Thursday, December 4, 2008

Weird Way to Collect Tolls

Train Rider drove to the office today for two reasons - an early morning meeting and, more importantly, because of the Dan Band concert tonight.

Since my commute to work is much closer to home, I always drive to work. I live close to my office and my home/office are located in areas where there are no public transportation options. However, this morning, I had to drive into the Route 128 area for a quick meeting. Driving back to my office, I got off at the Route 9 Mass Pike Exit (Exit 12). Can you say "cluster." This has always been a very popular exit - Bose and Staples headquarters are located right near the exit, along with a bunch of other office buildings. In the brilliant strategy that is the Mass Pike, there are only two Fast Lane toll booths, with three cash-only toll booths. Of course, most commuters use a Fast Lane, so those exits were super backed up. If you paid with cash, you could zip through. I still don't understand why the Mass Pike seems to be the only toll road system that doesn't do more combo cash/Fast Lane (rather E-Z Pass) toll booths? Nuts!

Looks like the MBTA did some PR media relations outreach. Most Boston media outlets either aired or ran a story about how commuters are still using the MBTA and the MBCR commuter rail even though gas prices are dropping.

I'm not sure who The Boston Globe spoke to, but in their article about T usage, someone was quoted as saying that parking lots don't seem to be any emptier. Train Stopping readers who use the Worcester and Providence commuter rail lines actually have observed that the lots do seem less crowded since the parking rate increase went into effect. MBTA GM Daniel Grabuaskas was quoted in the article. I wonder if he is still driving his MBTA vehicle to work? This comment made to the Globe article cracked me up because you can see the truth in the remarks:
Of course Grabauskas will take credit for this, telling us all how great they are, but the truth is we take the T DESPITE its performance, not because of its performance. Late, dirty trains; rude, uncaring workers; overpriced parking (when you can find a spot) ... the T is awful, but driving is far worse.
The Boston Herald's take on the increase in the T's ridership had a different slant. The T is removing seats on the Red Line to accommodate more riders. This is being discussed at today's MBTA board meeting. If the seats are removed on some cars, it will cut the available seating in half. The article T will mark the "high capacity" cars with the removed seating and they will run a promotional campaign. WCVB-TV Channel 5 also reported on this.

In other news, WickedLocal Somerville reports on the proposed Green Line extension.

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