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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

T took heavy toll on passengers

I'll give MBTA General Manager Richard Davey points for honesty -- January was indeed a disaster for the service and the rest of the year doesn't look like a picnic either.

It may have just been reporter oversight, but I find little to no mention of the two legs of the T that I need to use when walking becomes impossible (or in this case impassable). Both the Green Line, particularly up Commonwealth Avenue, and the 57 bus, have been, um, horrid.

It's almost become the norm for one-hour commutes that take 30 minutes to walk in good weather. The consistency of service on the BC trains, never great to begin with, has deteriorated to the point where sardines have more room in their cans.

To be fair, not all of the nightmare is the fault of the T. Traffic has had a midsummer, Red Sox-snarled feel. And when you get off the bus or train, good luck crossing the plow mounds to find sanctuary on the sidewalk.

But these are exactly the sorts of conditions under which the T should be expected to excel. Getting commuters out of their cars and reducing traffic jams is what public transportation is all about.

And for all the right promises Davey is making, the odds of success are poor. Boston Magazine looks at the state of the transit system and the picture is downright ugly. Aging infrastructure. Outdated equipment. And massive debt.

Davey and Gov. Deval Patrick are promising improvements -- without a far increase. That may be an even bigger miracle than all the snow melting this morning and the Green Line running on time with enough room that passengers don't to know each other better than they want.

Any realistic solution also involves engaging a Legislature that has historically taken the easy way out -- punting toward the future.

The future is here. It's high past time for our leaders to get on board, ride the buses, trains and commuter rail, see what the problems are first hand and come up with realistic fixes that don't bankrupt our grandchildren.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the T hadn't given out all those cushy retirements and benefits over the last 20 years, there would have been some money left to fix the system. Would love to see the % of the workers that are retired in Fla. now, so they don't have to deal with the snow.

February 08, 2011 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Anon: Well said. Another thing is the lack of consequences for bad performance. Instead, we get at the ready excuses, and promises of fixing things, improving performance, and taking responsibility, plus fare increases. Jobs have to be lost, up and down the line. If these people can't do the job, then get rid of them and bring in someone who can, and that goes from the top on down to the bottom.

February 08, 2011 12:59 PM  

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