Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On Time Commute

Another day, another on time commute. The p508 rolled into South Station at around 8:22 AM this morning.

I saw an interesting article in the Metro this morning regarding a new tracking and reporting system for commuter rail trains. According to the article, commuter rail riders will know how far away the next train is from their station via the LED signs at commuter rail stations. The system will track trains using GPS and send that information to the signs at all commuter rail stations. Riders will hear automated announcements detailing when their trains are approaching and arriving. The announced times will also be updated if trains are experiencing delays. Tests are currently being run on several lines — including the Haverhill line — and the system will be completely rolled out by the summer.

I look forward to seeing how this will operate once it's rolled out to the Worcester-Framingham line. But, it begs the question, where did the $5.2 million dollar budget come from to install this system? The MBTA is talking about fare hikes and service reductions, but then they continue to roll out WiFi and programs like this? I don't get it.


AJ said...

I was wondering the same when Fox reported the story this morning. I know this has been a long time coming, like the new cars we ordered 3 years ago, but what gives with the money? Are they still looking into installing the Charlie Card system on the Commuter Rail? They had been taking bids for design and implementation what, last year? Two years ago? Is that moving forward? Or did they realize it's unnecessary and put it on the shelf?

Are there any news stories out there about how they are trimming agency fat? Fare hikes suck. So does reducing the schedule, especially after they just "increased" the amount of Worcester bound trains. If they are looking into these options, does it mean they've trimmed as many salaries as possible or necessary? I really haven't heard anything about that other than the governor's idea to condense MassPort, the Pike and the MBTA into one.

I didn't get the MBTA into this mess. I'm not happy about helping them crawl out, but I really don't have a choice. At least assure me that you're trying to help and it's not just business as usual.

Jeremy said...

Here's an idea ... run the trains on time. Cheaper and easier than installing this system.

AJ, I remember hearing that the CharlieCard commuter rail contract was awarded recently (after years of delay) but I wouldn't hold my breath. Use of CharlieCards on commuter rail would speed boarding times on buses and green/silver line vehicles because fewer people would be using the tickets.

AJ said...

Fox answered my question this morning. They said the Herald is reporting the MBTA has recently added 320 new jobs, costing the agency another 8 million a year. They clearly are making NO effort and just expect us to foot the bill.