Friday, January 16, 2009

It was -4F on My Drive to the Grafton Station

It is frosty in the burbs today. My car, which I keep parked in my garage each night, was -4F this morning according to its external thermometer. It is definitely "warmer" here in Boston, maybe 14 or 15 degrees. Since it isn't too windy today, it feels warmer in Boston than it did earlier this week.

The P508 was late on its arrival to South Station today. We sat outside at Back Bay for what felt like eons and ending up arriving about 20 minutes after the schedule time. I guess it could be worse - it seems like other Worcester line trains haven't been running as well this week.

Spurn on by the new MBCR newsletter, Commute-a-holic sent the MBCR a suggestion. How about printing the on-time performance rates in the MBCR mouthpiece, um newsletter?

This is what the MBCR had to say about Commute's suggestion:
I have just read your email regarding your concern about the commuter rail's on-time performance.

I appreciate that you sent me this concern and your suggestions for the newsletter. We post the on-time performance for each line at the appropriate main stations. The posters are put up at North, South and Back Bay station each month and they display the on-time performance for each line.

Thank you for writing to me with your concern, I hope this information was helpful.
South Station commuters - I don't know about you, but I really don't think the on-time performance posters are located in a "prominent" spot. They're buried in the back of the station.


Anonymous said...

The Worcester line actually did what it needed to do this week, for me anyway; it showed up on time every single morning so I didn't freeze myself waiting for it. It was late twice going home this week, but I don't mind that one as much.

I still hate them though, I know they'll disappoint me again real soon.

kieran said...

I find that the best way to get a real response from MBCR is to contact them directly. They have all their contact info posted on so you just need to decide who needs an earful. I think the ontime statistics are interesting but would be more informative if they were weighted based upon total hours of delay so that trains with a greater number of passengers (or delayed for longer) carried a greater weight in the calculation. I understand that they are currently equally weighted regardless of whether there are 100 or 1,000 passengers on the train. The economic cost of mal-performance is likely much different if you delay 1,000 people trying to get to work versus 100 people heading home from college for the weekend. Of course this would cause MBCR to introduce a bias in trying to get the paper-shufflers to their offices at the expense of economically less valuable (to MBCR performance) reverse commuters, leisure travellers and off-peak riders. The hope would be that all passengers would have better information about performance and pressure to improve service would benefit all customers' rides.

Commute-a-holic said...

kieran -

Great suggestions regarding weighing the on-time performance stats. I actually did submit my inquiry directly to the MBCR.

It makes sense for them to be transparent with the on-time performance stats.

Thanks for your comments.