Friday, August 24, 2007

The Governor Responds - Sort Of

On July 17th I sent an email to Governor Patrick's office about overcrowing and a medical emergency on the Franklin #715 train. By an odd coincidence, I received a reply today - sort of.

I say "sort of", because the Governor's office simply forwarded my email to Bob Stoetzel, the Chief Transportation Officer for MBTA Railroad Operations, and he replied to me. It probably would be inappropriate to post his response since it was a private email, but the gist of it was that they've been short of cars, and he's told the MBCR to look into the overcrowding issue on the #715.

I hope that something happens. But I'm not confident that it will. I've written to the MBTA about the overcrowing issue two or three times in the last four years, and while they've always said they'd look into it, nothing has ever changed.

The thing that I find odd is that in my email I wrote "To be honest, a lot of us have given up complaining, because it's obvious that management simply doesn't care." Yet they forwarded my email to...MBTA management! Not to imply that Mr. Stoetzel isn't a conscientious public servant, but to ask MBTA management to address a complaint about MBTA management seems odd, somehow. I'd have thought that the Governor's office might have wanted to include some sort of direct response from one of their staffers, just to show that they were paying attention and exercising appropriate oversight.

On the other hand, when I emailed Governor Romney's office, it took them five months to respond with a kiss-off form letter assuring me that everything was fine.

Incidentally, I wouldn't want to give the impression that I'm constantly putting the Governor's office and the MBTA/MBCR under seige. I've written to each Governor exactly once, and I've probably filed less than six or seven "concerns" with the MBTA in my entire life.

That's not just the past four years, by the way. Before the high cost of housing pushed me into Rhode Island and onto the commuter rail, I lived in eastern MA and took the subway or buses to work. I've lived in the area for more than twenty years. I'd rather not complain unless something is seriously wrong, as it was on 7/13.

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