Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Vestibule, and Governor Patrick Responds!

To my amazement, Governor Patrick's office replied to my email in less than 24 hours.

This is really pretty astonishing. Governor Romney's office took more than five months to reply with a kiss-off form letter via email. And even when I emailed him last year, Governor Patrick's people took weeks to respond - and they only forwarded my letter to MBTA management. Since my complaint was about MBTA management, this wasn't exactly helpful.

This time, I got a fast, detailed response. I don't normally publish email, but since this was correspondence with a public office I'm going to make an exception; I'm sure that Governor Patrick's office wouldn't mind.

Unfortunately, since the MBTA is a partially-independent agency, Governor Patrick has no administrative control over its daily business. However, Governor Patrick and Secretary of Transportation, Bernard Cohen, have been in contact regarding these concerns. Secretary Cohen is aware of the performance issues and is working closely with officials to address concerns.

As part of the recent extension of their operating contract, the MBCR is required to provide more frequent performance updates to the MBTA Board of Directors. Currently, MBTA personnel are working closely with the MBCR to implement corrective actions immediately and restore on-time performance to an acceptable level. Each morning, senior MBCR management from each department review the past twenty-four hour period together to identify each delay cause, assign responsibility, and review corrective measures that would have minimized or eliminated the delay. This approach has shown to be effective in preventing future delays. In addition, MBCR has also increased transportation supervisory personnel at South Station and equipment supervisory personnel at the Southside Maintenance Facility. A number of new employees are currently receiving training to assume on-train positions.

We are hopeful you will soon be noticing a general improvement in service reliability and a resulting decline in problems.

I haven't yet heard from the Globe or Herald, but it's early yet.

Incidentally, just to be clear: the Franklin #715 train is normally all single-level coaches. Vestibules don't have seats; they're the area where you board the train, and passengers are forbidden to ride there. How do I know? Simple:

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