Monday, December 8, 2008

Stupendously Long Commute on a Blistery Winter Morning

I knew it was not going to be a good commute this morning when I first arrived to the Grafton station for the P508 train. As I was parking, I noticed some people were walking back to their cars. I checked my T Alerts and it said the P508 was delayed by 15 minutes from the scheduled 7:09 departure time. At 7:20 a.m., I check the MBTA website from my Blackberry and the new alert said the P508 was delayed by 30 minutes.

At least the Worcester line wasn't alone in experiencing delays on the, thus far, coldest day of December. It looked like there were delays across the commuter rail system, according to the MBTA service alerts and advisories.

The P508 finally arrived at 7:35 a.m. I immediately asked a conductor if they were going to turn the P508 into a local train. At that point, the conductor said they had not received a notification to turn the train into a local. Fortunately, we stayed an Express train. Even with the express service, we didn't arrive to South Station until about 9:05 a.m. I think I'm still frozen!! It was blistery cold and windy standing on the concrete platform.

This was not the best way to start a Monday or the work week.

Yesterday's "Starts & Stops" column in The Sunday Globe was about how the economy could impact mass transit. Across the country, transit systems are experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of users. Will the numbers increase? No one can predict. Yes, gas prices are dropping, yet many people are trying to conserve their funds. Also, if unemployment continues to increase, there will be fewer commuters. Train Stopping was mentioned in the article. I've noticed a decrease in the number of parked cars in lots along the Worcester line and many of our readers have noticed the same in lots on other lines.

Today's The Washington Post also wrote about the national increase in mass transit usage.

Wicked Local Plymouth wrote another article about the parking increase, published yesterday. Another local business, which abuts the commuter rail line, is offering commuters a chance to park for a monthly fee that is cheaper than the MBTA's monthly costs.

The Sun Chronicle published an op-ed piece last Friday about the need for gates/whistles at some train crossings along the Providence line.

8 comments:

Kidney Stones said...

What a horrible, abysmal, terrible, atrocious, abhorrent, nasty, unacceptable, ridiculous, absurd, dreadful, and reprehensible commute this morning.

I stood outside in the 11 degree weather at Worcester from 6:47 to 7:21! I didn't regain feeling in my toes until Southborough. And the worst part? There was not ONE single apology via intercom on the trains.

I hope Danny-boy enjoyed the heater of his taxpayer-funded "emergency" vehicle, while his minions were freezing waiting for inept service.

2nd worst commute of the year next to 6/25. We should do a top ten at year's end!

Matt said...

Sorry to hear about your commute this morning, not a good way to start the work week. Regarding the Sun Chronicle article...nothing will stop people from being stupid. If you are on the tracks, one is asking to get injured or even killed. No gate, fence or horn is going to stop this. The Nov. 8th accident in Mansfield was, from most eye witness accounts, a suicide, but the official Amtrak police report has yet to be released. I strongly believe that the horn should be sounded at these station platforms that abut the high speed tracks(S. Attleboro, Mansfield, Sharon, Canton Junction, Hyde Park). That is as safe as it can get.

JR Moreau said...

These infrastructure plans we're finally hearing about are way overdue. The mass transit systems throughout the country are already overtaxed. I still have MBTA nightmares.

I really really really hope some meaningful change and improvement takes place.

Great blog!!!

Elizabeth said...

When the 508 is delayed and ends up behind the 510 train, the 510 train becomes extremely crowded with 2 trains worth of people on it. Do you notice on days like today that not many people get on at Framingham, West Natick, and Natick?

Kidney Stones said...

Elizabeth--

Absolutely. Hardly anyone got on at those stops.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Kidney Stones. Since the train was craptastic and I got a red line alert to my mobile, I hopped off the p508 at Back Bay, trying to reduce my red line delay by using orange to downtown crossing... surprise! The red line train had only pulled a few cars away from the platform, and sat there for at least fifteen minutes before moving. So much for my 09.00 meeting...

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, gonna have a lot of angry commuters again this morning. The 508 just got cancelled, and now the 512 is delayed...

Anonymous said...

yeah well it was cancelled today absolutly disgusted