Friday, September 26, 2008

Rainy Day Drive to Work

I'm headed up to New Hampshire tonight after work, so I drove into the office today.

The Boston Globe ran a great graphic today illustrating how the proposed Mass Pike toll increases might work.

There is no word yet on when the Mass Pike's board may vote on the toll increase proposals. The Globe's article did include some reaction from commuters:
Commuters, already burdened by high gas prices and a floundering economy, greeted the prospects with angry sighs when interviewed at the Natick travel plaza yesterday.

"The economy is just horrible, so any increase would be hard," said Randy Carpenter, 49, a salesman from Hudson who uses the toll road three times a week. "It would change the quality of life, but people have to use the Pike."

The article also noted the following:

Board members said they would like to structure an increase to spare drivers from the western suburbs as much as possible, meaning higher rates on the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels.

Eric Tucker, a 37-year-old software engineer from Charlton, said $1 more at the Allston-Brighton and Weston tollbooths, the worst-case scenario, would add $40 a week to his commute to Cambridge.

"Not cool," Tucker said. "I pay enough taxes."

Since Commute-a-holic and I both reside West of Boston, we are both in the camp that would like to see drivers from the western suburbs spared as much as possible from the rate increases. Universal Hub has had some great commentary on this. North Shore drivers are also impacted if they use the tunnels to get into Boston. Currently, South Shore drivers can get into the city (theoretically) without incurring a toll.

In light of the looming Mass Pike toll increases, perhaps more commuters will take advantage of this. The Worcester Business Journal today reported that the MetroWest Transit Authority has received approval for a commuter rail shuttle that will travel between MBTA's Woodland station and Framingham. The MRTA is also exploring a pilot program that would let people pay to ride the new shuttle service using their MBTA Charlie Card.

Emerson College's student newspaper The Berkley Beacon published an article this week about plans to extend the MBTA's Silver Line down Boylston Street.

In the "not too good news" department, a bunch of media outlets picked up on the story of the MBTA Green Line Trolley driver who let children "drive" the train. Read all about it in this article from today's Telegram & Gazette.

Finally, on the BusRyda front, I received this announcement the other day:
Today, BusRyda announces the addition of Trip Planner to create a duo of helpful mobile applications for finding your way around Boston on the MBTA on its main website,

BusRyda's Trip Planner operates similarly to the Trip Planner already available on the MBTA's web site — — but is streamlined for mobile use. Text fields allow you to input an address, intersection, station or landmark of one's origin and destination locations, and provides three options of departure times: now, in 1 hour, or in 2 hours. Most results provide two itineraries for convenience.

Unlike BusRyda's original bus schedule tool, Trip Planner allows users to find travel routes and connections on any of the MBTA's services: buses, subways, and even the Commuter Rail.

BusRyda and its services are not affiliated with the MBTA.

For more info visit or contact info AT

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