Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good Commutes

Hello! It has been a while - well two days. What is with short weeks? They definitely have a way of beating you up. Between actual work and all the drama going on with the 2008 Presidential Race, I have neglected my Train Stopping blog.

Massachusetts is officially back-to-school. While some school systems started back before Labor Day, Boston students went back to school today. So far, so good commute wise.

This morning's commute on the P508 was fine. We were on-time in our arrival into South Station, pulling in around 8:20 a.m.

Yesteday's P508 commute was OK. We sat again outside of South Station for 10 minutes. I checked my watch when the train finally pulled it and it was 8:30 a.m. Yesterday I was hoping that the "sit and weight" wasn't a sign of things to come. At least today we pulled right in.

Both The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald reported today about increases to the MBTA's services. Essentially, July was another record-breaking month for public transportation usage. The T is adding rush-hour trains and buses to help move commuters. The Globe noted
The changes - some previously planned, others new - are limited in scale and Grabauskas concedes they will not completely solve the T's crowding problems. But the agency does not have a lot of money to work with. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is operating out of its reserve accounts to keep its budget balanced and could implement a potentially substantial fare increase in 2010 to combat its multibillion-dollar debt.

In July, 34.7 million trips were taken, marking the seventh month in a row to record an increase in passengers over the previous month on all services except for the commuter boat. Trains are packed and parking lots are full.

The T is also studying different ways to increase capacity - perhaps by removing seats on subway cars and adding straps for riders to hold onto. Of course, reconfiguring a T car comes with a price. It would cost between $40,000 to 60,000 to retrofit a Red Line car. Yikes!!!

Meanwhile, the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) has announced a new service next Monday, September 8th. reports that the Wareham Lakeville Train Connector will bring commuters from Wareham and Middleborough to the Lakeville Commuter Rail Station Monday through Friday starting at 5:50 a.m. The bus service will run along Route 28. The fare is $2 for adults and $1 for seniors; a monthly pass is available. This service is being launched to get more cars off the road. What a great idea!

In other news, Fitchburg Train Rider share the following in an email to me yesterday:
On the Fitchburg line commute. Last Thursday the Red Line stopped and waited at every stop from South Station to Porter Square. So I was 5 minutes late for my Fitchburg commuter rail train and had to wait a half hour...Then Tuesday, the train pulled up to the Longfellow Bridge, stopped for 5 minutes, backed up halfway to Belmont, and waited for another track. Tuesday, the train was late, and it sat in Porter Square for 10 minutes. Seeing RED this morning -- weather is perfect, but these trains can't seem to be on schedule.
Finally, ComputerWorld published an interview yesterday with one of the MIT hackers. It is a Q&A with Zack Anderson and its interesting.

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