Thursday, July 10, 2008

MBTA GM Dan Grabauskas Opts to Not Use the T

I kid you not. You cannot make this up!

Seriously, only the Herald would dare report on this. An article in today's Boston Herald profiles how the MBTA's General Manager, Dan Grabauskas, commutes to work. While he is encouraging everyone else to use the T, Dan actually commutes from Ipswich to Boston in an MBTA-owned Ford Escape hybrid.

Wow. What a great way to support the system you lead. That's like working for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and having Tufts Health Insurance or working for Citizens' Bank but keeping your own personal account at Bank of America. What the heck, Dan.

I don't want to turn this into a "beat up on Dan Grabauskas" rant, but if he works at the State Transportation building, why can't he take the MBTA/MBCR's commuter rail into work and keep his state vehicle in the parking garage at 10 Park Plaza? This comment just reeks of arrogance:
In an interview yesterday, Grabauskas argued he needs the SUV, in part to respond to emergencies, such as the Green Line train crash last month in which a trolley driver was killed.
I worked at 10 Park Plaza - there are plenty of parking spaces available for the heads of the agencies who's offices are in the building.

Does this comment mean Dan really doesn't care about the commuter rail or commuter boat passengers:
“I do try to set an example by using the T within the city, but my schedule tends to be erratic. I need to be able to go anywhere at all times,” he said.

And again, this is utterly priceless:

As for driving to Lowell to promote his Dump the Pump campaign, Grabauskas said taking the commuter train there and back to Ipswich would have taken too long. The message of Dump the Pump, he added, is to encourage people with less demanding schedules to take the T.

“I can’t think of a quicker or easier way for me to get anywhere in the city than by bus or by subway, and it’s certainly easier for some folks to take the commuter rail,” Grabauskas said. “I try to do that as much as I can.”

Of course, commuters interviewed were flabbergasted that the person who is in charge of mass transit in Massachusetts pretty much shuns the service.

Another Ipswich commuter, Sue King, agreed. “Jeesh, you’d think he would be taking the train,” King said. “Of all people, he should be setting an example.”

King takes the hourlong ride from Ipswich to North Station about three times a week. The trip takes 15 minutes more than Grabauskas’ commute and costs her $7 round-trip each day.

The MBTA Board meets today. There is a possibility that both fares and parking rates will be increased, which probably doesn't surprise anyone with the state of gas and the decrease in gas taxes collected by the state because people aren't filling up as much.

The Herald closed with this ditty:
Grabauskas, who earns a salary of $255,000 a year, struck a deal this week with T workers that will give them a 13 percent pay raise over the next four years.

The $150 million agreement adds to mounting financial woes burdening the T, which is reeling from soaring fuel and electricity costs and stagnant state aid even as ridership has hit new highs.

Should Grabauskas permanently park his SUV, he would not be the first powerful public official to ride the T. Former Gov. Michael Dukakis took the Green Line from his Brookline home to the State House every day. Ditto his longtime Transportation secretary, Fred Salvucci.

Well, I don't think our Governor is taking using public transit to commute in from Milton (Former Governor Dukakis lived in Brookline while he was governor, so that is a bit easier of a commute). Why can't they find someone to run the T who actually is a public transit advocate? Dan seems more and more like a fat-cat political appointee.

In other news, yesterday the T had a PR event that went bust. Here is the article from today's Boston Globe.


AJ said...

Everything about that man is completely infuriating! I loved this quote the most:

"I need to be able to go anywhere at all times"

Gee Dan, I wonder what that's like? Hell I'd love to be able to take a train back to Worcester sometime between 12PM and 4PM! Do I even have that option? NO! While I suppose you could argue it is my choice to take the commuter rail and beggars can't be choosers, let's be serious here. I really hope he does some damage control (which I am ALL EARS to hear) because all of his quotes had him coming off as an arrogant ass. Punk!

Anonymous said...

He didn't "strike a deal," it was decided by an arbitrator.

Fitchburg Train Rider said...

How right you are!! He says, "I need to go anywhere at any time."

Well, Dan, what makes you think that ALL OF US can just show up erratically at OUR jobs at the whim of the broken-down-always-late trains and subways?

Incredible, unabated arrogance!

Anonymous said...

On Monday, June 1, I waited at Forest Hills Station for 45 minutes for the inbound Needham Heights train #608 that never came. There are 3 simple, no-cost options that the MBTA Commuter Rail could implement to save stranded commuters the distress that I experienced:
1) Utilize the electronic message boards to alert passengers to delays or cancelled trains.
2) Announce delays or cancelled trains over the loudspeaker.
3) Pick up stranded commuters on the other trains that pass through the station.
How can we get the T to implement any of these options?

Anonymous said...

Lets just fire dan now, have the mbta ask for a bailout check. Im sure Obama wont mind since he loves to spend money.