Friday, December 12, 2008

Wacky Weather and Pay By Phone

The "interesting" weather New England is infamous for certainly appeared over the past 24 hours. Train Rider didn't commute into the city, not because of the weather but due to a vacation day.

As so many people already know, parts of the state got slammed by a severe ice storm. Worcester was impacted, as were some neighboring towns to the east and west of the city. But some towns just got rain. The North Shore/North of Boston was also hit hard, but the South Shore/Cape could be experiencing higher temperatures later this afternoon. Strange.

I had an easy, albeit a tad elongated, commute to work. My town was right on the rain/ice zone, but we only got rain . . . and we got a lot of it. A few roads were flooded, but everything was relatively normal. Many of my coworkers also hit flooded roads in towns along Route 135.

Amazingly enough, when you expect the worst commute possible (due to the weather), you get some surprises. Check out the comment posted this morning by Framingham Rider:

Haha, the one morning I could have used a late train and it was right on time. I was a couple minutes late getting out this morning, and with the weather I guess my walk took a few more minutes longer than usual, too. So a 5 minute delay wouldn't have been the worst thing for me today, but alas, it was right on time, even with the weather conditions. So my hat goes off to the T this morning, and I guess this falls into the "be careful what you wish for" category, haha.

It has been a crazy week. First massive delays, now weird weather. I bet everyone is looking forward to the weekend.

The big news this morning is the pilot Park & Pay by Phone program.

Beginning today, the MBTA is running a pilot program for Kingston Line commuter rail customers and Quincy and Hingham commuter ferry commuters. Using the Verrus Park and Pay by Phone automated system, commuters will be able to set up an account for automatic payment. Once an account has been established, commuters will be able to dial a phone number, enter their station location number and enter their parking space number and the transaction will process. If the pilot is successful, this will be rolled out to other stations. This could alleviate the pain of shoving dollars into the honor boxes.

If you commute through one of the pilot stations, here is a listing of your station code:

You can read about the Pilot in the Brockton Enterprise, The Boston Globe, Boston Metro, or The Boston Channel.

This is crazy graphic day, huh? When I went to the MBTA website to read about the Park & Pay Program, I noticed that a survey about the Red Line "High-Capacity" Car. So, if you've got an opinion about the Red Line "seatless" cars, fill out this anonymous survey.

Finally, the Mass Pike has announced the first wave of job cuts to reduce its headcount to 100 employees. Read all about it in this Globe article.

May you have safe travels today!


Anonymous said...

Well if the train that person missed started on time it definatly didn't finish there. I was on the P508 and it was 10-15 minutes last getting to Framingham where we sat another 15-20 minutes. We left Framingham around 8:15 and were told we would be express from Natick to Back Bay as planned... No so fast according to the conductor in my car some people at one of the Wellesley stops actutally were stanging on the tracks to make the train stop so they could get on. The train made it to BB at 9:30. Hopefully the afternoon comumite will be better but I won't hold my breath

Worcester Line Rider said...

It's not available to use Worcester train riders yet. This would be a big help on those days when you pay for parking and the train is so late you leave and decide to drive to work. At least with this system you don't phone in your parking payment until you are physically on the train.

Anonymous said...

No surprise here. The T does something good (and cool) with pay by phone and the psuedo transit experts (aka whiners) have nothing to say.

Commute-a-holic said...

Anon at 9:33PM

Actually, we said that this is a pretty cool idea and it could be a good solution to the current situation of having to shove four, $1.00 bills into the honor boxes.

People are pretty excited by this, but it is a pilot program. Commuters are tired and frustrated. The other big T pilot from this year, the WiFi, was an interesting idea but the WiFi is down more than it is up.

Excuse the "whiners" for not jumping up and down with excitement. Every time we do (WiFi, more Worcester line trains, etc.), reality rears its ugly head.

This sounds promising - let's see how it pans out and if it gets rolled out across the system.