Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blah, Blah, Blah

Received this email from the MBTA/MBCR about Monday's delays ...

It's kind of interesting to me that this apology email turns into "the fleet is old, we can't really do anything about it, even though we ordered new cars, it won't really help ..." where is the leadership in this organization that will affect change?

These issues are not new, heck, this blog has been complaining about the MBTA for at least five years and in that time, nothing has really changed except our fares have increased, parking fees have increased, they've changed the schedules to make the run times longer (and to meet their "on time" requirements) ... but delays are still occurring and impacting people's lives.

To all of our Worcester Line Customers,

We realize that many of our customers traveled on both train P508 in the morning and P523 last evening and that a large majority were impacted by, either one of these trains, or at the very least effected by residual delays because of their mechanical failures.

My personal acknowledgement is indeed sincere and we cannot imagine that we could say anything that you would want to hear. Many of you have written in to say that you are aware that the locomotive that broke down on your inbound commute was the same used for the evening return trip home; this is regrettably the truth. While the mechanical department staff repaired the problem that caused the failure in the morning, the evening brought with it a different mechanical issue. Please know that this locomotive has been removed from service and one of the two new locomotives will be added to the train set that leaves this evening as train P523.

This is indeed evidence that the lack of investment in the commuter rail fleet is becoming difficult to overcome with regular maintenance. The winter season certainly took its toll on an already aging fleet of locomotives. While the two new locomotives delivered recently is a positive note it will not have much of an impact on the 483 trains in and out of the city everyday and we welcome the delivery of the five additional locomotives which are enroute from New York; once tested, they will be added to the fleet.

We cannot offer any apology that would justify five additional hours of commuting time in one day; however we do deeply regret the impact that this had on you, your families and your employers.

Members of the MBCR management team will be on the platform in Worcester tomorrow morning, March 2nd from 5:30am until the departure of train P508 to Boston at 6:55am. Please feel free to speak to us with your comments and concerns.

As always, we thank you for riding the commuter rail.


Gillian Wood

Chief Customer Service Officer
Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail

Operating the Commuter Rail on behalf of the MBTA


AJ said...

They should have sent a rep to every station stop on the Worcester/Framingham line that stayed through the P512. While not inconvenienced nearly as much as the P508 crowd, we were still over an hour late for our commute. Many of these people were also involved in the rescue train that went back to assist the disabled train that evening. Prove you're making an effort, not just going to one station for one crowd.

I also loved Tim Murray's comments last night that the state looks forward to the rebid when MBCR's contract expires... in two years. Who do they think is going to come to their rescue? It's my understanding MBCR is the only company that has agreed to inherit this aging fleet and keep it serviceable. Do they really think they're going to get someone to come in with their own locomotives, and perhaps better coaches, and not have to pay through the nose for it? The numbers for that budget would be huge in comparison and they can't handle the current deficit!

How about cutting some excess and regulating some salaries at both the T and MBCR to close budget gaps? The only evidence of previous cutbacks came at the expense of ridership. They altered train scheduling to allow for longer trips and less On-Time Guarantee reimbursement. They also reduced the number of conductors, which led to new rules (or at least stiffer enforcement of previous rules) regarding boarding and exiting the trains, creating bottlenecks on good days, let alone days the conductors are short-handed and only open two doors for the entire train. Now we're about to lose what little solace and accountability the T has offered in it's On-Time Service Guarantee. Every day the T destroys a little more of my soul.

Train Rider said...

AJ - you're right on so many accounts. I don't even know what to do anymore in relation to the commuter rail.

Most of the winter delays you can't really blame on the MBTA/MBCR, it's part of what we New Englanders have to deal with ... but the whole "you must board at a car where there is a conductor" rule is ridiculous. The other morning, only two doors were open on an eight car train, making the 150 of us standing on the platform have to funnel through one of two doors. How is that efficient?

And no kidding about Tim Murray's comments - do you think anyone is beating the door down to inherit this mess?

Something certainly needs to be done, I hope it's just not a pipe dream that real change is coming.

Anonymous said...

The boarding regulations where a conductor is present is actually a federal regulation just being implemented locally. It is intended for safety purposes (and probably to protect the trains from liability with injuries).

I contacted Gillian Wood directly and found that she gave a prompt, helpful response to my situation.

Anonymous said...

u two are two of the greatest complainers in the history of Worcester to Boston commuter rail. when service ans staffing was much better about two years ago u always had a complaint