too high fares riders deposit or spend on T cards, what is the point of using the service. If one pays for a service, one expects good service in return. Always wondering when and where there will be a breakdown, a delay without warning or explanation is frustrating. My 40+ years of experience, time and time again, with the MBTA results in frustration, lost time, anxiety, lost opportunities and is simply not worth it. I'd rather drive, walk, or bike and assure my success at arriving where I need to be in a timely fashion rather than hazard the oft unreliable transportation travesty that is called the T.

Replacing MBTA management with chimpanzees to improve efficiencies such as more parking at stations, more comfortable train cars, and more frequent service would increase ridership. The political hacks currently running the T are an embarrassment.

Taking the commuter rail round trip adds 2 hours to my day. Gas will have to be a lot more expensive that $5/gallon before I give up 10 hours of my week.

There are 6 pages of comments. The feedback is interesting - especially if you care about public transportation.

If you can't tell, I'm still steaming about Dan Grabauskas' "well I can't take the T because the times are inconvenient." If I were running the T and I knew that there was public demand, I would start to see how we could meet the public's demand. Because at the end of the day, the T is here to serve the public, as are all public entities.

Below is a snapshot of the polls' results.

I don't know how Train Rider and I missed this? Perhaps we can blame the July 4th festivities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lack of foresight by our elected officials, and shame on us as voters for not holding them accountable. The state and federal governments spent billions of dollars to put a highway underground, while funding for public transportation languished. In tough economic times the state now doesn't have adequate funds to rehabilitate either.

It's also unfortunate that an inordinate amount of attention gets paid to commuter rail service. As terrible as the service may seem to some metrowest commuters, on some days it took me just as long to get to downtown Boston from Brighton on the B Line as it does to get to Boston on the Framingham/Worcester line. As crappy as the "stations" are on the F/W line, at least they have a roof and benches.