Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The MBTA In the News

Train Rider is taking a beach day today. What a great day - finally we woke up to some sun instead of fog and rain.

The MBTA in the News . . . (wow - for all you techies - yes CNet!) published an article about the MIT students who found the security flaws in the Charlie Card. The state is going to ask a federal judge tomorrow to place a gag order on the students. The article even contains an email trail between EFF (the Electronic Frontier Foundation) and the MBTA. This is fascinating.

I actually think these students should be commended for discovering the security flaws. It disappoints me that our state continues to use sub-par contractors in developing important projects. The T and the state should want to avoid a security breach at all costs. Look at the issues surrounding TJX, Hannafords, and The Boston Globe. And in the scheme of things - thoses three security issues were relatively minor. Electronic data needs to be processed in a very secure system.

In other news, yesterday WHDH-TV Channel 7 aired a special report on MBTA buses. Maybe they can air a similiar report on the MBTA/MBCR commuter rail system?

The Daily News had a short and direct editorial about the T today. They recommend that MBTA GM Dan Grabauskas try to things before raising fares:
  1. Demand that the unions accept changes in the T's ludicrously generous schedule of salaries and benefits, at least for those employees just walking in the door.
  2. Stop giving away service when demand is heaviest. Whenever there's a big event in Boston, people ride the T for free. It might be an inconvenience for both passengers and employees to collect fares; but when there's money to be made, the T should take advantage.

Both recommendations make a whole lot of sense to me. How about actually collecting fares and trying to run the trains and buses in a logical fashion too? And why not, if you're at it Dan-the-Man, eliminate the "vehicle" privileges for your 65 "on call" employees?

Finally, The Salem News mentions that funding for the Salem MBTA station parking garage has been approved.


Fitchburg Train Rider said...

Right on!

Thank you - I enjoy the ongoing plight of the MIT hackers! God bless them for providing humor to my day.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your point about not giving away free rides. Last week on the Fitchburg train, when the 4:50 PM Express Train to South Acton was late such that the 4:50 and 5 PM crowds were on the same train, I noticed the ticket taker walk up to the front of the car (train from Porter Station).He did not stop for ANY ticket checking (including me) and opened the sliding door which had a piece of white paper scotch-taped over the window. He stayed in that front area, behind the white paper so no one could see in, for OVER 20 MINUTES!!!

Doing what? Important cell phone calls? When he finally came out, he again did not bother to check any tickets.