Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On Time Today

The p508 rolled into South Station on time today, arriving at 8:21 AM. Then I hightailed it over to the ticket window to turn in reimbursements from late trains from the last few months. Always love that extra cash flow ... although not the reason behind it.

Over the weekend, I saw an article about the MBTA unions agreeing to a wage freeze. The unions are voluntarily agreeing to curtail a 4% wage increase. The unions represent about 500 administrative employees, electrical workers, engineers, and welders. Their one-year wage freeze will save the cash-strapped MBTA about $1.66 million - or 1 percent of the deficit. This is a good start, but other unions need to jump on board. Even with this wage freeze, MBTA officials acknowledged that commuters should still expect to see significant changes in service and possibly fare increases.

In the same article, I found it astounding that the MBTA has to negotiate with 24 separate unions. That is just insane. (And no wonder why there's so much bureaucracy in that agency). The article alluded also to the fact that the driver's union is protesting the new policy about no cellphones/pagers on buses/trains/subway cars. Passenger safety should be their utmost concern ... multi-tasking just doesn't work. You cannot text or talk and operate a multi-ton machine at the same time without consequences.


AJ said...

There was a Keller at Large segment on 7 News last weekend with Dan. I did feel bad for him at times, and it definitely shed some light on certain situations. He said one of the Unions hadn't received an increase in health benefit copays/paycheck deductions since 1984! Of course, they wanted to make it more current, and had to go before a moderator who ultimately sided with the T. Should that have even been a question?

The cell phones/pagers issue is a little more hot button. I don't know if it was misreported or they genuinely changed their tune, but the day of the crash it was reported that the Union was in complete agreement. It was a day later that they started to oppose it. I know I personally wouldn't want to be told no cell phone. I could see no using it during work or on the train, but to not be allowed to carry one? I have a wife and kid. Emergencies happen and I have to be accessible.

However, on the flip side, I would have no one to be mad at except my fellow employees who clearly can't handle the privilege. While it's intrusive, you can't justify spending 10+ Million on new trains and however the hell much on the lawsuits because someone felt like texting. Even if it was a family emergency, it was not the proper way to handle it.

Train Rider said...

Good point AJ about being accessible in case of emergency, I think the phonce can be on their person, but I think that T drivers/engineeers shouldn't be talking or texting while operating a vehicle.

Saw this on the state website:

MBTA: Zero Tolerance Cellphone Announcement

Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi, Jr. and MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskas today announced a new "zero tolerance" cellphone policy for T drivers.

Drivers using cellphones or similar devices while operating trains or buses face dismissal on the first offense. Drivers in possession of a cellphone while on the train or bus and on duty face a 10-day suspension for the first offense and dismissal for the second offense.

At Governor Patrick's direction, Secretary Aloisi said the Executive Office of Transportation is reviewing all safety-related policies and procedures at the state's transit authorities.