An article in today's Telegram & Gazette focuses on how commuter rail ridership grew in 2008. A total of 153,000 riders across all the commuter rail lines rode the rails during November 2008, a 5% increase over November 2007. Across the MBTA, November 2008 was the highest ridership month in 44 years. The T&G even worked in a local angle specific to the Worcester line:
Ridership on the Worcester line followed the upward trend, despite long and frequent delays in recent months that have commuters grumbling. On-time performance for trains on the line was around 90 percent at times last year, but fell to less than 80 percent in December — meaning one-fifth of all trains were late.The article noted that the state is blaming CSX for the delays on the Worcester line. Of the "five additional" trains added to the Worcester-Framingham line last year, the most popular "new" train is the P504. This train departs Worcester at 6:05 a.m.
In the first two weeks of this year, 85.7 percent of trains on the Worcester line have been on time. Officials cite winter weather and various mechanical problems as the cause of delays.
The Worcester line's trains average about 18,110 riders per day.
As this blog has said, the train delays are not a laughing matter. The article closed with some first-hand passenger accounts:
People are taking the trains, but they’re not always happy about it. Some split their weeks, driving a couple of days a week, chancing it with the trains the other days.
Pamela J. Garron, who lives in Uxbridge and commutes from Franklin, says her employer started docking time from her workday when she arrived late because of train delays. The wife and mother of four was recently laid off and believes her frequent late arrivals are one reason why.It is unfortunate that express trains commencing in Worcester get turned into local trains when things aren't running on time.
A Worcester commuter, Thomas J. Corrigan, said the new 4:45 a.m. train to Boston has many delays and sometimes doesn’t arrive, so the 5:40 a.m. train, which is supposed to be an express, is changed to a local train, which stops at every station, delaying passengers who weren’t planning for the extra 20 or so minutes on their commute.