Picking up from yesterday's news, the video report is from a NECN report about the T's busiest year ever.
Yesterday's The MetroWest Daily News also ran a story about a new bus service that would link Framingham-Natick to the MBTA's Woodland Station. We first mentioned this on Friday. There was a bit more detail in yesterday's article. The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority would like to run one bus an hour from MetroWest to Woodland. The plans call for the bus stopping on Flutie Pass, which is located between Shopper's World and the Natick Mall/Natick Collection. Flutie Pass hovers between the Framingham and Natick town lines. The bus could also extend into some office parks in western Framingham.
All in all, the bus trip would be expected to last one hour. This line could be up and running by January 2009, if the budget is approved. While MetroWest residents would benefit from this service, it is also expected to help out the people who reverse commute from Boston and immediate suburbs into MetroWest.
For the second time this week, The Boston Herald has published an article about the T's mismanagement. Say what you want, this is certainly the Herald's forte. Today's topic: 65 MBTA employees drive to work (and to "emergencies") in cars paid for by the Authority. The MBTA pays $16,650 each month in gas alone!!! The cars are solely for professional purposes and the T claims that the employees who have access to this perk are on call 24/7.
Wow - they have 65 employees on call 24/7, 365 days a year? Call me a skeptic, call me critical, but don't call me gullible. I just don't believe it. I've worked in departments where employees are on call 24/7. When I was employed by Massport in a critical mission function, most employees on call 24/7 where on call for a specific period of time. Ditto the IT teams I've worked on - usually on-call employees are on rotation.
When pressed for an answer, the T's spokesperson could not specify which car-gifted employees aren't on call.
At least someone is looking out for the interest of tax payers and the users of this debt-plagued system:
Paul Regan, executive director of the MBTA advisory board, demanded T
officials justify why some non-emergency workers are allowed to drive home.
"I'd like to hear an explanation of why someone who isn’t an emergency
responder would get a vehicle,” Regan said. “(The agency) should be guarding
every dime because they’re going to need it this year”
The Herald also noted that the employees with cars live as close to the city as Quincy (um, keep your car parked at the State Transportation Building and use the Red Line, commuter rail or commuter boat to commute to work) or as far away as Plymouth (a 40-mile one-way trip in). As previously noted, MBTA GM Dan Grabauskas lives in Ipswich. I believe he has a 50 to 60 mile one way commute.
Along with the 65 take-home vehicles, the T also funds 17 "pool" vehicles. The pool vehicles are used "in the event of an emergency."
For an agency so mired in debt, perhaps they can make some reductions that common Americans are making. If they eliminated the 65 take-home vehicles, they would be seeing a savings of nearly $200,000 in gas alone, never mind insurance, maintenance and all the other costs associated with cars.
Finally, from Newsweek, road rage among bicycle commuters in Oregon. Portland has always had a high number of residents who bicycle around town. In the past year, the number of bicyclists has increased 24%.