Thursday, October 16, 2008

Meet the MBCR Managers, Take Two

I took the opportunity to go to the Meet the MBCR Managers event at South Station tonight. It seemed to be a very well attended event, from commuter rail riders to subway riders to the MBCR management team.

I had the opportunity to speak to Jack Mimms, Safety Inspector and Linda Dillon, Manager of Customer Service. I was really impressed that they took the time (I think I spoke to them for about 1/2 hour) to listen to my concerns and recommendations.

My concerns surrounded the following:

1.) The parking increase - for me it's 100%, which makes me unhappy, especially since it seems like the money is going to pay the union back pay and not improve service in the parking lots. I also mentioned that it would be very difficult to stuff $4 into the slots and that the whole system is antiquated. It seems that the MBCR is working with the MBTA and the private parking companies to come up with some alternative way of paying; the two ideas I heard were via Charlie Card (commuters would switch to that as opposed to a ticket) or via your cell phone. There was no time frame given however, so I'm not sure how soon anything like this could be implemented.

2.) The new Worcester/Framingham schedule - I mentioned that there are really no express options for riders west of Framingham after a certain time. Case in point, last night I had to work late, was finished by 9:00, had to wait for the 10:20 to go home and didn't get to Grafton until 11:45. I didn't really hear any options from MBCR about the train/schedule, but at this point, I think it's important to voice opinions.

3.) Windows on the trains - I mentioned that I still notice windows that you can't see out of on the trains. Apparently there are 75 new cars on the way and in 3-4 weeks, the last of the "dirty" windows will be replaced.

4.) Customer Service - I mentioned that it was frustrating to get the run around when trying to get a question answered or a problem resolved, i.e. "oh, that's an MBTA problem, not my problem." Linda Dillon seemed interested in what I had to say and liked my suggestion about having a single point of contact, that she would be able to farm out any inquiries commuters might send in to the appropriate entities.

If any of you have additional suggestions, feel free to email Linda Dillon at

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