Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Commute

Took the p508 this morning, we were about 5 minutes off schedule, arriving at South Station at around 8:28 AM.

I took yesterday off from work (as I had to recover from a great U2 show the night before!), but I heard that there was a huge issue on the P523 train which departs South Station at 5:00 last night? Anyone care to comment?

Read an article in the Globe this morning that the MBTA has recently updated their transit maps, since some were quite outdated. The project will last about 2 years and cost upwards of $500,000 to replace maps in all stations and will, for the first time, include information about the fifteen busiest bus lines.

Don't know how I missed this one, but the MBTA unions have filed a lawsuit against the state to block them from cutting worker benefits. According to an article in the Globe, the reduction in MBTA benefits is a cornerstone in a sweeping transportation law passed this year that was a top priority for Governor Deval Patrick. No other single change is expected to bring as much savings to the state. The major changes in benefits would require MBTA employees to join the state health care plan, as well as eliminating retirement provision that allows an MBTA worker to retire after 23 years of service and collect a generous pension. Looks like this will be a fight for a long time to come between the unions and the state.

1 comment:

AJ said...

I don't know about an issue on the 5:00 train, but I took the 6:20 (Back Bay) last night and we had all sorts of fun!

We stopped in West Natick, people got off, and right about when we should have left, the conductors came over the PA and said we'd been ordered by the CSX Dispatcher to stay put. They said they hadn't gotten any more info than that and would alert us when they knew more. This was about 6:50.

About 5-10 minutes later came a second announcement that our train, as well as the outbound behind us, and a couple inbounds had been stopped, and they were demanding head counts of all passengers onboard. We were still sitting tight, waiting for further info.

At 7:30, they told us to get off the train, and buses would be along to pick us up and shuttle us to Ashland. At this point, two people around me had gotten phone calls (about 10 minutes prior) where the person on the other end told them there was a major fire in Framingham, the FFD had stopped the trains and we were to be shuttled to Ashland to catch a new train.

The MBCR Customer Service reps who arrived were very nice, but information was really skewed. They told us the buses had been dispatched at about 7 and should arrive within the next ten minutes. At this point, it was about 8. My question then became, If the buses were dispatched at 7, then someone knew this plan was happening, and what the reasoning was, long before it was shared with the passengers. I don't know if said info was withheld from the engineer and conductors as well, but they seemed equally baffled.

The local taxi services must have cleaned up. They all just kept showing up, taking loads of passengers as far as Grafton anyways. The first bus arrived about 8:30 (a long 10 minutes later). This in itself was hilarious. People saw the bus pull in, and still boarded cabs to Ashland. The bus was going there for free, and both were leaving within 5-10 minutes!

I can't comment on what happened after that. A friend's husband picked up the group of us that ride together and drove us to Southboro, where we dropped 2 and drove to Westboro. We reached Westboro right behind a couple taxis, and finally hit Grafton just as the train was pulling in somewhere in the 9:00-9:15 area. As we shot down Rte. 9 in Framingham, you could definitely smell this acrid burning smell and see smoke traveling through the woods like fog.