Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MBTA Public Hearings Suspended

Governor Patrick has suspended the remaining public hearings on proposed MBTA fare increases, pending the top to bottom review that Transportation Secretary James Aloisi promised a few days ago.

According to the Globe, the first hearing was held at the State House on Monday and more than 150 riders and lawmakers showed up to debate the possible 20 percent fare hike, Interestingly enough, only one of the eight members of the MBTA's board of directors attended the meeting.
Mr. Aloisi did not attend. When the meetings resume (if they do), the MBTA board needs to be held accountable and show up to hear the input of the riders.

There seems to be a lot of in fighting between the MBTA board, the Governor and former GM Dan Grabauskas. I know that MBTA riders aren't interested in politics, we just want reliable service, a good experience when we ride and we don't want to pay through the nose for it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Better MBTA?

That's what Transportation Secretary James Aliosi is promising, after the ousting of General Manager Dan Grabauskas. Mr. Aliosi promises a thorough review of the MBTA, as the merger of the state's transportation agencies is due to take effect in November. Among other things that the review will accomplish is determining whether or not the fare increases proposed by Dan Grabausaks will be implemented and whether there needs to be a MBTA General Manager position in the new agency.

The agency itself needs to be overhauled, perhaps Dan Grabauskas leaving is the first sign of many changes to come. I hate to sound jaded, but I hope removing Mr. Grabauskas, performing a comprehensive review of the agency and merging the transportation agencies accomplishes what we riders have been clamoring for ... consistent train/bus service and good customer service at a fair price.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dan Grabauskas Leaving MBTA

I'm currently traveling for work, but I wanted to post regarding the news that Dan Grabauskas is leaving the MBTA. This after weeks of no-confidence votes from the MBTA board, but no outright vote to oust him. I can't say I'm surprised that this has finally happened.

Frankly, I think the General Manager job is a thankless task. Over the last few years, I'm struggling to come up with improvements to my commuting experience that can be directly attributed to the work of the GM. This is not to say that there haven't been improvements in other areas of the MBTA ... such as the introduction of new equipment and an automated fare card system. I don't doubt that one person can do the job alone, but an agency such as the MBTA needs a leader and I'm just not sure that Dan Grabauskas was that type of leader.

I think back to an interview that he did with WBUR about a year and a half ago. I don't think I ever heard such a disinterested person answering questions from riders. He kept reminding people of the fiscal state of the MBTA instead of concentrating on their issues. We as riders get it, the T is in financial crisis. But, we need an advocate, someone who will listen to input and take action to make the experience better. The General Manager needs to be able to balance the business of running the T with the business of customer service.

Luckily for Dan, he gets to walk away with over $320 K in his pocket as a reminder for all the "good" work that has occurred under his expert management. What a crock!! In any other company, if you failed to deliver, you'd be out on your butt with no cushy golden parachute.