Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sitting Outside South Station

What do you know? I was able to take the P508 train. My commute was fine this morning. We arrived outside of South Station at 8:33 a.m. and then we did our customary sitting until we pulled into a track at 8:28 a.m. Does anyone know why we have been sitting outside of South Station lately? It is situations like this that make me miss getting off at Back Bay and taking the Orange Line. At least that manueveur made me on time.

Being on time is especially important in this current economic client. I don't think a day goes by where you don't hear of a layoff or a pending layoff. So commuters are definitely more on edge and timeliness becomes an even more important factor. I hope the MBTA/MBCR understands this and tries to ensure that all trains arrive as close to on-time as possible.

In the news today, both the Telegram & Gazette and the MetroWest Daily News published stories about the "new" Worcester-Framingham line schedules. If you were wondering if the Lt. Governor's appearance on yesterday's P506 caused it to run late, guess again. The tardiness of this train was attributed to "mechanical problems."

The T&G's article focused on why local and state dignitaries think the newly added trips will be a boon for Worcester. Too bad they didn't speak with actual Worcester commuters - who would really like to see more express trips. The MetroWest Daily News article touched upon how the town of Ashland and city of Framingham might become buzz kills for more trains.

Finally, WHDH-TV's "Hank Investigates" series ran a report on legal claims made against the MBTA. Reporter Hank Phillipi Ryan obtained the legal claims made against the T over the past two years. These claims, which were in the hundreds, amounted to $17 million. Perhaps the T should try to avoid getting sued instead of raising the fees for station lots that they barely maintain. You know, this is just a suggestion.

The T pays large damages, whereas other state agencies have a cap on damages. Just a thought - why doesn't the T try to cap their damages? If they did, they would have saved $2 million in 2007 alone.


Ray said...

I took the P506 from Grafton to South Station this morning. It was a nice quiet trip, but a little too quiet. I did not see one conductor on my car, no one came to collect fares, and I did not hear one announcement for what stop we were at.
I don't understand why they would miss out on collecting, when I'm sure they lost the bulk of yesterday's fares to the On-Time Guarantee.

Anonymous said...

Every year, the T tries to get the legislature to pass a 'cap' law to limit damages. But every year, lobbyists for trial lawyers and ambulance chasers get the bill killed.

Anonymous said...

I am not in favor of a cap for the MBTA. I think the MBTA, much more than MBCR, is staffed with too many subpar employees - remember the May Green Line crash, to this day we don't know why that happened - on a clear summer day in a straight section of the line. I am sure if they got the cap, the MBTA's negligence would get worse, rates would stay the same, and a few new managers at $100K salaries would be hired. They can barely be on time now, imagine what would happen they had a cap and were not all that concerned with liability? Before seeing a cap on damages I want a cap on salaries for management.

Anonymous said...

hey ray, did you happen to count the number of conductors on P506 on tuesday? there were two(2). the train carries over 1000 passengers in 7 cars (5 are double-deckers) and makes 17 stops. two people cannot possibly get through the entire train and collect every fare, in addition to boarding the passengers at all the stops. the normal complement of crew members is three and that is too few.

Anonymous said...

This is in reply to Anonymous #3 ... I'm not sure where any other worker could get away with somehting like that ... so basically you're saying it's just laziness on the part of the conductors? A way of sticking it to the MBTA/MBCR because they're pissed that they don't have 3 conductors on the train? Imagine if I said to my boss, "Oh, I just can't be bothered, there's too much work and I'm merely one person," I'd be lucky to still have a job. Stop acting so damn entitled.

Belly Acher said...

Anonymous at 9:32 PM -

Are you a conductor? Because if you are, shame on you for bellyaching that there are only two conductors and you cannot get through the train to collect all the fares. I've seen other systems - such as the MetroNorth system out of Southern CT - process fares a lot faster with way more stops than a MBTA commuter rail line. I guess I should stop doing everything I need to do in my job because there is only 1 me but I am responsible for the "jobs" of five different roles.

Sorry you need 3+ to do your job, but there has to be another way. I'm spending way too much money every month on a compute rail pass that is sometimes never even glanced at. I feel like I'm subsidizing everyone else's ride. So I'll now pay 100% more to park and I'll buffer myself for another fare increase in '09. I'm pushing nearly $350 a month in assorted commuter costs for a service that barely gets me to where I'm going on time. Sorry if I'm p*ssed, but guess what, there are a lot of folks out there who would love a stable job in this economy. I bet they could find people willing to work with a smile.