Thursday, April 24, 2008

And again (715)

Just for the record, the Franklin #715 had five coaches again today, and people were once again forced to ride in the vestibule - as they have been every day for weeks.

And the last two coaches on the train still have no air conditioning - cars 628 and 1504. It wasn't quite as hot as it was yesterday, so the heat wasn't unbearable. But it certainly wasn't comfortable, either!

Word on the train was that the T is going to give the 715 one or more coaches soon. I'm not sure if it will be a single or a double-level. If it's a single, that will simply put us back to where we were a few weeks ago; the 715 used to usually have six single-level coaches. Ridership is still considerably up since then, though, so even the addition of a sixth coach will probably still leave well over 100 people standing in the train, every day.

I've been asked if I have any solutions. I've been thinking about it, and will continue. In the meantime, if anyone out there has any ideas - any at all, no matter how unorthodox - I'd love to hear them. I don't to simply sit around waiting for a serious accident, and right now that seems to be the one thing that might get the problem addressed in a hurry!


Matt said...

if you don't like riding the MBTA and the service sucks, then get into your car and drive into the city. But then im sure you'll complain that the highways are a mess and that the state should fix those up too. The MBTA is broke, what do you want them to do? where do you expect them to get the money from? if train 715 sucks, get another train out of the city, theres plenty of them

Quasit said...

Matt, I don't accept your premise.

Just because I can't afford to get a second car just for my commute, and I don't want to deal with the stress of driving for 3-4 hours a day (not to mention the cost of gas, parking in the Fenway area, and wear and tear on my car), that doesn't mean that I should shut up and accept a dangerous situation.

Approximately 200 people were being put in real jeopardy every weekday. Actually more than that were; standees are the most likely to be injured, but many sitting passengers would almost certainly be injured as well in a accident of any real size.

Since I pay over $200 a month for my pass, I don't think it was too much to ask that I (and others) not have to ride in the vestibule.

As for taking another train, my schedule is tight; I'm dropped off and picked up by my wife on the way to and from our son's kindergarten. Adjustments are possible, but not something we can do casually.

In any case, since I made the original post the MBTA or MBCR has changed the consist of the train and added adequate extra capacity. So the problem is, for the moment, solved.

And it may be that I played a role in getting it solved - which wouldn't have happened if I'd just given up and started driving as you suggest.

Matt said...

Thats ok if you don't accept it, but like I said, the MBTA is broke and there is nothing they can do. The next order of passenger cars is not due till 2012, with the rest of the order not being completed till 2014 or later.
I was saying is that if you don't like the MBTA and how they do things, then drive or take other trains and adjust your schedule. 200 people were put into danger on your train, but now that 715 has the proper consist, what if another train has more than 200 people in danger? I doubt that 715 is the only train that has this problem.
if the service is that bad and your monthly pass is not put to full use, then don't buy one, get a 12 ride pass instead. You know how the situation is, then make the proper changes that service you better
the MBTA does serve you by keeping you off the streets, but now that gas is getting higher and higher, you are going to see MORE commuters hitting the trains and capacity reaching its max. Deal with the situation and be grateful that your train has the proper cars

Beth said...

I agree with quasit here, Matt. You said "the MBTA is broke and there is nothing they can do." There ARE things they can do...they complain about not having enough money - well, collect fares for every.single.ride. If there aren't enough conductors to do this, hire more. Own up to mistakes. Own the fact that they are continually late. While I hate that their solution was to just change schedules to fit the late-ness - they DID something.

If we all just sat on our hands and accepted the mediocre service where would we be? In a system that would perpetually get worse, not better. And they NEED to do something about unsafe conditions. I was on the Forge Park train that collided with a truck back in '06. Thank God I was firmly seated, as were most of the people on the train. If that had happened on the outbound train closer to Boston, there certainly would have been many, many more people injured.

matt said...

I understand what Quasit is saying Beth, but when you think about it, there really is nothing the MBTA can do. with gas getting as high as it is, more people are turning to the MBTA. I just read on another blog, trainstopping, that the Mass pike ridership is down 1% while T ridership has soared almost 6%. Where are all these extra riders going to fit? THERE ARE NO EXTRA PASSENGER CARS, as I mentioned earlier, we wont be seeing any for many years.

I know that there are problems with the MBTA, nothing is perfect. If you people knew how hard it was to operate a massive system, you would know why certain things happen. I also know that the MBCR cuts back on maintenance costs so that they can save money, but until those bigwigs get into deep trouble, nothing will change.

Also, How can the MBTA collect fares if the cars are jammed packed??? conductors can't get through, and when they are able to get through, people complain that others got a free ride

All of the problems you mentioned all come back to money and THERE ISN'T ANY. Even if they did collect the fares, what can they do with it to help improve service? buy new locomotives? (which are desperately needed) Even if the MBTA ordered them tomorrow, it would be 3 years before we saw them in service.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for you people getting change in your morning commute, but bitching about every little problem that occurs on the MBTA is annoying. Signals fail, engines break down, freight and Amtrak trains delay your train; it is not just your train on the tracks, there are others. When a tree falls across the tracks, people bitch the train is late...when a truck strikes a bridge, people bitch the train is late... no matter what, its always the T's fault to riders.

Like I said in my first post, if the T doesn't do it for you, then don't ride; get in the car and drive to you destination.

Quasit said...

I do understand, Matt, and once I'm a citizen of the Commonwealth again (which will be soon, I hope) I will urge my state legislators to provide adequate funding to the T.

But I will also urge them to clean up the system. Rewarding the MBCR with a longer contract extension than the minimum needed is simply inexcusable. And flat-out lies from MBTA management is very hard to take indeed.

As I wrote recently, the MBCR did find additional coaches to put on the Franklin #715. I believe they may have taken them from the Stoughton local which goes through Ruggles just before the #715; the two trains seemed to switch consists, as far as I could tell. I've watched the Stoughton line carefully for signs of overcrowding, and so far haven't seen a single person standing anywhere. But of course there may well be ramifications on later trains that I don't know about.

I sympathize with those people in the MBTA/MBCR - management, ops, and conductors - who are trying hard and doing their best with utterly inadequate funding. That must be a hellishly frustrating job. And I condemn the legislature for failing to protect the public and provide necessary services. But that doesn't mean that there isn't some fault among the MBTA and MBCR management, too.

Matt said...

I totally agree. The Commonwealth does not provide the necessary funding to the MBTA. We need a governor who is willing to put millions into the MBTA to help improve all service with gas prices the way they are. I remember reading somewhere that the MBTA gets most of its money from the states 5% sales tax, but with more and more people buying online and out of state, that tax isn't applied and the T loses out. I agree that it must be difficult going to work each day knowing that you are managing a 100 year old system, dealing with failures everyday and with no way of solving these problems.

Good luck on becoming a citizen in MA!