Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Call them...unreliable

Last night something was seriously screwed up at South Station. I don't know what happened, but I saw the effects down-track at Ruggles.

Nothing came in when or where it was supposed to. The Needham Heights train that shows up at Ruggles at 4:13 PM...didn't. Trains came at the wrong time, half an hour late or more.

And in every single case the conductors didn't bother to announce what the train was.

Some of these trains were coming in within a few minutes of the arrival time of a completely different train. You'd think that conductors would realize that people would be confused, and would announce the destination. But they didn't.

We passengers had to run up and down the station platform every time, looking for a conductor to tell us where the train was going. And even then, most of the conductors still didn't bother to make the announcements. Passengers had to pass the word along instead.

I understand that the conductors and their union are pissed off at the MBCR and the MBTA, but why do they have to take it out on the passengers? Are they under the delusion that we have any influence at all over the management of the T? Because it has been made more than amply clear that we don't. T management couldn't be less responsive to the needs, concerns, and even the basic health and safety of the ridership. We're cattle, existing solely to be moved from one point to another and to pay our ever-increasing fares.

That is, sometimes we pay. Last night no fares were collected; we didn't see a conductor in the train from the time I got on at Ruggles to the time I got off at Franklin/Dean College. This may seem odd, since the T is so desperately hard up for funds, but I've talked to a lot of passengers and it's not all that rare.

The Franklin #715 arrived at Ruggles 17 minutes late, on the wrong side of the tracks. It reached Franklin/Dean fifteen minutes late.

Tonight (12/19/2007) the #715 ran on time, but the train was having some pretty serious electrical problems. The lights and air circulation kept going out. Everything would simply go dead, for a moment, with even the emergency lights off; it was absolutely pitch black. Then a few of the emergency lights would go on, not really bright enough to read by. A minute or two later the lights and heat would come back up, only to fail again within minutes.

This happened over and over and over, at least eight or nine times.

What next, I wonder?

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